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L’INSTITUT UNIVERSITAIRE PANAFRICAIN (IUP),

Autorisation : N° 2011 – 008/MESRS/CAB/DC/SGM/DPP/DEPES/SP

Modifiée par l’Arrêté N° 2013-044/MESRS/CAB/DC/SGM/DPP/DEPES/SP

Sous la direction du :

 

Pr Gabriel C. BOKO &

Dr (MC) Innocent C. DATONDJI

 

Editions Sonou d’Afrique

Porto-Novo, République du Bénin

 

Vol 1, N°04 –  Novembre  2014,   ISSN   1840 – 6874

 

 

Revue annuelle, publiée par :

L’INSTITUT UNIVERSITAIRE PANAFRICAIN (IUP),

Autorisation : N° 2011 – 008/MESRS/CAB/DC/SGM/DPP/DEPES/SP

Modifiée par l’Arrêté N° 2013-044/MESRS/CAB/DC/SGM/DPP/DEPES/SP

Site web : www.iup-universite.com

Sous la Direction du :

 

Pr Gabriel C. BOKO &

Dr (MC) Innocent C. DATONDJI

 

 

 

 

Vol 1, N°04 –  Novembre  2014,   ISSN   1840 – 6874

 

 

 

 

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ISSN  1840 – 6874

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Editions Sonou d’Afrique

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Novembre 2014

RIRCED

REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE RECHERCHE EN COMMUNICATION, EDUCATION ET DEVELOPPEMENT

Vol. 1,  N° 04, Novembre  2014,  ISSN 1840 – 6874

COMITE DE REDACTION

  • Directeur de Publication

Pr Gabriel C. BOKO,

Professeur Titulaire  des Universités (CAMES), Institut de Psychologie et de Sciences de l’Education ,  Faculté des  Lettres, Arts et Sciences  Humaines, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin.

  • Rédacteur en Chef

Dr (MC) Innocent C. DATONDJI,

Maître de Conférences des Universités (CAMES), Département d’Anglais, Faculté des  Lettres, Arts et Sciences  Humaines, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin.

  • Rédacteur en  Chef Adjoint

Dr Aimé SEGLA,

Maître de Conférences des Universités Françaises, et Maître-Assistant des Universités (CAMES), Département des Sciences du Language et de la Communication, Faculté des  Lettres, Arts et Sciences  Humaines, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin.

 

  • Secrétaire à la rédaction chargé de la documentation

Dr Arnauld Gabriel G. GBAGUIDI,

Maître-Assistant des Universités (CAMES), Département des Sciences et Techniques des Activités  Socioéducatives (STASE), Institut National de Jeunesse, de l’Education Physique et du Sport (INJEPS), Porto-Novo, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin

  • Secrétaire Adjoint à la rédaction chargée de la traduction

Dr Rissikatou BABALOLA MOUSTAPHA,

Assistante en linguistique anglaise appliquée à la traduction, Département d’Anglais, Faculté des LetTres, Arts et Sciences Humaines, Campus d’Adjarra, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin.

  • Secrétaire aux relations publiques

Dr King Rafiou AMOUSSA,

Docteur en coopération et relations internationnales, Doyen de l’Ecole Supérieure de Droit, Communication et Relations Internationnales, Institut Universitaire Panafricain (IUP), Porto-Novo, Bénin.

 

  • Secrétaire Adjoint aux relations publiques

M. Théophile G. KODJO SONOU,

Docteur en Langue et Didactique Anglaises, Doctorat en Traduction et Interprétariat, Président Fondateur de l’Institut Universitaire Panafricain (IUP), Porto-Novo, Bénin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMITE DE LECTURE

Président:

Pr  Médard Dominique BADA,

Professeur Titulaire des Universités (CAMES),                                                                 Département des Sciences du Langage et de la Communication, Faculté des Lettres, Arts et Sciences Humaines, Université d’Abomey- Calavi, Bénin.

Membres :

Pr  Olu S. AKEUSOLA,

Professeur Titulaire des Universités (Anglophones), Recteur (Provost), Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Epe, Lagos State, Nigeria.

 

Pr  Essowe K. ESSIZEWA,

Professeur Titulaire des Universités (CAMES), Département d’Anglais, Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines, Université de Lomé, Togo.

Dr (MC) Pascal Okri TOSSOU,

Maître de Conférences des Universités (CAMES), Département des Lettres Modernes, Faculté des  Lettres, Arts et Sciences Hurmaines, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin.

 

Dr (MC)  Elizabeth E. DE CAMPOS,

Maître de Conférences des Universités (Anglophones), Centre d’immersion linguistique, Université d’Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.

CONSEIL SCIENTIFIQUE

Président:

Pr   Augustin A. AINAMON,

Professeur Titulaire des Universités (CAMES),                                                                 Département d’Anglais, Faculté des Lettres, Arts et Sciences Humaines, Université d’Abomey- Calavi, Bénin.

Membres :

Pr Albert NOUHOUAYI,

Professeur Titulaire des Universités (CAMES),                                                                 Département de Philosophie, Faculté des Lettres, Arts et Sciences Humaines, Université d’Abomey- Calavi, Bénin.

Pr  Alaba A. AGAGU,

Professeur Titulaire des Universités (Anglophones), Département des Sciences Politiques et de Relations Internationales, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.

 

Dr (MC) Lolowou K. F. HETCHELI,

Maître de Conférences des Universités (CAMES), Institut Régional de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche en Développement Culturel (IRES-RDEC), Université de Lomé, Togo.

Dr (MC) Laure C. ZANOU,

Maître de Conférences des Universités (CAMES), Département d’Anglais, Faculté des  Lettres, Arts et Sciences  Humaines, Université d’Abomey- Calavi, Bénin.

 

CONTACTS

Monsieur le Directeur de publication,

Revue Internationale de Recherche en Communication, Education et Développement (RIRCED)

Institut Universitaire Panafricain (IUP),

Place de l’Indépendance, Avakpa -Tokpa,

01 BP 3950, Porto – Novo,  Rép. du Bénin ;

Tél. (+229) 97 29 65 11 / 95 13 12 84 / 99 09 53 80

Courriel : iupbenin@yahoo.fr

Site web: www.iup-universite.com

 

 

LIGNE EDITORIALE ET DOMAINES DE RECHERCHE

  1. 1. LIGNE EDITORIALE

La Revue Internationale de Recherche en Communication, Education et Développement (RIRCED) est une revue scientifique internationale multilingue (français, anglais, allemand, espagnol, portugais et yoruba). Les textes sont sélectionnés par le comité de rédaction de la revue après avis favorable du comité scientifique de lecture en raison de leur originalité, des intérêts qu’ils présentent aux plans africain, international et de leur rigueur scientifique. Les articles à publier doivent respecter les normes éditoriales suivantes :

  • La taille des articles

Volume : 18 à 20 pages ; interligne : 1,5 ; pas d’écriture : 12, Time New Roman.

  • Ordre logique du texte
    • Un TITRE en caractère d’imprimerie et en gras. Le titre ne doit pas être trop long ;
    • Un Résumé en français qui ne doit pas dépasser 6 lignes ;

Les mots clés ;

Un résumé en anglais (Abstract) qui ne doit pas dépasser 6 lignes ;

Key words ;

Introduction ;

Développement ;

Les articulations du développement du texte doivent être titrées et/ou sous titrées ainsi :

  • Pour le Titre de la première section

1.1. Pour le Titre de la première sous-section

  • Pour le Titre de la deuxième section

1.2. Pour le Titre de la première sous-section de la deuxième section etc.

Conclusion

Elle doit être brève et insister sur l’originalité des résultats de la Recherche

Bibliographie

Les sources consultées et/ou citées doivent figurer dans une rubrique, en fin de texte, intitulée :

  • Bibliographie.

Elle est classée par ordre alphabétique (en référence aux noms de famille des auteurs) et se présente comme suit :

  • Pour un livre : Nom, Prénoms (ou initiaux), Année d’édition, Titre du livre (en italique), Lieu d’édition, Editions.
  • Pour un article : Nom, Prénoms  (ou initiaux), Année de publication,  ″Titre de l’article″ (entre griffes) suivi de in, Titre de la revue (en italique), Volume, Numéro, Lieu d’édition, Indication des pages occupées par l’article dans la revue.
  • Les rapports et des documents inédits mais d’intérêt scientifique peuvent être cités.
  • La présentation des notes
  • La rédaction n’admet que des notes en bas de page. Les notes en fin de texte ne sont pas acceptées.
  • Les citations et les termes étrangers sont en italique et entre guillemets « ».
  • Les titres d’articles sont entre griffes ″ ″. Il faut éviter de les mettre en italique.
  • La revue RIRCED s’interdit le soulignement.
  • Les références bibliographiques en bas de page se présentent de la manière suivante :

Prénoms (on peut les abréger par leurs initiaux) et nom de l’auteur, Titre de l’ouvrage, (s’il s’agit d’un livre) ou  ″Titre de l’article″, Nom de la revue, (Vol. et n°1, Lieu d’édition, Année, n° de page.

Le système de référence par année à l’intérieur du texte est également toléré.

Il se présente de la seule manière suivante : Prénoms et Nom de l’auteur (année d’édition : n° de page).

NB : Le choix de ce système de référence oblige l’auteur de l’article proposé à faire figurer dans la bibliographie en fin de texte toutes les sources citées à l’intérieur du texte.

Le comité scientifique et de lecture est le seul juge de la scientificité des textes publiés. L’administration et la rédaction de la revue sont les seuls habilités à publier les textes retenus par les comités scientifiques et de relecture. Les avis et  opinions scientifiques émis dans les articles n’engagent que leurs propres auteurs. Les textes non publiés ne sont pas retournés.

La présentation des figures, cartes, graphiques…doit respecter le format (format : 15/21) de la mise en page de la revue RIRCED.

Tous les articles doivent être envoyés à l’adresse suivante : iupbenin@yahoo.fr ou presidentsonou@yahoo.com

 

Un auteur dont l’article est retenu pour publication dans la revue RIRCED participe aux frais d’édition à raison de  cinquante mille (50 000) francs CFA pour les francophones ;  cent mille (100 000) francs CFA pour les anglophones  de l’Afrique de l’Ouest ; 180 euros ou dollars US  par article et par numéro. Il reçoit, à titre gratuit, un tiré-à-part et une copie de la revue publiée

 

  1. 2. DOMAINE DE RECHERCHE

La Revue Internationale de Recherche en Communication, Education et Développement (RIRCED) est un instrument au service des chercheurs qui s’intéressent à la publication d’articles et de comptes rendus de recherches approfondies dans les domaines  ci-après :

– Communication et Information,

– Education et Formation,

– Développement et Economie,

– Sciences Politiques et Relations Internationales,

– Sociologie et Psychologie,

– Lettres, Langues et Arts,

– Sujets généraux d’intérêts vitaux pour le développement des études au Bénin, en Afrique et dans le Monde.

Au total, la  RIRCED se veut le lieu de rencontre et de dissémination de nouvelles idées et opinions savantes dans les domaines ci-dessus cités.

LE COMITE DE REDACTION

EDITORIAL

La Revue Internationale de Recherche en Communication, Education et Développement (RIRCED), publiée par l’Institut  Universitaire Panafricain (IUP), est une revue ouverte aux enseignants et chercheurs des universités, instituts, centres universitaires et grandes écoles.

L’objectif visé par la publication de cette revue dont nous sommes à la quatrième publication est de permettre aux collègues enseignants et chercheurs d’avoir une tribune pour faire connaitre leurs travaux de recherche. Cette édition a connu une légère modification au niveau du comité de rédaction où le Professeur Titulaire Gabriel C. BOKO, devient le Directeur de Publication et le Professeur (Maître de Conférences), Innocent C. DATONDJI est le  Rédacteur en Chef.

Le comité de lecture de la RIRCED compte cinq membres dont trois Professeurs Titulaires et deux Maîtres de Conférences. Ce comité est présidé par le Professeur Médard Dominique BADA.

La revue est également dotée d’un conseil scientifique de cinq membres à savoir trois Professeurs Titulaires et deux Maitres de Conférences. Le conseil scientifique de la RIRCED est présidé par le Professeur Augustin AINAMON.

Bonne lecture à toutes et à tous !

Pr Gabriel C. BOKO &

Dr (MC) Innocent C. DATONDJI

  1. 3. Contributeurs d’Articles

Nom et Prénoms

Articles contribués et Pages

Adresses

1

Dr OLA MABEKOJE

&

BUKONLA

OLU-DANIELS

 

 

Developing communicative competence of esl learners through impartation of knowledge of prosodic features of English

 

Pages 24-53

Senior Lecturer, Department of English Studies, College of Humanities, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria

&

Lecturer, Department of General Studies,

College of Health Technology, Ilese-Ijebu, Ogun State, Nigeria

 

 

2

Dr ABDULRAHEEM YUSUF

&

Dr I. O. O. AMALI

 

Teachers’ pedagogical skills and use of instructional materials as a correlate of students’ performance in social studies

Pages 54 – 83

Department of Social Sciences Education, Faculty of Education

University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

3

BABATUNDE OLASOJI AYODELE

Beyond syntactic inexactitudes: textual equivalence in  ola rotimi’s the gods are not to blame

Pages 84 – 118

Department of Languages and Linguistics,

Ogun State University, Ikire Campus, Ikire, Osun State, Nigeria

4

MATHEW OMORUYI OTASOWIE

The role of visual art in African religio-cultural development and nation building: a global perspective

Pages 119 – 158

Department of philosophy and religions, University of Benin, Benin city.

5

VICTORIA A. ADEFARASIN

 

The relevance of francophone oral literature & culture to the educational development of Nigerian youths

Pages 159 – 200

Department of French Language

College of Humanities

Tai Solarin University of Education,

Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria.

6

VICTORIA T. OTASOWIE

La représentation physique de la Guadeloupe et de la Martinique chez les écrivains antillais

Pages 201 – 224

 

French Department,

School of Languages,

College of Education,

Ekiadolor,

Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.

7

VICTOR AKAHO BALOGUN

Les injures en yoruba et en français :

structures et finalites

Pages 225 – 245

Nigeria French Language Village,

Ajara, Badagry, Lagos, Nigeria

 

8

RUFUS TUNJI ADEGBOYE

 

Nil Habba: symbole de l’espoir dans l’exil ou la tombe

de Tchichelle Tchivela

 

Pages 246 – 274

Department of Languages,

Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria.

9

Emmanuel A. ONIETAN

&

Ibrahim MANZO

L’usage des langues a Diffa en République du Niger

Pages  275 – 303

Département de Langues et de Linguistique,

Université de Maiduguri, Nigeria.

 

 

 

DEVELOPING COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE OF ESL LEARNERS THROUGH IMPARTATION OF KNOWLEDGE OF PROSODIC FEATURES OF ENGLISH

 

Dr OLA MABEKOJE,

Senior Lecturer, Department of English Studies,

College of Humanities

Tai Solarin University of Education,

Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria

&

BUKONLA OLU-DANIELS

Lecturer, Department of General Studies

College of Health Technology,

Ilese-Ijebu, Ogun State, Nigeria

Abstract

Linguists have demonstrated the primacy of speech over other language skills. This is further authenticated by the realization that in real life oral communication is more frequently used than written communication. It appears however, that the importance of oral communication is not adequately reflected in the way teachers of English teach the various aspects of the language in the classroom especially in the second language situation. Many teachers tend to favour the teaching of structure, grammar, reading and writing at the expense of the skills of listening and speaking. In few cases teachers manage to teach the segmental features. Many students of English as a second language and even their teachers cannot communicate orally with intelligibility and comprehensibility. Teachers lack adequate proficiency in the language and as such produce students whose oral communication is defective. There is the need to provide teachers and pre-service teachers with opportunity to improve their knowledge of English language especially the oral skills component. This paper conceptually aims at the identification and classification of the prosodic features of English. It also describes and discusses the strategies for teaching the supra-segmental features with a view to improving the teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge of the prosodic features of English.

Key words: strategies, prosodic features, communicative competence, ESL learners

 

Résumé

Les  linguistes  ont  démontré la primauté de l’oral  sur les  autres  acquis de langage. Ceci a été même  souligné par le fait que la communication orale  est plus fréquemment  utilisée  que la communication écrite  dans la vie  réelle. C’est  évident  cependant  que l’importance  de la  communication orale n’est pas  de  façon adéquate,   reflétée  dans la manière  dont les  enseignants de l’anglais  enseignent  les différents  aspects  de  cette langue, notamment  dans  une classe  de  situation L2.   La  plupart  des   enseignants  aiment  enseigner  la structure , la grammaire, la lecture  et l’écrit  au détriment des  acquis de l’écoute  et de l’expression orale. Dans quelques  cas, les  enseignants tiennent à  enseigner les  traits  segmentaux. Plusieurs  étudiants d’anglais comme L2, et  même  les  enseignants ne  peuvent pas communiquer  oralement  avec intelligibilité  et compréhensibilité. Les  enseignants  manquent de  compétence  adéquate  dans  la langue.  Ce fait produit  des  étudiants  dont le  niveau  de communication est  défectueux. Il y a  le  besoin  de pourvoir donner  aux  enseignants en exercice et à ceux en formation l’opportunité d’améliorer  leur  connaissance  de la langue anglaise, surtout  l’aspect de la  compétence orale. Le présent article  que  voici  se  conceptualise  sur l’identification  et la classification des traits  prosodiques de l’anglais. Il décrit  et discute  aussi les stratégies  des  traits  supra-segmentaux  en vue de  développer  la capacité  de l’enseignant  et la connaissance  pédagogique  des  traits  prosodiques de l’anglais .

Mots-clés : stratégies, traits  prosodiques, compétence  communicative, apprenants de l’anglais, langue seconde.

Introduction

Students develop effective speaking skills when they discuss, hypothesize, clarify ideas, explore new concept and vocabulary, solve problems and share literary experiences. Speaking is the act or process of transmitting and exchanging information, ideas and emotions using oral language (Mabekoje, 2009). Whether in daily informal interactions or in more formal settings, communication is required to organize coherent messages, deliver them clearly and adapt them to listeners. Learning to speak a language involves a mastery of the sounds and sound patterns of the language.  English as a language of international status attracts to itself a high level of recognition and standard.  Therefore, it behooves every learner and speaker of the language to imitate as much as possible the standard or near-standard speech sounds of the native speakers of the language. This will lead to the achievement of comprehensible communication in the language.

Speech is primary to all other language skills. The speaking skill is closely related to the listening skill in that users of language begin to speak by imitating what they hear from people in their speech community.  Furthermore, the spoken and written forms of any language are undoubtedly so closely related that improper manipulation of one adversely affects the other.  Thus, competence in spoken English always affects one’s level of performance in the written form. Moreover, there should be a sustained effort to practice speech for it is only when proper speech habits have been acquired that the learner can develop efficient reading and writing skills. However, when the two modes of communication are compared, it is evident that the oral communication poses much difficulty than the written mode. The absence of physical representation when communicating in the written mode makes communication easier.  Oral communication appears to be more complex and excessively demanding in application because the speech maker has to be physically present.  The process of speech delivery is complex but achievable. A majority of the problems associated with speech making are surmountable.  An identified major problem is the inability of learners of English to produce sounds distinctively.

If the aims and objectives of teaching speaking skills are: to develop learner’s speech as a complement to their thinking and writing; to encourage clear; vigorous and fluent speaking; to stimulate the imagination through spoken language; to give training in listening, and to help learners cope with various utilitarian activities, such as giving vote of thanks, asking questions in public meetings, conveying messages, and attending interviews ( Mabekoje, 2009), then it behooves any language teacher to direct attention to the teaching of the prosodic aspects of oral language.

There are some micro-skills involved in speaking. The speaker has to use the correct forms of words. This may mean, for example, changes in the tense, case, or gender, puting words together in correct word order, using vocabulary appropriately, using the register of language variety that is appropriate to the situation and the relationship to the conversation partner, and making clear to the listener the main sentence constituents, such as subject, verb, object, by whatever means the language uses. Others include: making the main ideas stand out from supporting ideas or information, making the discourse hang together so that people can follow what is being said, pronouncing the distinctive sounds of the language clearly enough so that people can distinguish them, and using stress, rhythm and intonation patterns of the language clearly enough so that people can understand what is said.

Language proficiency demands that the users of the language should be sufficiently competent in the four basic skills of the language. It has been observed that learners of English as a second language find the speaking skills (oracy skills) more difficult than other language skills. English is taught in schools by mostly non-native speakers who are not very competent in the language especially the oral aspect. As a result, most teachers tend to shy away from teaching oral communication. This vicious cycle needs to be broken if learners of English as a second language, especially in developing countries, will be able to cope with the ever increasing demand of English as a national and international language.

The pre-occupation and thrust of this paper is the identification and clarification of the prosodic features of English as well as their importance in producing distinctive and intelligible speech. To be able to speak and listen in a second language situation, it is clear that language learners need something other than just phonemic correctness. What seems important is the ability to comprehend and produce in a near-native-like fashion aspects of pronunciation such as stress, intonation, rhythm and pacing, and to use gestures and body language appropriately; in other words, to have both linguistic and sociolinguistic competence. In many cases, however, pronunciation teaching still focuses on discrete phonemic awareness and production.  Further to this, the paper identifies some strategies for teaching the prosodic features with a view to improving teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge and communicative competence; this in turn is expected to rub off positively on the learners.

The goal of proper teaching of the prosodic features of English words is not to help the students achieve native-like pronunciation, but rather to help them make their speech clear and comprehensible. To accomplish these objectives, the students will need to master specific skills and strategies. The students will be able to recognize the roles of stress, rhythm and intonation in conveying meaning in English, produce natural English stress patterns, using loudness, length and vowel quality to differentiate between stressed and unstressed words and syllables, and use pauses, stress, linking of words to produce natural English rhythmic structures, and use appropriate intonation to convey meaning. For the fact that most languages are primarily spoken, an important part of the overall understanding of language involves the study of the sounds of language. Most sounds in the world’s languages, and all sounds in some languages, such as English, are produced by expelling air from the lungs and modifications in the vocal tract between the larynx and the lips.

These findings facts are important to language teachers and learners and in addition have held potential pedagogical implications. The second language acquisition of the supra-segmental features of language is far less understood than the acquisition of other segmental features such as consonants and vowels. This paper explains the four major features in the teaching of English supra-segmental: intonation units, stress, tone, and pitch. In order to clearly understand the elements of the supra-segmental features of English, it is perhaps reasonable to situate within the global concept of pronunciation, which is a combination of the segmental and supra-segmental features. The segmental features comprise the consonant and the vowel sounds in English while the supra-segmental one are: intonation units, stress, tone, and pitch. For the purpose of mutual intelligibility, comprehensibility and interpretability, clear pronunciation is central to spoken communication.

 

1. UNDERSTANDING THE ENGLISH PROSODIC FEATURES

At this juncture, it is pertinent to discuss briefly each of the prosodic features of English.

 

Stress: Stress is the sound difference achieved by pronouncing one syllable more forcefully than another; for example, the difference between ‘record (noun) and re’cord (verb).Thus, stress is the force with which a syllable is produced. It should be noted that syllables do not have the same force of articulation. Four major types of stress are identified: unmarked tonic stress, emphatic stress, contrastive stress, and new information stress. An important prosodic feature, ‘stress’ applies to individual syllables, and involves, most commonly, loudness, length, and higher pitch (Roach, 1983:73).   Stress is an essential feature of word identity in English (Kenworthy, 1987:18). It is evident that not all syllables of a polysyllabic English word receive the same level of stress; in connected speech, usually two levels of stress appear to be perceptible, to non-native speakers in particular, regardless of the number of syllables: stressed and unstressed (Ladefoged, 1973; Kenworthy, 1987). What is known as the primary stress is regarded as the stressed syllable, while the rest, secondary, tertiary, and weak, are rendered as unstressed syllables.

These are explained below:

Monosyllabic Words– These are one-syllabic words and they are usually stressed, for example ‘dog, ‘run, ‘sit, ‘play, ‘kind etc

Disyllabic Words– The stress can be observed at the first or the second syllable.

-First syllable stressed-‘fe ver, ‘tea cher, ‘dri ver, ‘mar ket, ‘far mer

-Second syllable stressed- Be’ hind, de’mand, re’deem, in’sist, i’dea.

They may also be stressed on the first, second and third syllables.

First syllable stressed– ‘ar ro gant, ‘for ti fy, ‘he si tant, ‘mi ni ster, ‘cla ri fy,

‘chlo ro quine

-Second syllable stressed– di’vi sion, e’lec tric, di’rec tion, al’lo wance, in’ter nal, ex’ter nal, im’por tant, be’lie ver, de’co der, un’ti dy

Third syllable stressed– de tain‘nee, in sin’cere, ci ga’rette, un der’stand, re fe’ree, gua ran’tee, com man’dant, ma ga’zine

At the clausal level, normally, words that carry higher information content in the utterance are given higher stress than those carrying lower input (information) and those that are predictable in the context. It is generally the case that one word is stressed more than any other since it possesses the highest information content for the discourse utterance; that is, it informs the hearer most. The group of words described above is largely from what is called ‘content’ words as opposed to ‘function’ words. Content words are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, while function words are articles, prepositions, conjunctions and modal auxiliaries. Furthermore, it is content words that are polysyllabic, not function words. This classification conforms to grammatical considerations.

Tonic Stress: All sentences have normal stress. It is determined by the parts of speech which are called ‘content words’.  The other words are called ‘function words’ and they are not stressed. On the other hand, there are times when we put extra strong stress on words to show special focus. We also use this special extra-strong stress when repeating information because someone has misunderstood what we have said, or to show contrast. This special stress is called ‘tonic stress’. The term tonic stress is usually preferred to refer to this kind of stress in referring, proclaiming and reporting utterances e.g.in the sentences below, the tonic stress is underlined in the utterances of two students:

A: My uncle drove to Lagos.

B: To Ibadan?

A: No, to Lagos.

A: My uncle drove to Lagos.

B: He went by plane?

A: No, he drove to Lagos.

 

A: My uncle drove to Lagos.

B: Your sister drove to Lagos?

A: No, my uncle drove to Lagos.

 

A: My uncle drove to Lagos.

B: He drove back from Lagos?

A: No, he drove to Lagos.

Emphatic Stress: One reason to move the tonic stress from its utterance final position is to assign an emphasis to a content word, which is usually a modal auxiliary, an intensifier, an adverb. Some intensifying adverbs and modifiers (or their derivatives) that are emphatic by nature are: indeed, utterly, absolute, terrific, tremendous, awfully, terribly, great, grand, really, definitely, truly, literally, extremely, surely, completely, barely, entirely, very (adverb), very (adjective), quite, too, enough, pretty, far, especially, alone, only, own, -self. (Leech and Svartvik, 1.975:135): Consider the following examples:

(1)   The man is very BUsy.  (unmarked)

(2)   The man is VEry busy, (emphatic)

Contrastive Stress: In contrastive contexts, the stress pattern is quite different from the emphatic and non-emphatic stresses in that any lexical item in an utterance can receive the tonic stress provided that the contrastively stressed item can be contrastable in that universe of speech. No distinction exists between content and function words regarding this. The contrasted item receives the tonic stress provided that it is contrastive with some lexical element (notion.) in the stimulus utterance. Syllables that are normally stressed in the utterance almost always get the same treatment they do in non-emphatic contexts.

Many other larger contrastive contexts (dialogues) can be found or worked out, or even selected from literary works for a study of contrastive stress. Consider the following examples:

Jude scored a goal today. (It was JUDE who scored a goal today)

Jude scored a goal today. (Jude SCORED the goal today)

Jude scored a goal today. (It was a GOAL that Jude scored)

Jude scored a goal today. (It was YESTERDAY that Jude scored a goal)

New Information Stress: In a response given to a wh-question, the information supplied, naturally enough, is stressed. That is, it is pronounced with more breath force, since it is more prominent against a background given information in the question. The concept of new information is much clearer to students of English in response to wh-questions than in declarative statements. Therefore, it is best to start with teaching the stressing of the new information supplied to questions with wh-questions e.g.

To teach new information stress successfully, it is best to start with teaching the stressing of the new information supplied to questions with a question word, such as the following demonstrations:

a) What’s your NAME?

b) My name’s OLA.

 

a) Where are you FROM?

b) I’m from LAGOS.

 

a) Where do you LIVE?

b) I live in IBADAN.

In general, new information is more likely to receive a tonic accent than material that has already been mentioned. The topic of a sentence is less likely to receive the tonic accent than the comment that is made on the topic.

Tone: This is a unit of speech bounded by pauses of music and rhythm, associated with the pitch of voice (Roach, 1983). This certain pattern of voice movement is called ‘tone’. A tone is a certain pattern, not an arbitrary one, because it is meaningful in discourse. By means of tones, speakers signal whether to refer, proclaim, agree, disagree, question or hesitate, or indicate completion and continuation of turn-taking, in speech. Consequently, the phenomena of intonation in English should have a piece of utterance, intonation unit, as its basis to study all kinds of voice movements and features. Every intonation unit has a type of tonic stress: (unmarked) utterance-final tonic stress, or emphatic, or contrastive, or new information stress, the last of which is more frequently used in utterances given to wh-questions. Further, intonation units have typically one of these tones: fall, low-rise, high-rise, and fall-rise. Tones are assigned to intonation units in relation to the type of voice movement on the tonic syllable. Finally, all intonation units have to be spoken in one of the three pitch levels: high, mid, and low.

Crystal (1969) and Ladefoged (1982) identify four basic tones (fall, rise-fall, rise, and fail-rise), while O’Connor and Arnold (1973) distinguish only two (rise and fall). Brazil (1980) and Roach (1983) endorse five tones (fall, rise, rise-fall, fall-rise, and level), whereas Cruttenden (1986) recognizes seven tones (high-fall, low-fall, high-rise, low-rise, fail-rise, rise-fall, and mid-level). What makes a tone a rising or falling or any other type of tone is the direction of the pitch movement on the last stressed (tonic) syllable (Brown, 1977). If the tonic syllable is in non-final position, the glide continues over the rest of the syllables. A fall in pitch on the tonic syllable renders the tone as ‘fall’. A ‘rise’ tone is one in which the tonic syllable is the start of an upward glide of pitch. This glide is of two kinds: if the upward movement is higher, then it is ‘high rise’; if it is lower, then it is ‘low rise’. ‘Fall-rise’ has first a pitch fall and then a rise.

A Falling Tone: A falling tone is by far the most commonly used tone of all. It signals a sense of finality, completion, belief in the content of the utterance, and so on. A speaker, by choosing a falling tone, also indicates to the addressee that that is all he has to say, and offers a chance (turn-taking) to the addressee to comment on, agree or disagree with, or add to his utterance.  However, it is up to the addressee to do either of these. This tone does in no way solicit a response from the addressee. Nonetheless, it would be polite for the addressee to at least acknowledge in some manner or form that he is part of the discourse.

A Rising Tone: This tone is used in genuine ‘Yes/No’ questions where the speaker is sure that he does not know the answer whereas the addressee knows the answer. Such Yes/No questions are uttered with a rising tone.

High Rise (A Rising Tone): If the tonic stress is uttered with extra pitch height, as in the following intonation units, we may think that the speaker is asking for a repetition or clarification, or indicating disbelief.

Fall Rise (followed by fall): While the three tones explicated so far can be used in independent, single intonation units, the fourth tone, fail-rise, appears to be generally used in what may be called ‘dependent’ intonation units such as those involving sentential adverbs, subordinate clauses, compound sentences, and so on. Fall-rise signals dependency, continuity, and non-finality (Cruttenden, 1986:102). It generally occurs in sentence non-final intonation units.

One of the most frequent complex clause types in English is one that has dependent (adverbial or subordinate) clause followed by an independent (main) clause. When such a clause has two intonation units, the first, non-final, normally has a fall-rise while the second, final, has falling tone. Therefore, the tone observed in non-final intonation units can be said to have a ‘dependency’ tone, which is fall-rise

Pitch: Pitch is one of the acoustic correlates of stress. From a physiological point of view, pitch is primarily dependent on the rate of vibration of vocal cords. When the vocal cords are stretched, the pitch of voice increases. Pitch variations in speech are realized by the alteration of the tension of vocal cords. The rate of vibration in vocal cords is increased by more air pressure from the lungs. In an overwhelming majority of syllables that are stressed, a higher pitch is observed. Therefore, loudness to a certain extent contributes to the make-up of pitch. That is, higher pitch is heard louder than lower pitch. Further, syllable length tends to contribute to the perception of the utterance-final tonic stress more than pitch because of the natural decline of speech force as it comes to conclusion, contrary to acoustic facts.

Pitch Range/Key: The term ‘key’ can be described as utterance pitch, specific and/or meaningful sequences of pitches in an intonation unit. Keys that are linguistically meaningful and significant are worth being included in English language curriculum. For a key to be significant, it should be under speaker’s control; it should be perceptible to ordinary speakers, and it should represent a contrast. Usually, three keys are identified: high, mid, and low (Coulthard, 1977).

For each intonation unit, speaker must choose one of the three keys as required for the conversation. Most of the speech for a speaker takes place at the mid (unmarked) key, employed in normal and unemotional speech. In contrast, high and low keys are marked: high key is used for emotionally charged intonation units, while use of low key indicates an existence of equivalence (as in appositive expressions), and relatively less significant contribution to the speech. The relationship between pitch and key is a comparative one in that syllabic pitch is always higher than the utterance pitch; in some sense, syllabic pitch is one step ahead of the utterance pitch.

High Key: Exclamation is usually the cover term used to refer to actions described by verbs, such as cry, scream, shout, wail, shriek, roar, yell, whoop, bellow, bark, thunder, howl, echo, and the like. Speakers do these to express their strong feelings, such as excitement, surprise, anger, irritation, rage, fury, wrath, fume, agitation, cheer, merriment, gaiety, fun. Speakers generally exploit high pitch when they exclaim.

Another function of high pitch is to indicate contrastivity. The choice of high key presents the matter of the tone unit as if in the context of an existentially-valid opposition

Intonation Units: An ‘intonation unit’ is a piece of utterance, a continuous stream of sounds, bounded by a fairly perceptible pause. Pausing in some sense is a way of packaging the information such that the lexical items put together in an intonation unit form certain psychological and lexico-grammatical realities. Typical examples would be the inclusion of subordinate clauses and prepositional phrases in intonation units.

Intonation has three important features: division of a stream of speech into intonation units, selection of a syllable of a word, which is assigned the ‘tonic’ status, and selection of a tone for the intonation unit.  To this list, another feature can be added: pitch range, or key (Brazil, 1980, Cruttenden 1986).

It is believed that any feature of intonation, if properly analyzed and discussed against a background of tonic stress placement, choke of tones and keys, is applicable to almost all intonation units. Closely related with the notion of pausing is that a change of meaning may be brought about; certain pauses in a stream of speech can have significant meaning variations in the message to be conveyed.

2. INNOVATIVE TRENDS IN TEACHING THE ENGLISH PROSODIC FEATURES

There are a lot of strategies a classroom teacher can employ to teach the supra-segmental features of English. Some of the innovative methods and techniques that are useful and effective are discussed below:

– Recording as a model: A teacher that has a fluent command of English can serve as a model to teach the oral aspect of English, particularly its prosodic features. However, a teacher whose pronunciation is faulty can use recorded materials to teach some aspects of supra-segmental features of English to students. The teacher plays the difficult words on the tape recorder and then monitors the activities of the students. However, this teaching aid has been seen as effective as lacking the flexibility of a live teacher.

– Using mirrors: Mirrors have been used variously to teach the supra-segmental features of speech. Topics like organs of speech, manners and places of articulation and stress can be taught effectively by employing this strategy.

– Using hand signals: Hand and arm motions have been also used in teaching oral English. This particular method is useful to teach intonation patterns. Raising a hand when the intonation rises and bringing it down when the intonation falls, is an effective instructional gesture that a teacher can adopt to teach the prosodic features of English. Also, in teaching words where students have trouble accentuating the appropriate syllable, the teacher can develop a hand signal, such as forward motion of the wrist with which to emphasize stressed syllables.

– Using flashcards: These can be used to teach the prosodic aspect of speech. The teacher prepares flashcards which he uses to teach students. Words can be contracted in order to help students understand the basic differences between two words that look alike, sound alike or written alike.

– The essence of teaching the supra-segmental features of English is to improve learners’ clarity and accuracy of spoken communication and also to help learners develop effective communication skills. Therefore, language teachers can assist learners: to identify supra-segmental features of spoken English, reproduce them and be able to evaluate whether they did it well.  Regular and evaluative exercises should cover pause groups, pitch change, word and syllable stress, and linked words, and also in minimal pairs and syllable recognition. By this, teachers can evaluate whether learners have produced sounds acceptably.

– Furthermore, language teachers can also present authentic speech samples and natural discourse for learners’ study. This will assist learners and also support social interaction and effective communication.

– Moreover, teachers could supplement with useful activities to support discussion by assigning topics that could reveal deficiencies in learners and thereby offer prognostic solutions to them.

– Any feature of intonation should be analyzed and discussed against a background of this phenomenon: tonic stress placement, choke of tones and keys are applicable to almost all intonation units.

– Pausing in some sense is a way of packaging the information such that the lexical items put together in an intonation unit form certain psychological and lexico-grammatical realities. Typical examples would be the inclusion of subordinate clauses and prepositional phrases in intonation units.

– Closely related with the notion of pausing is that a change of meaning may be brought about; certain pauses in a stream of speech can have significant meaning variations in the message to be conveyed. The meaning is given in brackets.

Those who arrived quickly / got a ticket

(A ticket was got by those who arrived quickly.)

Those who arrived/ quickly got a ticket

(A ticket was quickly got by those who arrived.)

More examples can be used in order to illustrate the significance of pausing, and further, it can be pointed out that right pausing may become a necessity to understand and to be understood well.

– Adverbs and modifiers can be used by language teachers to teach the prosodic features.

Some intensifying adverbs and modifiers (or their derivatives) that are emphatic by nature are: indeed, utterly, absolute, terrific, tremendous, awfully, terribly, great, grand, really, definitely, truly, literally, extremely, surely, completely, barely, entirely, very, quite, too, enough, pretty, far, especially, alone, only and own.

– Sentences can be selected by the teacher to teach effectively the contrastive stress. Examples include:

He played football yesterday. (It was he who…)

He played football yesterday. (He only played)

He played football yesterday. (It was football that…)

He played football yesterday. (It was yesterday…)

– In order to understand the role of stress and its patterns of occurrence in English words, language teachers can consider structural units that organize English syllables. Metrical feet play a fundamental role in English phonology. Just as syllables provide an external organizational framework for phonemes, so does ‘feet’ provide an external organizational framework for syllables. Language teachers should endeavour to assign feet to English words when teaching the stress to language learners. Some of the techniques that could be used by teachers are as follows: show that English words consist of a foot or sequence of feet; discuss a distributional property of English that permits unstressed vowels to occur in the initial syllable in some English words, and show the role that metrical feet play in the pronunciation of English words, in phonemic writing, and in changes in pronunciation that have occurred and are still occurring.

Conclusion

The importance of speech to other language skills cannot be over emphasized and as such an in- depth study of the oral English is necessary.  The production of sounds in English and other features of the spoken English should be diligently studied by learners, particularly at a time when language learning task is geared to instant interpersonal communication with efficiency and precision; the teaching of the English prosodic features could not have gone unnoticed in the preparation of English teaching curricula. The supra-segmental features of speech, a major feature of communication, have usually been avoided by teachers, partly due to the unduly little importance attached to its teaching, and partly due to the unavailability of a concise, salient, practical and workable framework. It has been observed that language teachers are not in control of practical, workable and trustworthy strategies through which the prosodic features could be effectively taught, in order to make its learning comprehensible.

Consequent on the above observations, this article discussed various strategies that could be employed by English language teachers to assist learners of English language master adequately the prosodic features of the phonological aspect of the English language. It is hoped that a very sound knowledge of the features of speech will facilitate production of fluent and comprehensive spoken English that will invariably make students acquire meaningful and resourceful improvement in their spoken English. 

Références

Adrian A. Richard D. Ann F. & Robert H. 2010, Linguistics- an Introduction to Language and Communication, U.S.A. MIT Press, Cambridge MA. Fifth Edition, p. 130-131.

Archibald J. 1995, A longitudinal study of the acquisition of English stress. Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics, 17, p. 1-10.

 

Celce-Murcia; Brinton & Goodwin J. 1996, Teaching pronunciation: A reference for teachers of English to speakers of other languages. Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press.

Crystal D. 1969, Prosodic Systems and Intonation in English.

Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Dickerson W. 1989, Stress in the Speech Stream: The Rhythm of Spoken English. Urbana, University of Illinois Press.

Ellis R. 2003, Task-based language learning and teaching.

Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fraser H. 1999, ESL pronunciation teaching: Could it be more effective? Australian Language Matters, 7(4).

Fraser H. 2000, Coordinating improvements in pronunciation teaching for adult learners of English as a second language.  Canberra, DETYA (ANTA Innovative Project).

Gass S. & Selinker, L. 2001, Second language acquisition: An introductory course Mahwah, New Jersey, Lawrence Earlbaum.

Halliday M. A. K. 1967, Intonation and Grammar in British English. The Hague: Mouton.

Kenworthy J. 1987, Teaching English Pronunciation.

London, Longman.

Ladefoged, P. 1982, A Course in Phonetics, New-York, Harcourt Jovanovich.

Littlewood W. 1981, Communicative language Teaching: An introduction. New-York, Cambridge University Press.

Morley J. 1991, The pronunciation component in teaching English TESOL Quarterly, 25(1), p. 51-74.

Ola M. 2009, ‘Obliterating the problems of English Language Teaching and Learning’ Educere: Journal of Educational Research Vol. 4, p. 122-135.

Ola M. 2009, Comprehensive Language and Communication Studies Tunigraphic Prints, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria,

p. 67-69

 

Pennington M. C. 1996, Phonology in English Language Teaching. London, Longman.

Roach P. 1983, English Phonetics and Phonology: A Practical Course book. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

 

Underhill A. 1994, Sound Foundations: Living Phonology.

Oxford, Heinemann.

TEACHERS’ PEDAGOGICAL SKILLS AND USE OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS AS A CORRELATE OF STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN SOCIAL STUDIES

Dr ABDULRAHEEM YUSUF

Department of Social Sciences Education,

Faculty of Education

University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

 

&

Dr I. O. O. AMALI

Department of Social Sciences Education,

Faculty of Education

University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria

Abstract

This study examined teachers’ pedagogical skills and use of instructional materials as a correlate of students’ performance in social studies in Yenagoa Metropolis, Bayelsa State. Descriptive survey research of the correlational type was adopted for the study. 701 Junior Secondary School III students within Yenagoa Metropolis were randomly selected for the study. A researchers’ designed Questionnaire on Teachers’ Characteristics (QTC) and an adopted Social Studies Performance Test (SSPT) from the Bayelsa State Basic Junior School Certificate Examination 2008, 2009 and 2010 past questions were the instruments used in collecting data for the study. The QTC and SSPT was pilot-tested using test-retest and split half methods respectively. A reliability coefficient of 0.72 was obtained for the QTC while 0.74 reliability coefficient was obtained for SSPT. Standardized multiple regerssion was used to analyze the data at a significance level of 0.05 through SPSS for Windows version 17. The results show a significant positive correlation between teachers’ pedagogical skills, teachers’ use of instructional materials and students’ performance in Social Studies. The study therefore recommended that government at all levels with a meaningful and purposive collaboration with the organized private sector should periodically provide windows of opportunities like learned workshops, seminars and in-service trainings for social studies teachers to equip and improve their knowledge of teaching.

Key words:    teachers’ pedagogical skills, use of instructional materials, correlate, students’ performance, and social studies

Word count: 226

 

Résumé

L’etude a examiné les compétences pédagogiques des enseignants et l’utilisation des matériels instructionnels pouvant aider à améliorer la performance des élèves en sciences sociales dans la métropole de Yenagoa, Etat de Bayelsa. La méthode d’investigation descriptive de recherche du genre correlation a été adoptée pour faire l’étude. 701 élèves de niveau 4è ont été sélectionnés dans la métropole de Yenagoa pour faire l’étude.  Un questionnaire est produit pour collecter les données sur la caractéristique des enseignants (QCE). Un Test de Performance en Sciences Sociales (TPSS) est également produit à partir des questions des examens du Brevet d’Etude de fin du 1er Cycle (Junior School Certificate Examination) de 2008, 2009 et 2010 dans l’Etat de Bayelsa. Le QCE et TPSS est un ensemble de tests pilotes basé sur la reproduction de test et les méthodes de division à moitié. Le coefficient de stabilité de 0,72 est obtenu pour le QCE alors qu’un coefficient de stabilité de 0,74 est obtenu pour le TPSS. La technique de regression multiple standardisée est utilisée pour analyser les données à un niveau significatif de 0,05 à travers ‘’SPSS’’ pour la version windows 17. Les résultats montrent une correlation significative positive entre les compétences pédagogiques des enseignants utilisant des matériels instructionnels et la performance des élèves en sciences sociales. L’étude, cependant recommande que le gouvernement à tous les niveaux avec un plan stratégique établisse une collaboration objective avec le secteur privé de façon organisé pour que suivant une périodicité le gouvernement puisse mettre à disposition des matériels informatiques windows pour les opportunités d’apprentissage lors des ateliers, séminaires et récyclages à l’interne pour les enseignants en sciences sociales afin de les équiper et d’améliorer leur connaissances en enseignement.

Mots clés : compétences pédagogiques de l’enseignement, utilisation de matériels instructutionnels, performance des étudiants et études en sciences sociales.

Mots utilisés: 299

Introduction

Pedagogy or what is commonly referred to as teachers’ technical skills is what distinguishes professional teachers from nonprofessionaloues. In our today’s educational practice, pedagogical skills appear to be a rare and scarce commodity even among professionally trained teachers.

What then is pedagogy? One may likely ask. The Webster Dictionary defines pedagogy as “the whole context of instruction, learning, and the actual operations involved therein.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines pedagogy as “the art or profession of teaching.”

As short as the definitions presented above are, they are narrow and simplistic in the sense that they fail to capture the need for teachers to have good understanding of the subject they teach, of how to monitor students’ progress and how to help students who are falling behind, that is students with poor and fluctuating academic performance. In this 21st century, teaching has gone beyond the art and science of conserving and transmitting knowledge, concepts and skills to succeeding generations, to influencing observable and measurable students’ outcomes. Clark & Walsh (2002) argued that with the rise of professional teachers rather than the tradition of practitioners who apprenticed students, notably with the sophist in classical Greece, the distinction between the practice of a discipline and the teaching of the discipline gave rise to the notion of skills and knowledge independent of the discipline and particular to teaching. Hence, Clark and Walsh (2002) define pedagogical skills as “consisting primarily of knowledge about classroom, assessment, methods for the motivation of students, personal knowledge about particular students and their families, socio-interactional skills’. From this, we can infer that not everyone in the classroom today possesses the needed pedagogical skills to influence students’ learning and by extension, their academic performance.

Similarly, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS, 1998) in the United States of America defines pedagogy as follows:

Content pedagogy refers to the pedagogical (teaching) skills teachers use to impart the specialized knowledge/content of their subject area(s). Effective teachers display a wide range of skills and abilities that lead to creating a learning environment where all students feel comfortable and are sure that they can succeed both academically and personally. This complex combination of skills and abilities is integrated in the professional teaching standards that also include essential knowledge, dispositions, and commitments that allow educators to practice at a high level (p. 1).

It is observed that since effective teaching not only necessitates making difficult and principled choices but also exercising careful judgment and honouring the complex nature educational mission, teachers need to be aware of the technical knowledge and skills in their daily practice.

Teachers’ pedagogical skills enable classroom teachers to have a good and thorough understanding of the subject they teach (Social Studies for example) and appreciate how the knowledge gained over time in their subject areas can be created, organized and linked to other areas of knowledge. Also, pedagogical skills make teachers aware of the preconceptions and background knowledge that students typically bring to each subject and of strategies and instructional materials that can be of assistance in addition to understanding and solving the possible difficulties likely to arise in the classroom and modify their practice accordingly (NBPTS, 1998).

Also, Mckenzie (2003) identified seven elements (categories) which indicate the direction and importance cum the scope of pedagogy. The elements are needs assessment, professional growth, classroom culture, strategy, resource management, problemsolving, and orchestration.

In summary, though there seems to be more theoretical research on pedagogy, little empirical evidence linking teachers’ pedagogical skills to students’ performance is available. However, the findings of Oladele (2010) confirmed that there is a positive relationship between teachers’ technical expertise and students’ performance. It is on this basis that this particular study seeks to replicate the few findings available on this construct in Social Studies.

Similarly, it has been argued severally that teaching resources or teaching and learning materials/resources are determining factors in the attainment of instructional objectives at the classroom level of the educational enterprise.  Instructional delivery cannot be said to be effective when teachers assume the role of “sage on stage”, doing the talking alone.  On the other hand, learning is said to be ineffective when teaching and learning are done without the use of teaching/learning resources or materials.

What can be deduced from the foregoing is that gone are the days when instructional delivery will solely be carried out by the teacher alone.  This method often referred to as teacher-talk (oral exposition) instruction, involves only the learners’ sense of hearing.  It is said that this practice could be boring and hence, does not contribute to effective learning but when all the senses are involved, learning becomes long-lasting and efficient.  Thus, it holds true of the Chinese proverb in their educational practices which says:

What I hear, I forget;

What I see, I remember;

What I do, I understand (Mkpa, 2001).

What then can we specifically say constitute teaching and learning resources/materials? To answer this poser, Offorma (2005) saw instructional resources as aids for effective teaching and learning. They are the teachers’ assistants in the classroom. On her part, Onyejemezi (2001) put that instructional resources are those people and things that enhance the accomplishment of organizational or instructional objectives. Given the myriad of challenges that face modern education, the use of innovative teaching-learning system has become necessary. According to Imogie (2001) innovative teaching-learning is an organized combination and utilization of people, materials, facilities, equipment and procedures that interact to achieve the desired instructional goals or objectives.

The central point of emphasis here is that instructional resource comprise  people, places, events, materials or objects that can be used to enhance human learning in terms of improved capacity to understand, remember and apply knowledge, develop and use skills and cultivate the desirable attitudes and values in a chosen area of learning say Social Studies. In the same token, instructional materials are objects or gadgets which may be electronic or non-electronic, projected or non projected or real objects; they are not only relevant and useful for enhancing and concretizing learning in a chosen area of study say, social studies but they are also utilized by the teacher to reinforce the impact of verbal expressions in the teaching-learning process.

It should be noted that instructional resources are inclusive in nature in that there are different categories of resources and materials, while instructional materials are used in an exclusive way in that they focus on things, objects, gadgets and other inanimate or non-human instructional aids. It can, therefore, be submitted here, that the human factor forms part of instructional resources while the non-human element essentially made up what is commonly called instructional materials.  Hence, for the purpose of this study, the two terms will be used interchangeably.

On this basis, Ayodele (2001) and the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI, 2009) classify instructional materials accordingly:

 

 

 

Table 1: Classification of Instructional Materials with examples

 

S/N

Instructional Materials

Examples

  1. 1.

Visuals

Objects, slides, models, photographs, puppets, and so on.

  1. 2.

Audio

Audiotape, compact disc, tape recorder, and so on.

  1. 3.

Audio-Visuals

Television, Video tapes/cassette, VCDs, motion pictures with sound.

  1. 4.

Projected Media

Overhead projectors, slide projectors, microfiches, opaque projectors, film stripes projectors, and so on.

  1. 5.

NonProjected Media

Modules, realia, and so on

  1. 6.

Printed Materials

Textbooks, journals, periodicals, newspapers, magazines, study guides, pamphlets, workbooks, and so on.

  1. 7.

Non-Printed

Pictures, Mockups

  1. 8.

Display Boards

Chalkboard, notice boards, magnetic board, flannel board, felt board, storyboard

  1. 9.

Graphic Display

Flip charts

10.

Software

Programme stored in diskette, flash drives, Compact Disc, DVD, tape, cassette, transparencies

11.

Hardware

Computer, radio set, TV set, tape recorder, and so on.

12.

NonDimensional Objects

 

Maps, charts, pictures, comic, posters, cartoons

13.

Dimensional Objects

Globes, models, robots, puppets, and so on.

On the importance of the use of instructional materials in teaching and learning, Nkuuhe (1995) argued that instructional materials/resources amongst others:

  1. enables the teacher and the class to have an easy and repeated reproduction of an event or procedure.
  2. provides visual access to a process or technique.
  3. provides a common framework of experience to a large number of learners.
  4. promotes an illusion of reality.

Similarly, in an empirical study on the “importance of the use of instructional materials to the successful implementation of the social studies curriculum at the Junior Secondary School level”, Enem (2005) reported that students taught with instructional materials performed better than students taught without instructional materials in social studies.It can be extrapolated therefore, that in using instructional materials for teaching any subject including social studies, teachers need to ensure that the purposes which the materials ought to serve are clearly spelt out in advance, vigorously pursued during the lesson and successfully achieved by the end of the instructional process.  No doubt, resource materials constitute a vital part of the teaching-learning process in the school system. Also, resource materials convey learning experiences to students and often determine the structure of the social studies curriculum. We should equally note that they introduce students to ideas and information about social studies in a meaningful and realistic manner (Iyewarun, 1984, Mkpa, 2001).

However, the school system has since time immemorial devised a means of accessing students’ academic progress or performance. This is reflected in the teacher-made test, internal and external examinations administered to students from time to time.

For example, Table 1 shows the trend of the performance of students in Social Studies in the Junior School Certificate Examination (JSSCE) in Yenagoa Local Government Area for 2006 – 2010.

Table 2. The Trend of Performance of Students in Social Studies in BJSCE in Yenagoa Local Government Area for 2006 – 2010

A   %

C   %

P   %

F   %

2006

32

3380

16 (0.47)

600 (17.75)

2231

(66.05)

533

(15.77)

2007

34

3612

8    (0.22)

458  (12.68)

2334 (64.62)

812 (22.48)

2008

36

3983

2    (0.05)

425 (10.67)

3259 (81.82)

297 (7.46)

2009

43

4699

2    (0.04)

420  (8.94)

3734 (79.46)

543 (11.56)

2010

58

5452

5    (0.09)

331 (6.07)

2077 (38.09)

3039 (55.74)

Source:   Bayelsa State Ministry of Education, Yenagoa (2011).

It can be observed from Table 1 that there is a clear mark of fluctuation in the performance of students in Social Studies, and several factors may have accounted for this trend.

The performance of students (i.e the result) in both internal and external examinations is usually sent to schools as feedback indicating what teachers and students should do to improve on future performance (Yara & Manjohi, 2011).Against this background, the poor and fluctuating performance of students in the core of Mathematics, English including Social Studies subjects in the Upper Basic Schools has been reported to have strong link to teachers attributes or variables (Adeniyi, 2009; Akiri & Ugborugbo, 2009; Sotoyinbo, 2009).

Given the fluctuating performance of students in the Basic Junior School Certificate Examination (BJSCE) Social Studies in Bayelsa State in recent years, there has been in recent times, a growing body of research which indicates that students’ performance is more heavily influenced by teachers’ characteristics or quality than the students’ prior academic record, students’ race or parents’ level of educational attainment etc. Unfortunately, the previous studies of Abuseji (2007), Adeniyi (2009), Emmanuel (2010), Ibe and Maduabum (2001), Oladele (2010), Opasola (2009), Raheem (2010), Sotoyinbo (2009), Yara and Manjohi (2011) who at various times  investigated into Student other teacher-related variables as determinants of Secondary school students’ achievement in biology, social studies, Christian religious studies, economics, chemistry and mathematics respectively, did not capture the teachers’ characteristic of pedagogical skills and use of instructional materials.

Therefore, the problem of the study is to examine teachers’ pedagogical skills and use of instructional materials as a correlate of students’ performance in social studies in Yenagoa metropolis, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

 

  1. 1. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
    1. What relationship exists among the predictor variables (use of instructional materials and pedagogical skill) and the criterion variable (students’ academic performance in social studies)?
    2. What are the relative contributions of each of the predictor variables (use of instructional materials, pedagogical skill) to the prediction of the criterion variable (students’ academic performance in social studies)?
    3. What is the composite contribution of the predictor variables (use of instructional materials, pedagogical skill) to the prediction of the criterion variable (students’ academic performance in social studies)?

 

2. METHODOLOGY

The Correlational research design was adopted for the study.This design is considered appropriate for the study because it enables the researcher to correlate teachers’ pedagogical skills and use of instructional materials with Students Performance in Upper Basic School Social Studies, through the use of questionnaires and a performance test respectively.

The study covers both the public and private Basic Junior Secondary Schools located within the Yenagoa metropolis of Bayelsa State. Basic Junior Secondary School III students participated in the study. Based on the estimated sample size in relation to the population as provided by the Research Advisors (2006), the researcher employed a simple random sampling technique to select Seven Hundred and Twenty-Seven (727) students of Upper Basic School III (BJSS III) from the Thirty Four (34) schools who participated in the 2011/2012 Basic Junior Secondary Certificate Examination in Yenagoa Metropolis.

The study made use of two instruments – Questionnaire on Teachers’ Characteristics (QTC) and Social Studies Performance Test (SSPT) to examine teachers’ pedagogical skills and use of instructional materials as a correlate of Junior Secondary School students’ performance in Social Studies. Copies of the QTC and SSPT were given to experts in Measurement and Evaluation in the Department of Social Sciences; the Education University of Ilorinto established the face and content validity of the instruments. The QTC and SSPT were pilot-tested using test-retest and split half methods respectively. A reliability coefficient of 0.72 was obtained for the QTC while 0.74 reliability coefficient was obtained for SSPT. At the end of the administration of the instrument, 701 copies were retrieved. Thus, the data analyzed was based on 701 participants who returned copies of the QTC and SSPT. Lastly, Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation was employed to analyze the data collected for the study.

 

  1. 4. RESULTS

Research Question One

  1. What relationship exists among the predictor variables (use of instructional materials and pedagogical skill) and the criterion variable (students’ academic performance in social studies)?

 

Table Relationship between teachers’ use of instructional materials and pedagogical skill and students’ academic performance in social studies.

 

Variables

Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies

Pedagogical skill

Use of Instructional Materials

Sig

Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies

1

.710

.611

 

Pedagogical skill

.710*

1

.707

.000

Use of Instructional Materials

.611*

.707

1

.000

Mean

57.1582

26.4718

29.2916

 

S.D

14.5076

4.3369

6.0071

 

*Significance at .05 levels

In table 4.2.1, it is shown that there was significant positive relationship between pedagogical skill (r = .710), use of instructional materials (r = .611) and students’ academic performance in Social studies.

 

Research Question Two

  1. What are the relative contributions of each of the predictor variables (use of instructional materials, pedagogical skill) to the prediction of the criterion variable (students’ academic performance in social studies)?

Table Relative contribution of each of the predictor variables to the prediction of students’ academic performance in Social studies.

Model

T

Sig.

 

B

Std.

Error

β

 

-28.855

2.253

 

 

.000

 

 

1.225

.105

.366*

 

.000

1*

 

.183

.076

.076*

2.416

.016

2

 

In table 4.2.2, the result shows the relative contribution of each of the predictor variables on the students’ academic performance in social studies: Pedagogical skill (β = .366, P < .05),Use of Instructional materials (β = .076, P < .05). The result showed that Pedagogical skill, and Use of Instructional materials were significant in their relative contribution to the prediction of academic performance in social studies.

Research Question Three

  1. What is the composite contribution of the predictor variables (use of instructional materials, pedagogical skill) to the prediction of the criterion variable (students’ academic performance in social studies)?

Table Composite contribution of each of the predictor variables to the prediction of students’ academic performance in social studies.

df

Model

Sum of Square

Mean Square

F

Sig.

2*

 

722*

 

726

Regres-sion

Resi-dual

Total

103881.900

 

48918.909

 

152800.809

25970.475

 

67.755

383.301*

.000

R = .825

R2=.680*

Adj.R2=.678*

 

 

 

 

 

It is shown in table 4.2.3 that the composite contribution of predictor variables (use of instructional materials, pedagogical skill) to the prediction of the criterion variable (students’ academic performance in social studies) was significant (F(2,722) = 383.301; R = .825, R2 = .680, Adj. R2 = .678). About 68% of the variation in students’ academic performance in social studies was accounted for by the predictor variables.

 

  1. 5. DISCUSSION

For the research question 1 which sought to know the correlation between teachers’ pedagogical skills and students’ performance in social studies, the results obtained from the Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient matrix show a very strong correlation and a significant predicting power on students’ performance in social studies. This result is also in line with Clark & Walsh (2002)’s assertion that teachers’ pedagogical skills affect students’ achievement. It also confirms McKenzie (2003)’s opinion that good teachers are magnificent at the diagnosing and customizing instruction that enables students to succeed in learning. In fact, this result agrees with the findings of Oladele (2010) that there is a positive relationship between teachers’ technical (pedagogical) skills and students’ performance. Put differently, ‘’teachers’ pedagogical skills’’ is one of the major propellers that drives students’ performance to the needed direction and destination in the education enterprise. Teachers that are well schooled in the art and science of teaching strive not only to improve the learning capacity of students with low ability in learning but also combine different teaching strategies to consolidate the gains recorded by high ability students.

On research question 2 which sought to know whether there is a correlation between teachers’ use of instructional materials and students’ performance in upper basic school social studies, with a zero order correlation, teachers’ use of instructional materials shows no significant correlation with students’ performance in social studies at the upper basic school level. Though instructional materials are said to be an important element in teaching and learning of social studies, the result of this study differs from Enem’s (2005) conclusion that, students taught with instructional materials performed better than students taught without instructional materials in social studies.This difference in findings may be a result of the fact that Enem used a sample size of eighty (80) students’ and a research locale cutting across three education zones in Enugu while a sample size of one hundred and one (701) participants and one education zone was used in this study.However, the implication of the result is that there could be other teachers’ factors or characteristics that are not within the scope of this study like teacher location, experience, qualification, and so on, that may strongly correlate students’ performance in social studies rather than use of instructional materials.

 

Conclusion and Recommendation

Contrary to the widely held views and opinions as reflected in the review of literatures that the combination of teachers’ use of instructional materials, teachers’ dispositions, teachers’ pedagogical skills and teachers’ reflective practice greatly influences students’ performance this may not be out rightly correct in all situations and subjects.As findings in this study show that while teachers’ pedagogical skills and teachers’ reflective practice can significantly predict students’ performance, the same is not true with teachers’ use of instructional materials.It should also be submitted here that even though use of instructional materials by the teachers as well as their dispositions does not significantly predict students’ performance in this study, the import of instructional materials and teachers’ dispositions in the classroom situation should not be completely disregarded. The ultimate conclusion however is that social studies teachers should take the issue of enhancing and updating their pedagogical skills seriously. That is, if they hope to up and better the performance of students in social studies.

Therefore, the following are useful recommendations and suggestions for implementation.

  1. The government at all levels with a meaningful and purposive collaboration with the organized private sector should periodically provide opportunities like learned workshops, seminars and in-service trainings for social studies teachers to equip and improve their knowledge of teaching.
  2. Social studies teachers should look for opportunities to improve themselves because knowledge is dynamic; so is the teaching and learning of social studies.
  3. Criteria for recruiting new social studies teachers and other subject teachers should henceforth, include possession of adequate pedagogical skills and the ability to enhance students’ performance through reflective practice by the prospective teacher seeking to be employed as a social studies teacher.

d.  The promotion of teachers and other incentives to be given them should from now on be tied to how well the teacher influences the performances of his students.

Références

Abuseji F. A. 2007, Student and teacher-related variables as determinants of secondary school students’ academic achievement in chemistry. Journal Pendidikan, 32, p. 3–18.

Adeniyi T. B. 2009, Influence of selected teacher variables on secondary school students’ performance in social studies in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria.Unpublished M. Ed Thesis, University of Ilorin, Ilorin.

Akiri A. A. & Ugborugbo N. M. 2009, Teachers’ effectiveness an students academic performance in public schools in Delta state, Nigeria, Kamla-Raj Stud Home Communication Science, 3(2), p. 107-113.

Ayodele S. O. 2001, Quality, quantity, production and distribution of teachingtesources, In Nnoli O. & Sulaiman I. (Eds), Reassessing the Future of Education in Nigeria, p. 63-77. Abuja, Education Tax Fund.

Bayelsa State Ministry of Education 2011, An extract of 5-years result of JSCE for Yenagoa L.G.A. Yenagoa.

Clark J. C. & Walsh, J. 2002, Elements of a model of effective teachers. Retrieved April 1st, 2011. From http://www.aare.edu.au/02pap/wal0220.htm

Emmanuel S. 2010, The influence of teachers’ characteristics and senior secondary students’ performance in economics in Ilorin West L. G. A. Unpublished B. Sc. (Ed) Research Project, University of Ilorin, Ilorin.

Enem F. O. 2005, The importance of instructional materials to the successful implementation of social studies curriculum at junior secondary school Level. Journal of Curriculum and Media Technology Research, 1(11), p. 48 – 56.

Ibe B. O. & Maduabum M. A. 2001, Teacher qualification and experience as correlates of secondary school students’ achievement in biology. Educational Thought, 1(2), p. 176-183.

Imogie A. I. 2001, Optimization of instructional media. In Nnoli O. & Sulaiman I. (Eds.), Reassessing the Future of Education in Nigeria, Abuja, Education Tax Fund, p.  91-101.

Iyewarun S. A. 1989, The Teaching of social studies. Ilorin Owoye Press & Book Industries (Nig) Ltd.

Mckenzie J. 2003, Pedagogy does matter. The Educational Technology Journal, 13(1), p. 1-10.

Mkpa A. M. 2001, Optimization of available teaching and learning materials/facilities. In Nnoli O. & Sulaiman I. (Eds.), Reassessing the Future of Education in Nigeria, p. 79-89. Abuja, Education Trust Fund.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards 1998, Pedagogy – definition – summary. Retrieved 7thApril, 2011.From http//www.intime.uni.edu/model/teacher/pedagogy/summary.html

National Teachers’ Institute 2009, Manual for the re-training of primary school teachers social studies:  A MDGs Project 2009. Kaduna, NTI Printing Press.

Offorma G. C. 2005, Curriculum issues, resource provision and use in the arts and language teaching.  Journal of Curriculum and Media Technology Research, 1(1), p. 162 – 178.

Oladele O. T. 2010, Teacher quality and students’ academic performance in C. R. S. in secondary schools, Ilorin – South L. G. A., Nigeria, Unpublished B. A. (Ed) Research Project, University of Ilorin, Ilorin.

Onyejemezi D. A. 2001, Quality, quantity, production and distribution of teaching resources/facilities. In Nnoli O. & Sulaiman I. (Eds.), Reassessing the Future of Education in Nigeria, p. 41-61.  Abuja,  Education Tax Fund.

Opasola A. J. 2009, Influence of school variables on junior secondary school students’ performance in social studies in Afijio, Oyo State, Nigeria. Unpublished M. Ed. Thesis, University of Ilorin, Ilorin.

Raheem M. J. 2010, Relationship between teachers’ characteristics and senior secondary school economics students’ performance in Ilorin, Nigeria.Unpublished B. Sc. (Ed) Research Project, University of Ilorin, Ilorin.

Research Advisors, 2006, Sample size table.Retrieved 7thApril, 2011. From http://.research-advisors.com

Sotoyinbo A. O. 2009, Influence of teachers variables performance in social studies in Abeokuta metropolis, Nigeria. Unpublished M. Ed. Thesis, University of Ilorin, Ilorin.

The New Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language 1995, USA, Lexicon Publication, Inc.

Ukuuhe J. 1995, Instructional media. In Matiru, B; Mwangi, A; & Scheele, R. (Eds.), Teach Your Best, pp 63-78.A publication of the Institute for Social Cultural Studies. Germany, University of Kassel.

Yara P. O. & Wanjohi W. C. 2011, Performance determinants of Kenya certificate of secondary education (KCSE) in mathematics of secondary schools in Nyamaiya division, Kenya. Asian Social Science, 7(2), p. 107 – 112.

 

 

 

 

 

BEYOND SYNTACTIC INEXACTITUDES: TEXTUAL EQUIVALENCE IN OLA ROTIMI’S THE GODS ARE NOT TO BLAME

BABATUNDE OLASOJI AYODELE

Department of Languages and Linguistics,

Ogun State University, Ikire Campus,

Ikire, Osun State, Nigeria

 

Abstract

Confronted with the imperatives of rendering their indigenous socio-cultural experiences in a second language with vastly disparate cultural backgrounds, Nigerian writers of all periods evince a commitment to translation procedures in their literary works. Literary texts created by them pointedly attest to this discernible tendency. This view issues from the assumption that most second language users more often than not necessarily connect with and orient to their mother tongue and primary culture in their verbal actions that involve a second language. It is against this background that this paper investigates  Ola Rotimi’s use of the means of translation in his work The gods are not to blame to communicate his Yoruba cultural experience in the target English language. Set in a fictionalised micro context, the play attempts to reproduce a ‘real’ macro historical or contemporary reality which also provides the interpretational background for it.

Based on the notion of translation equivalence the paper examines several instances of translation in the play. It considers some translation strategies such as substitution, lexical replacement, functional description and deliberate omission for the purpose of circumventing the problem of cultural, linguistic and musical untranslatability. It found that the cultural peculiarities encoded by names of people, deities, places, flora and fauna render them untranslatable and that song translation is even more problematic. The paper concludes that attempts to translate these aspects of the source language text could benefit from the strategies of creative reinvention of its form and content and position it to produce the desired effect as the original.

Key words: translation, textual equivalence, substitution, interpretation, functional replacement.

 

Résumé

Confrontés aux impératifs de rendre leurs expériences socioculturelles indigènes en anglais, les écrivains nigérians adoptent les différentes techniques de traduction dans leurs œuvres littéraires. Cette tendance est évidente dans les textes littéraires produits par les écrivains. Ce fait est émane de l’avis que la majorité des écrivains qui s’expriment en L2 souvent se connectent avec leur langue maternelle et culture dans les pratiques langagières, cet article s’est préoccupé d’enquêter sur les techniques de traduction adoptées par Ola Rotimi dans son œuvre “The gods are not to blame” pour communiquer son orientation socio culturelle Yoruba en anglais. Produite dans le contexte  micro fictionnel, la pièce vise à reproduire une réalité macro historique qui solidifie son origine interprétationnelle. Basé sur la notion de l’équivalence en traduction, la communication évalue les stratégies de traduction telles que: la substitution, le remplacement lexical, la description fonctionnelle et omnisciente pour résoudre effectivement le problème de l’intraductabilité culturelle, linguistique et musicale. Il est remarqué que les particularitées culturelles exprimées par les noms des personnes, des dieux, des lieux, des flores, et des faunes les rendent intraductibles et que la traduction des chansons est plus problématique. Elle conclut que la tentation de traduire ces aspects des textes de la langue de source peut être enrichie de la stratégie de la réinvention créative de sa forme, de son contenu et de sa position pour produire l’effet désiré semblable à l’original.

Mots clés: traduction, équivalence textuelle, substitution, interprétation, remplacement fonctionnel.

Introduction

The exigencies of intercultural interaction in the context of a global community throw up the need for a procedure that will facilitate mutual intelligibility. In Nigeria, the imperative of translation and interpretation, at both inter and intra national levels had its roots in the slave trade and colonialism. During the latter era, the need for the introduction of the English language as the medium of communication became accentuated and indeed urgent, as it was the platform upon which the colonial government could relate with the citizens. Since then, the English language in Nigeria has assumed the status of and indeed functions as the official language. Interestingly, the language has succumbed to the natural tendency for languages to go through a process of dynamic transformation dictated by the concomitant changes in the life of its users in the course of time. The Nigerian user of English, therefore, is seen as domesticating the English language (without detracting from the quality of the language) to communicate his/her socio-cultural experiences in a manner that suggests a deep involvement with translation at several linguistic levels.

Literary texts created by Nigerian writers, of both the colonial and post-colonial periods, attested to a commitment to translation procedures necessitated by the imperative of communicating a uniquely Nigerian socio-cultural and political experience to the global world. Writers like Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Ola Rotimi, Wole Soyinka, T.M. Aluko were among those who pioneered the literary movement whose medium of communication is the English language.

In his attempt to characterize the process of literary text creation by the Nigerian writer using the English language medium, Adegbite (1988:15) asserts,

“any time he uses English to express ideas which derive from his own native culture, he employs the means of translation. And the translation whether efficient or not, at least affords him the opportunity to convey ideas from his primary culture in a language that does not belong to that culture.”

This assertion is predicated on the assumption that most second language users will in reality connect with and orient to (at least in their mind)  their mother tongue (MT) and culture as a necessary first step in any verbal action that involves a second language. It is in this regard that Ola Rotimi, who uses English as a second language (L2), could be described as a writer and a translator. Investigating translation in The gods are not to blame is therefore an attempt to characterize the nature and the textual relevance of his use of the target English language to communicate a totally Yoruba cultural experience.

Set in a fictionalised micro context, The gods are not to blame is a product and representative of a ‘real’ macro historical or contemporary reality that ultimately provides the background for the interpretation of the text. This macro contextual paradigm, at once cultural, pragma-social, political and linguistic is what many writers seek to recreate in drama through language. Consequently, apart from the conventions to which drama as a social form must conform, there is a language demand that is imposed on the writer in creating the text.

In addition, the cognitive processes involved in the interpretation of drama as discourse are mediated by language. Unless there is a correlation between the mental perception and the symbolic representation of linguistic codes in any piece of writing, it is likely that both the encoder and the decoder would arrive at different meaning destinations. Shared linguistic and cultural codes between the encoder and the decoder, therefore, provide the basis for arriving at identical interpretation and by extension determine how successful the drama would be.

Initial reactions to Rotimi’s use of the English language in The gods are not to blame could be gauged through the sentiments expressed by Akanji (1979: 21) to the effect that,

The bane of most early Nigerian drama in English has been its failure to appeal to more than a very small number of people, even among the so-called educated who constitute its potential audience.

The seeming lack of appeal at that time toward Ola Rotimi’s ‘new English’, particularly among the educated elite, was not because of its failure to communicate a message that the audience could identify with, but might not be unconnected with the loss of the indigenous nuances and linguistic flavour associated with the Yoruba language whose culture was being x-rayed. What is considered as a loss of linguistic flavour could be traced to the playwright’s choice of translation of key words and proverbs into English, rather than the use of contextually relevant translation equivalents.

 

  1. 1. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND

Translation has been described as finding a target language (TL) textual equivalent for a second language text (Catford 1965) in such a manner that the translated TL text should read as if it was written originally in the SL. In other words, a good translation ought to capture in a stylistically appropriate fashion not only the linguistic form but also the idea and context of use. The effectiveness of any translation would be measured by the extent to which the linguistic and contextual correspondences set up by the translator in the target language text approximate to the reality conveyed in the original work, at least in terms of its impact and vitality.

The notion of translation equivalence has received attention from translation theorists of various linguistic and communication persuasions. (Catford, 1965; Snell-Hornby 1995; Nida, 1986, 2001,2004). Though there is unanimity about the notion of equivalence being a central concept in translation theory, the approach to its conceptualisation has been varied with some theorists denying its homogeneity and perhaps validity based on the logic that no two languages are ever exactly alike. (Nida 1986) Notwithstanding the methodological differences, there is a convergence of opinion that the notion of equivalence is text-specific making equivalent forms to be applicable to only particular text types. Though there may not be a consensus of opinion with regards to the operational definition and scope of equivalence, Yinhua (2011:169) argues that “without equivalence of certain degrees or certain aspects, the translated text cannot be regarded as translation of the original text.” Various categories of equivalence that have therefore been proposed include formal equivalence&dynamic equivalence (Nida 2004); formal correspondence (Catford 1965); formal correspondence and translation equivalence (Ivir 1981); semantic vs communicative equivalence (Newmark 1988); Denotative, connotative, text-normative, pragmatic, formal/aesthetic equivalence (Koller, 1995).

Though formal equivalents in translation are not improbable, they have the likely possibility of distorting the grammatical and stylistic patterns of the target language text and consequently the message (Nida and Taber 1982). The differences between linguistic structures and socio-cultures of different languages make certain formal elements of the source language, like word order, intonation or tone, difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce in the target language. In the target-language communicative situation, the translator seeking to communicate a message equivalent to the one received in the source language could resort to the use of any of the different potential set of linguistic devices available  other than that used for the coding of the message in the source language.

The concept of equivalence with a focus on the content of communication rather than on the structure of linguistic units has also received attention in the literature on translation theory. It has been described in various ways as equivalent textual material (Catford, 1965: 20) and communicatively equivalent (Jäger, 1975).However plausible as these explanations are, they tend to play down on the influence of culture as influential to the determination of what is to be perceived as a communicatively textual equivalent in the target language.There is therefore the need to focus on the purpose of the SL text in the course of any translation effort aimed at accounting adequately for culture-bound words and producing textual equivalents that will serve as well as the original. To achieve this goal requires a combination of procedures ‘such as explicitation; paratextual features which guide the reader’s reception’ (Mansor, 2012:1)These may include the use of addition, cultural equivalent, descriptive equivalent, literal translation, word-for-word translation, modulation, reduction, synonymy, transference, deletion, and combination.

One important aspect of culture that requires careful handling in translation is the use of proper names including terms of address and titles. Strawson (1971: 23) describes a personal name as ‘a word, used referring, of which the use is not dictated by any descriptive meaning the word may have.’ Though names and the ideas behind them are often culturally unique in terms of their forms and functions, there is a universality that often characterizes the forms of certain names, for example, of religious origin. Any attempt, therefore, to translate such names, title or terms of address would naturally lead to a distortion of the meaning or message.Transference is very useful to translate tradition title, terms of address, and proper name.

 

  1. 2. DATA ANALYSIS

2.1 Lexical expansion

(1) Baba Fakunle: This boy, he will kill his own father

and then marry his own mother!

(2) The Narrator: Bad word!

Mother weeps, Father weeps.

The future is not happy (p.3)

Bad word as a grammatical unit exemplifies a nominal group (Nmg) with bad as modifier and word as the headword. The Yoruba grammatical equivalent of bad word will be rendered as òrò buruku which has ‘òrò’ as the headword and ‘burúkú’ as the qualifier as an equivalent nominal group word-order.

Modifier         Headword      Qualifier

English            bad      Word

Yoruba            òrò       burúkú

The grammatical analysis of the nominal group (Nmg) shows that while both ‘word’ and ‘oro’ have the same functional and positional feature, (of being the head)‘bad’ and ‘buruku’exhibit different functional and grammatical properties.

In the context of the entire play, there is a conscious foregrounding of the text’s thematic preoccupation with the notion of ‘bad word.’ In the Yoruba worldview, it is bad word (taboo, abomination, scandalous or horrific) for a child to kill his father and marry his mother.  Odewale (the heir), many years after he was thrown away at birth on account of the mystery surrounding him, killed King Adetusa (his father) in fulfilment of what the gods have preordained. It was during a fight between the two on a farmland to which both were laying claims. As fate would have it, Odewale, who had grown to be a warrior, later led Kutuje to victory against the people of Ikolu. In appreciation of his valiant act, Odewale was made king and as customs demanded had to marry the wife of the late king. The sacrilege committed of killing his father and marrying his mother was the cause of the serious plagues in Kutuje leading to the unravelling of the mystery and tragedy that the royal home suffered; Odewale after removing his own eyes abdicated the throne.

Stylistically, ‘oro buruku’ could have been rendered as bad word/news, foul language, abomination or taboo; all of which could convey a sense of foreboding that characterises the story line. However, for the playwright to have chosen ‘bad word’ attests to the writer’s intention of retaining the nuances and connotation associated with the expression in the source language. Obviously, this linguistic choice goes beyond an attempt to capture just the form of the words; it underscores the deliberate search for a textual equivalent for ‘oro buruku.’

2.2 Lexical replacement

There are other examples in the text that point to the substitution of the SL word with TL translation versions in what appears as attempts to remain faithful to the message (in yoruba) being conveyed. One such example is the expression, my sweat.

(3) Odewale:         I gathered the people of Kutuje

under my power

and under my power

we attacked the people of Ikolu,

freed our people,

seized the lands of Ikolu,

and prospered from their sweat, (p.6)

(4) Odewale :        … on my own farm,

And what were they doing? Digging up my sweat !

These thieves were digging up my sweat. (p.45)

In the Yoruba worldview, sweat means more than òógùn which literally means perspiration.  òógùn in Yoruba semiotics implies someone’s effort, labour invested over a period of time in a venture, project or business including a consideration for the pains suffered in nurturing it to fruition. In extract 3 above, ‘prospered from their sweat’ (p.6) carries the implication of reaping where one has not sown when considered in the light of the words attacked, freed and seized preceding it. After carrying out an attack on the people of Ikolu, the people of Kutuje took control of the land and helped themselves to the spoils of war (in this case the sweat of the people of Ikolu). The same interpretation runs through the use of sweat in extract 4, “Digging up my sweat! These thieves were digging up my sweat.” (p.45) King Odewale here refers to the strangers on his supposed farm as thieves who were trying to steal his farm produce (a product of his sweat). The average Nigerian, nay the African does not take kindly to anyone playing games with what has taken a lot of one’s life efforts; energy, time, finances in rain or in shine. The repeated use of sweat rather than any other lexical item could therefore only be seen as deliberate: the preference for sweat as a replacement for farm produce (in the context in which it is used) accentuates the playwright’s commitment and deliberate effort to produce a textually equivalent lexical item that captures the Yoruba world view about personal efforts put into one’s development. Indeed, the Yoruba would say, ‘ti ode ba ro ise to ro iya, (i.e. sweat) to ba pa eran ko ni fun enikankan je’meaning if the hunter considers the troubles, pains and effort put into his daily hunting adventures in the bush, he would rather choose to be selfish with his game.

The point has to be emphasised that while not being the preferred translation method, a word-for-word replacement of words with peculiar semiotic import could serve a more effective purpose than a lexical replacement that has no direct relevance with the people’s worldview. This stylistic choice raises the question (though clearly beyond the scope of this paper) of who the target audience is. This is because the audience for which The gods are not to blame is meant would be the determining factor in how effective the translation has been.

(5)  Ojuola: My Lord… (p.11)

(6)  Ojuola: Does that mean that my lord will not tell me

why he is angry at Aderopo?

Odewale: Very well, I will tell you everything.

Ojuola: (sitting) I am listening, my lord. (p.51)

An inter-textual use of My lord from the religious and/or legal domains. But the Yoruba dictates that the wife refers to and addresses her husband as Olowo ori mi (the one who pays my bride price) or as oluwa mi (my lord)

Other instances of my lord.

(7) Odewale: … pray, my people – Baba Ogunsomo –

Ogun Priest: My lord –

Odewale: Balogun.

First Chief: I stand with you, my lord.

Odewale: Otun.

Second Chief: My lord.

Odewale: Osi.

Third Chief: I am here, my lord. (p.71)

 

  1. 3. PROVERBS/IDIOMS

Proverbs encode important messages that are part of the folklore and linguistic cultural heritage of a people. Translating them therefore requires cultural knowledge and linguistic skills that will ensure expressive identity between the SL and TL texts.  Though translation of proverbs involves far more than the literal word-for-word replacement of lexical and grammatical items, it may nevertheless require finding a direct and fully identical TL equivalent in form and function. In addition, the strategy of paraphrase or substitution may sometimes be found appropriate. In The gods are not to blame, there is adeliberate deployment of the literal translation strategy designed to capture the surface realizations rather than the underlying conversational implicature of the expressions.

The following analysis of proverbs and idioms in The god sreveals the character of the translation procedures adopted by the playwright.

(8) Royal Bard: There are Kings and there are Kings:

King is greater than King. It is not changing into the lion that is hard, it is getting the tail of a lion.

Odewale, King, son of Ogundele,

you will last long to rule us:        Ẹẹ k o wa jẹ pẹ Kolanut lasts long in the mouths      Ẹnu agba ni obi tii gbo of them who value it. (p.7)

The italicized expression shows that there is almost a one-to-one textual correspondence between the SL and TL versions. For instance, you is the equivalent of (the second person pronoun marking respect for age in Yoruba), will (ẹ), rule us (ko wa j) last long (p). The concluding part of the idiom displays more formal dislocations retaining Kolanut (obi) and mouths (nu) as the only recognizable words between the SL and the TL. There is an apparent inconsistency in the instances of the TL last long: while it is the direct equivalent of pe (you will last long to rule us), it is not the same with gbo (Kolanut lasts long in the mouths) which literally means ripe/mature. Similarly, them who value I tas a textual substitution for agba (the elderly) could only be justified by the cultural belief that sees the elderly not only as the repository of wisdom but also as those who understand and could appreciate the value of things.These literal and substitution translation strategies are generally applicable to other instances of proverbs and idioms in the text.

In Extract 9, there is form of substitution that involves a conceptual replacement of a key item of the idiom.

(9) Second citizen: When the head of a household dies,

Agba ko si ilu baje the house becomes an empty shell. Baale ile ku, ile di ahoro But we have you as our head, and with you, our Chiefs; yet we do not know whether to thank the gods that you are with us, or to look elsewhere for hope. (p.9)

The idiom consists of two related conceptual frames: (i) Agba ko si ilu baje, (ii) Baale ile ku, ile di ahoro. On the one hand, the wellbeing of a town is attributed to the leadership offered by elders, on the other hand, the prosperity of a household/family unit is the direct responsibility of a responsible head of the family. However, the TL version is a reflection of only the part that deals with the household without any reference to the town: When the head of a household dies, the house becomes an empty shell. It is obvious that if the idiom is to be fully captured in the TL, there ought to have been an expression like when there is no elder in the town, the town becomes a shadow of itself. The whole idiom has been substituted with a part of it. However, the conceptual reduction does not necessarily result in a substantial loss of meaning. The implication is that in the absence of responsible headship/leadership, things will go wrong. So, in the context of The gods, people are looking up to the King and his Chiefs for solution to the many problems confronting them, prompting the comment by the Third Citizen which is an interpretation of the idiom,

But we have you as our head, and with you, our Chiefs; yet we do not know whether to thank the gods that you are with us, or to look elsewhere for hope.

As also revealed in Extract 10, there is a consistent pattern of interpreting a proverb by the speaker as a way of driving home its message, as sometimes is the practice in Yoruba culture where it is often said that ‘whoever uses proverbs in the presence of his in-laws must interpret it.’

(10) Odewale    All lizards lie prostrate: Gbogbo alangba

lo dakun dele

how can a man tell                          a ko mo eyiti inu nrun

which lizard suffers from bellyache?                                                                             In time, the painwill make one of them lie flat on its back, then shall that which has been unknown be made known. (p.23).

An interesting feature of TL version of this proverb is the conversion of its grammatical structure. While the proverb in its original form is declarative, the translated version comes as an interrogative; though with a rhetorical implicature. There is also the repetition of the word ‘lizard’ which rather than its one occurrence now features twice in the TL version.  This is also the case in another proverb; because the farm-owner is slow to catch the thief, the thief calls the farm-owner thief!’(p.46), which in Yoruba is rendered; Ai tete m’ole, ole n mu oloko.

In the same vein, there is lexical replacement of ‘no one’ which is implied in the SL form ‘a’ with ‘a man’. Though still maintaining the generic reference of ‘man’, there is an obvious shift from the non-personal, non-gender and indefinite reference to a personal and gender specific reference.

In yet another instance, (Extract 11), there is an attempt to reproduce the form and content of the equivalent proverb text in Yoruba by following the word-for-word pattern.

(11) Odewale:    When                                Nigbati

The wood-insect               Arigisegi

Gathers stick                    Ba nsẹ igi

On its own head it            Ori ara rẹ ni

Carries them (p.72)         Yio fi gbe.

The proverb could be paraphrased as ‘anyone who makes choices must be ready for the consequences of their choices’. Though usually without ‘when’ (nigbati) in its original form, “Arigisegi ti o nse igi, ori ara re ni yio fi gbe”, the English rendition provides a literal translation that replaces every word with an equivalent. However, the conversational context that necessitates the use of ‘when’(adverbial time marker) is responsible for the substitution of ‘ti o’ with ‘ba’ (marking progressive aspect alongside the ‘n’ in ‘nse’ in Yoruba) which co-textually functions alongside ‘nigbati’ (adverb + auxiliary verb) as is often the case in Yoruba.

One more feature of the translation of proverbs in The godsis the reproduction of words that serve as contextual collocates whose dislocation could have a negative effect on its interpretation. In the next extract, ‘crown’ and ‘royal shoes’ are words used as collocates.

(12)  Townspeople: May your reign be blessed!

Long may the crown rest on your head!    Ki ade pe lori,   And the royal shoes on your feet! (p.15) ki bata pe lese

The crown as the symbol of kingship has the royal shoes as its co-text collocate. Culturally, the idiom, Ki ade pe lori, ki bata ape lese (SL) rendered as Long may the crown rest on your head and the royal shoes on your feet is a form of subjunctive wishing the king a long tenure. Put differently, therefore, the greeting would be expressed as ‘long live the king! or ‘May the king live long!’ The TL text shows a literal translation reflecting a word-choice and syntactic arrangement that attempt to capture not only the form and content of the greeting but also preserve its cultural nuances.

  1. 4. PROPER NAMES

The main function of a proper name is to identify an individual referent. In translation, proper names are either left in their original form or they are translated by definition/description. Though it has often been claimed that proper names lack descriptive meaning, Nord (2003), argues that in fictional texts, names generally are invested with explicit informative value which encourages their translation, especially when such names are descriptive. However, where a translation interferes with a culture marker, there may be a substantial loss of meaning for which the translator may decide to compensate by providing the information in the context. Translation of the names of people, deities and herbs in The gods are not to blame ranges from total, near-total to zero translation due to the cultural messages they encode.

(13) Narrator: …It is their first baby,

so they bring him for blessing to the shrine of Ogun, the god of war, of iron, and doctor of all male children.(p.2)

(14) Odewale:      Sacrifice did you say? To what gods have

we not made sacrifice, my Chiefs and I? Soponna, the god of the poxes? Ela, the god of Deliverance? What god? Sango, the god of thunder and rainfall, whose showers can help wash away the evil in the soil on which we stand? (p. 11)

(15) Odewale; Give us the details.

Aderopo: Very well, then. The oracle at the shrine of

Orunmila sends you all greetings.

First Chief: [caustically]. We sent you all the way to Ile-Ife to bring us greetings from Ifa. All right, we greet Ifa too. Thank you.

As evident in extracts 13, 14 and 15, names of Yoruba deities and gods are not translatable just as other proper names. The peculiarity of these names derives from the cultural importance of the roles of these deities in the life of the community. There is therefore a close link between these names and what the deities are known for. The following table summarises the roles of these deities as captured in the translation.

 

 

Table 1. Descriptive translation of the names of deities

Names

Functional description in translation

Ifa

The oracle at the shrine of Orunmila p.19

Orunmila

The all-seeing god p.18

Obatala

God of Creation

Ogun

the god of war, of iron, and doctor of all male children p.2

Soponna

the god of the poxes p.11

Ela,

the god of Deliverance p.11

Sango

the god of thunder and rainfall p.11

Oya

The mother of children

Esu-Elegbara p.24

The messenger of Ifa and Olodumare p.28

The functional description of the deities, in what appears as parenthetical information, provides the needed contextual clue to the meaning of the names. To a non-Yoruba speaker, the names would probably not be meaningful and this would have detracted from their understanding of the message of the play, particularly in the light of the roles played by the deities in directing the course of events that led to the tragic ending of the play.

The use of purely indigenous names for the characters (without any attempt to describe them as is the case with the deities) further attests to the untranslatability of proper names with huge cultural values. However, there are a few instances of a direct rendition in English of the message conveyed by particular names. For instance, in extract 16, Aderopo, which means ‘a replacement’ is literally rendered in English as ‘fill the nothingness left behind by the first’.

(16) Narrator:   Two years later, King Adetusa and his wife

Ojuola have another son, Aderopo, to fill the nothingness left behind by the first (p.4)

The compensatory translation method adopted by the playwright is further reflected in the co-reference between names and the description of their form or function.

(17) Opele stringed objects of divination (p.2)

(18) Gbonka    king’s special messenger  (p.3)

(19) Aiyilara      the palmwine tapper (p.14)

(20) Alaba the curer of sick heads (p.14)

(21) Ogini   the fisherman (p.14)

With the exception of Opele in extract 19, the description that follows each of the names in 17-21 is a reflection of the Yoruba tradition that recognises the use of vocational label in identifying an individual. In the case of Gbonka, it is the official title of the king’s special messenger in the old Oyo Empire.

Herbs are plant-parts like leaves, roots and barks used for medicinal purposes. Though with universal botanical descriptions, the flora and fauna of any environment bears unique names (different from what it is called in other environments) that encode the cultural values attached to their medicinal properties by the community. In The gods, there are few instances of these names which are left untranslated. For example,

(22) Asufe ẹiyẹjẹ leaves (p.13)

(23) Dogo-yaro (p.13)

Asufe ẹiyẹjẹ literally means a tree that produces fruits that no human, except birds can eat. This name provides a description of the nature of the tree hence the difficulty in finding a TL equivalent for it. On the other hand, Dogoyaro (azadirachta indica) is an Hausa word often used in its original form by Yoruba speakers. The mention of these names (in the context of The gods are not to blame) conveys the associated message of their medicinal importance especially within the context of the need for cure to the various diseases ravaging the land. These herbs are known for the treatment of the malaria scourge, though it could also be used to treat ailments like hepatitis and intestinal problems. Any attempt to translate theses name would have produced expressions that do not capture or give indication of their medicinal property.

 

  1. 5. SONGS

Generally, songs are compositions that combine features of verbal text (lyrics) with both music and performance (singing). These features, no doubt, introduce a measure of complexity into the translation of songs with the requirement that aspects such as the verbal text, regular sounds, lines rhythms, rhymes, parallelism and other relevant features be considered before rendering any song into the target language.Consequently, there is often more prominence given to musical rhythm over faithfulness to the linguistic features of the songs. Franzon (2008:374) suggests that a song translator may have options in theory which include zero- translation of the lyrics, translating the lyrics without taking the music into consideration, writing new lyrics, adapting the music to the translation, and adapting the translation to the music.

The songs in The gods are not to blame are primarily performed in Yoruba (as a code switching phenomenon) within the overall context of the use of English by the characters. For probably cultural, linguistic or musical limitations, some of the songs are left untranslated. However, those translated are actually not meant to be performed; they serve a purely parenthetical function. For example,

(24) [The men, all skimpily clad in bante –

undershorts – appear wielding cutlasses.

Drumbeats accentuate their dance songs]

Townsmen

T’eba ngbo gbe-gbe-gbe           When you hear our voices

T’eba ngbo gbe-gbe-gbe            Brother, you better respond

B’osi gbe                                  to the call of duty

Ehinkule re                                 or you’ll have yourself to

L’ao gbe si                                 blame

T’eba ngbo gbe-gbe-gbe

Awa l’omo ale’ku wonu ogan     We’ll chase death back

into its hole

Awa l’omo aja’we so l’oko        We, masters of herbs,

Iku ogbe b’oduro                      Sickness we dare you to wait

Arun o se ra re                     and you, too, death.  (pp.17-18)

The translation of the above song clearly reveals that issues of rhythm and rhyme and poetic form including line length are of secondary importance. For instance, the translation fails to replicate the repetition of the line ‘T’eba ngbo gbe-gbe-gbe’ which in the original has its second line rendered with a high tonal pitch to produce a rhythmic effect. This translated version not only lacks this tonal variation, it also introduced ‘brother’ and shows little or no faithfulness to line length.  The implication, therefore, is that the translation of the song comes as a text to be read rather than performed leading to the inevitable conclusion the translation only tries to provide a literal ‘textual explanation’ of the song.

(25) OJUOLA has just finished telling the story of Olurombi to the royal children.

OJUOLA: The song goes like this:

Onikuluku njeje ewurẹ, ewurẹ, ewurẹ Onikuluku njẹjẹ aguntan, aguntan gbolojo,Olurombi njeje omor, omor aponbi epo Olurombi o join-join, iroko join-join (p.36)

Quite unlike the literal textual translation adopted in 24 above, Ojuola’s highly melodious folkloric song (25) has no target language version due to the cultural context of its performance.  A target language version would have resulted in a loss of both the linguistic flavour and musical appeal. Perhaps a TT rendition would have read something like,

Everyone vouches for the goat, the goat, the goat everyone vouches for the lamb, the lamb, the lamb Olurombi vouches for her child, her palm oil-complexioned child Olurombi is strong, the iroko is strong.

A target text form of the song (such as above) cannot serve as an adequate textual equivalent of the song both in terms of its musical arrangement and its aesthetic effect on the readers. The obvious implication of this is that the translation of songs is a more complex exercise that requires more than linguistic competence. A translator dealing with songs must possess skills in musical composition in addition to an understanding of the demands of cultural performance in order to achieve a perfect blend that would produce a textual equivalent of the songs to be rendered in the target text. The universality of music however suggests that if masterfully crafted and performed, a TL form of a song would still achieve similar appeals as the SL text.

 

Conclusion

Top of Form Bottom of Form In translation, the translator is often faced with the problem of to successfully convey aspects of the SL, particularly naming of persons, gods and flora and fauna, in the TL equivalent.  In this paper we have considered some strategies – substitution, lexical replacement, functional description, omission employed to overcome the problem of cultural, linguistic and musical untranslatability.

The study shows that proper names of people, places, deities, flora and fauna are untranslatable due to the cultural peculiarities they encode. Similarly, the study shows that song translation is more problematic because of the need to account for the musical effect of the songs in the target language. However, the process of translation of these aspects of the SL text could benefit from the strategies of creative reinvention of the SL form and content and produce the desired effect as the original.

 

Références

Adegbite W. 1988, Problems of message preservation in simultaneous translation.Journal of Ife Studies in English Language. 2/1, p. 15-28.

Akanji N. 1979, Ola Rotimi’s search for a technique. In K. Ogungbesan (Ed,), New West African Literature London, Heinemann p. 12 – 29.

Catford J.C. 1965, A Linguistic Theory of Translation. London, Oxford University Press.

Franzon J. 2008, Choices in Song Translation: Singability in Print, Subtitles and Sung performance. The Translator: 14/2: Special Issue. Translation and Music, p. 373-399.

Ivir V. 1981, Formal Correspondence vs. Translation Equivalence Revisited, Poetics Today, p. 51-59.

Jäger G. 1975 Translation and Translationlinguistik (Saale), Max Niemeyer

Koller W.  1995, The Concept of Equivalence and the Object of Translation Studies, Target 7/ 2: p.191-222.

Mansor I. 2012, Acceptability in the Translation into Malay of Rihlat Ibn Battutah, KEMANUSIAAN, 19/ 2: p. 1–18.

Newmark P. 1988, A Textbook of Translation. Hertfordshire, Prentice Hall International (UK) Ltd.

Nida E. A. 2001, Contexts in Translating. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, p. 107-114.

Nida E. 2004, Principles of Correspondence.  In L. Venuti. (ed) The Translation Studies Reader, p. 153-167. NY, Routledge.

Nord C. 2003, Proper Names in Translations for Children, Translation for Children, 48(2)

Rotimi O. (1971). The gods are not to blame. Ibadan, Oxford University Press.

Snell-Hornby M. 1995, Translation Studies: An integrated approach. Amsterdam and Philadelphia, John Benjamins.

Strawson P. F. 1971, Logico Linguistic Papers.  London, Methuen.

Yinhua X. 2011, Equivalence in Translation: Features and Necessity.International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 1 No. 10; p. 169-171.

 

 

THE ROLE OF VISUAL ART IN AFRICAN RELIGIO-CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND NATION BUILDING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.

Mathew Omoruyi OTASOWIE

Department of Philosophy and Religions,

University of Benin, Benin City

Abstract

Visual images have been of valuable importance since ancient world. The Greeks for example were eminently visual people who took pride in the use of visual art. It was anathema among the Hebrews to visualize their God, for he was not to be seen. The Christians, particularly the Roman Catholics, believe that God could become visible. In the traditional cultures globally, images and symbols were accepted as a way to immortalize concrete events and particular heroes. Legends and epics grow to establish such events, most of which have been documented by art historians and archaeologists in the contemporary society. Images and symbols are a universal language, employed by the artists to concretise the form ideas in their mind. Symbols are cultural; it is the society that determines its symbols. The method adopted in this study is critical analysis and observation of images in Benin City. The scope of the paper is African society, Roman Catholic Church and the extent is global. The article is more of comparative studies.

Key Words: visual objects, representation, images, symbols, reality.

 

Résumé

Les images visuelles ont une valeur importante depuis l’antiquité. Les grecs par exemple sont eminament des peuples visuels qui ont une fierté à utiliser les arts visuels. C’était un athema parmis les heubreux qui a rendu Dieu visuel, parcequ’il n’était pas visible. Les chrétiens, particulièrement les catholiques romains, croient que Dieu peut devenir visible. Dans ces cultures traditionnelles, généralement images et symboles sont acceptés comme des moyens d’immortalisation concrète d’événements importants, surtout celle des Héros. Légendes et épics grandissent pour établir ces genres d’événements, dont la plupart sont documentés par les historiens et archéologues dans la société contemporaine. Images et symboles contituent une langue universelle employée par les artistes pour concrétiser la forme de leurs idées à travers leur pensée. Les symboles sont culturels et la société détermine ces symboles. Il est adopté dans cette étude la méthode d’analyse critique et d’observation des images dans la ville de ‘’Benin City’’. L’article est une étude comparative qui se limite à la société africaine, bien qu’il rende compte de certains faits, images et symboles dans l’église catholique romaine qui a une étendue globale et universelle.

Mots clés: objets visuels, representation, images, symboles,  réalité.

 

Introduction

The major role visual Art plays in the evolution of society is to identify a specific culture out of the general socio-milieu. Civilization developed out of the multi-cultures into an acceptable conformed way of life, visual arts play an important role in the cultural evolution. Although Nigeria is a multi-cultural nation with internal as well as external influences, Nigeria as well as any other country would like to preserve its cultural heritage. This cultural heritage in itself is also multi-cultural as one goes from one ethnic group to another. As a matter of fact, each individual person tries to keep his identity through what he wears, how he combs his hair, how he talks and walks and the friends he keeps. Hence, as individuals, the visual art play a role in developing the nation’s culture. Now what is this visual art that can affect the culture of an ethnic group and the entire country, and the importance of it?

 

  1. 1. VISUAL ART AND ITS IMPORTANCE

Visual art refers to two dimensional and three dimensional works of art that are viewed with the eyes and perceived with the mind. A message that is communicated through the application of the principles and elements of art, such works of art include drawings, paintings, sculptures, designs and crafts. Through these works of Arts, the culture of a people can be identified, developed, preserved, and appreciated from one generation to the next. By culture, this author refers to the totality of the way of life evolved by a people in its attempts to meet the challenges of living in its environment (Unoh, 1986:138), which include such activities as using Language, getting married, bringing up children, earning a living, running a government and taking part in religious ceremonies. Since culture is in visual arts, and visual art is in culture, visual arts become very important in the development of a nation in general, particularly the Nigeria one. It exposes the youths to cultural heritage in arts, songs, dances, laws, governments, languages, communal efforts, modes of worship and morals. It exposes the youths to cultural awareness, appreciation, educational and environmental values.

 

  1. 2. AWARENESS AND APPRECIATION OF VISUAL ARTS IN A MULTI-CULTURAL SOCIETY

Within the last three decades, there has been in motion a new cultural awakening and cultural awareness in the Black and African World. Festivals such as the Negro Arts Festival in Darkar in 1966; the Pan African cultural Festival in Algiers in 1969; and the most recent and most famous festival – the second World Black and African Festival of Arts and culture, known as FESTAC ’77, which took place in Lagos in January and February 1977, have become historical. These festivals have been prominent in the display of the visual arts as a part of African cultural achievement, heritage and identify. The effect these festivals have on the lives of Africa and Africans in diaspora was that they realize there were external as well as internal elements influencing cultural identity (Unoh, 1986: 138).

This paper focuses on images and symbols in the religious realm, articulating the need for visual art in art – historical studies. Images and symbols are part of African rich cultural heritage, visual arts project the two in the contemporary society.

2.1.The Evolution of Symbols and Images

There are many definitions of the word culture. Culture is superorganic, which means it is not biologically inherited. Culture is learned and transmitted through groups and individuals in societies (Billington and Strawbridge, 1991: 2-3). Human beings have learned to communicate through symbols in different cultures. Culture is species specific: although other species can communicate, only humans can communicate through symbols, language being the most important symbol system. Through the use of symbols humans bestow value and meaning on objects, relationships and ideas (Billington 1991: 3).

Man’s relationship to his fellow men and to the world around him is inferred by the individual through the ability to create, understand and to use  symbols. The symbolic imagery of the unconscious is the creative source of the human spirit in all its realizations. Not only have consciousness and the concepts of its philosophical understanding of the world arisen from the symbol but also from religion, rite and cult, art and customs (Wheeker, 1969: 25).

Man’s image of the world and, consequently, his attitude to it is in accord with the symbols which he uses, and by which his lives are directed. The activity of creating and using symbols, both in form of images and myths, is vital to the well- being and continuance of man and his culture. Through the ability to create and understand symbols man has passed from the animal world into the world of consciousness and spirit; he has moved from the realm of material existence into the threshold of a spiritual reality. This in itself is the function of the symbol, to bring together a material thing with an immaterial and transcendent reality. A symbol is something which uses material things to point to a significant underlying order of things; an order of things which extends and illustrates for man the enduring themes of his life: time and destiny and death (Wheeler, 1969:25).

Different symbols appeared in human history from ancient times, the star for example appeared in Mathew2:2-11. The star at this time predicted the birth of the new born king. The three astrologers claimed to have seen the star when it came up in the east and therefore went up to the Jewish Land to worship him (Mathew 2:2). The star shone brightly when Jesus Christ was born and led the wise men to discover the new born and led the wise men to discover the new king. Star in Biblical lore was regarded as messenger, angel, in the service of God. The wise men understood the divine astrological science from which flow materials and spiritual knowledge, for this was their religion and life was their only ceremony (Ekhosuehi, 2014:16).

In the same way, tattoo was a common symbol in the ancient society and is still practised in different forms in the contemporary world. Tattoo was a physical mark sustained during initiation which served as a life reminder of their past and it was a sign of belonging to the race or cultic group. Among the Chinese, members of different cult groups wear tattooed symbols at the back of their feet and on their doors. The symbols are old and blurred black-ink, with three small Chinese symbols;they were it was a mark of belonging to the Golden Triangle or another triads group like Yee Kim, Sai Kim cult association (Connelly, 2009: 46).

The Edo version of tattoo is ‘Iwu’. The information on ‘Iwu’, body marking of the Edo people is based on a research conducted by Ekhaguosa Aisien. Although body marks were common among ancient parents in Edo Land, many of those who wore the marks have fallen asleep. In the 1970s the marks were still visibly seen among the elders mainly on their chest down to the stomach. The marking of the body became prominent during the slave trade era in the 17th to 18th centuries. It served as a mark of identification amongst nations during raiding and inter- tribal wars. The Edo people traced the origin of Iwu to the marriage between the Oba of Benin to the daughter of Alakure, the monarch of Akure. It was the princess of Akure who insisted that the husband be marked like her people. As things worked out, it was the Alakure who inflicted the first injury on the inlaw. The Edo people referred to the mark as the ‘torso’ of the Oba. The first Oba to wear the ‘torso’ was Ehengbuda (d.1606). The marking was later extended to every Edo adult, acquisition of the Iwu terminated adolescence and commenced adulthood. A man would usually have his Iwu before he took his first wife (Aisien, 2011: 1-21).

Tattoo was a common way for people to express their individuality. It was a part of cultural tradition, having an important role in ritual and traditional rites from ancient world. The concept of “Tattoo” originated from the Tahitian word tatu” meaning to mark something.” This root meaning has given rise to different meanings and has meant different ideas to different peoples. This author will simple view it as a permanent mark or design made on the skin. The Holy Bible condemned the practice in Leviticus 19:28 and the Christian authorities (Duru, 2015).

2.2.The purpose of studying images and symbols

In the human mind the making of things is actively associated with the power of life and creation inherent in nature. Images and symbols demonstrate man’s ability to use his hands and eyes for the making of things. Primitive cultures and early civilization were aware of the unity of all forms of life, and the importance of the activities and images which symbolized this. The concept of the “fallen man” was graphically and symbolically represented in the story of Adam and Eve. In another sense, man’s superiority over all other lives and indeed over nature itself (Wheeler, 26-27).

At Ugo in Edo Land, the legend was that the first chief (Enogie) wanted to marry a girl called Igbaghon. She refused the marriage proposal but was forced to accept the chief’s demand and taken to the house against her consent. She refused any sexual advance from the chief, refused to eat for three days and finally ran to the nearest river. The people said she became that river because her footprint was traced to where she fell down, being the source. The marriage was not consummated, but the chief got to where she fell and took some water in his calabash. As he was going home, he got to a spotw here he could no louger move, so he dropped the calabash. He planted a tree and later images were made at that spot, that was the beginning of Igbaghon worship. He said, ‘if I cannot marry you, I will worship you’. There is festival yearly in honour of Igbaghon and the Enogie has been the chief celebrant (Otasowie, 2005: 157).

Symbolic action is more important than-oral symbolism for the communication of ideas. Some philosophers used to feel that symbolic thought was something ‘primitive’ and lacking the cogency of reasoning. It was felt that symbols could not be studied systematically as symbols could not be translated into reasoned concepts (Aylward, 1975). The Edo of the contemporary having thought of the injury and pain in ‘Iwu’, body mark, decided to change the symbol to a particular cloth with marks wore by palace people and other indigenes. Benin sculptures and Bronze carving also wear such marks.

The objective of this paper is to emphasize the importance of visual art in the teaching of religious studies. Images and symbols are visual materials which arouse and sustain interest in the learner, and help pupils to remember their lessons much longer than when taught by pure verbal means.

2.3. Problems involved in the use of images

There has been conflict in the use of images and symbols in the religious realm. In Acts 19:23-36 the early Christians met a great opposition as they preached against the work of art and culture found in the temple. Artemis, the sacred stone that fell from the sky,was said to be  highly venerated by the Ephesians; but this belief was contradicted by the Apostles, which brought hullabaloo to the city. In the same way Vanguard Newspaper, January 21, 2015 reported a clash between the Christians and the people of Umuojo in Idemili North Local Government area of Anambra state over the burning of Udume Abor shrine. Udume is the image of a deity in Igbo Land. Images are memorials, relics, objects and honour of what they represent. They are objects of reverence in the communities in which they existed, that has been the primeval culture.

The purpose of images is to aid remembrance For example, the Edo instituted the ‘Ukhure’ symbol (Igbe, 2009:77).  The ukhure is given to the eldest member of the family like what Igbo people called ‘Ozo’ (Arinze, 1970:71).  This symbol reminds the family of deceased parents. When a family looses a dear one, pictures and portraits are kept to remember him. In the religious realm, looking at the image, there will be confidence to speak to the spirit and the life force that comes from the object. This is the basis of ancestor and hero worship. At the entreaty, supplication and prayers, the life of the spirit would occupy the object and so the belief passed from heritage to heritage especially when mystery occurred (Ekhosuehi, 2014:16). The ancient conflict associated with image was termed ‘iconoclast’.

2.4. Iconoclastic Controversy

Iconoclast is a person who took part in the movement against the use of images in religious worship in the churches of Eastern Europe in the 8th and 9th centuries. The term iconoclast also applied to “puritans in England”, in the 17th century according to Oxford Dictionary of current English. Iconoclastic controversy came up in literature, learning, and art during the age of the Isaurian and Amorian dynasties (802- 867 AD). The greatest theologian then was John of Damascus (d. 750 AD), he was a staunch defender of images. Iconoclasm was obviously an uncongenial environment for religious art, but the period was characterized by a revival of Hellenistic naturalism in secular painting and sculpture. Missionary rivalry between the Greek and Latin churches produced in the ninth century as much antagonism as the earlier iconoclastic schism. There was a sharp competition between the Orthodox and Catholic Missionaries especially in the use of images (Hoyt, 1957: 228)

Islamic religion have been against iconoclasts, Ibn Saud, Emir of Nejd at the beginning of the nineteenth century erected edifices on tombs dedicated to saints, prophets and martyrs. This was condemned as institution tainted with polytheism (Lammens, 1969: 182). Islam prohibits the use of statues or portraits as religious objects even though some of these art works have been found in palaces of Caliphs (Mehri, 2014: 1-2).

The Greeks were an eminently visual people. They gloried in the visual arts, Homer’s epics abound in visual detail; and they created tragedy and comedy, adding new dimensions to visual art. The Hebrews were not so visual and actually entertained a prohibition against the visual arts. Neither did they have tragedies or comedies. The one book of the Bible that has sometimes been called a tragedy, Job, was clearly not intended for, and actually preached, any visual representation. The Greeks visualized their gods and represented them in marble and in beautiful vase paintings. They also brought them on the stage. The Hebrews did not visualize their God and expressly forbade attempts to make of him an object- a visual object, a concrete object, any object. Their God was not to be seen, He was to be heard and listened to. He was not an It but an I- Or a You. You shall not make for yourself a graven image (Exodus 20:4). The Christians were those who believe that God could become visible, an object of sight and experience, of knowledge and belief. When the reformation did away with visual images, it was only to insist more firmly on the purity of doctrines that must be believed (Kaufmann, 1970:33).

 

  1. 3. SYMBOLS IN WORSHIP/CULTURE

Symbols are integral part of the organizational life of many African societies. They are not simply by- products of organizations, rather elements that structure members’ active construction of sense, knowledge and behaviour. African symbols are stored or contained in African culture, symbols are noticed by sight, sound and touch, they are experienced as real image or sign, its impact has significant social consequences. Some of the graphic symbols seen among the Africans are signs, or images that express meaning indirectly. Through symbols, the African people have communicated their ideas, fears, anxieties, sensations, feelings, intuitions and moods.

Symbols are signs that are commonly agreed on and interpreted by a group of people. Among the symbols of the Jukun are the red colour (Abukhan) which connotes the warring nature of the Jukun nation; black colour (Abupe) depicts the king as a rain maker; white colour (Abufyen) symbolizes the Jukun nation as a peace loving people. Symbols and signs are phenomena which are universally accepted (Gausa, 2014: 123-125).

Symbols are the way of saying or expressing abstract ideas, values or notions which would be difficult or even impossible to say or express directly. The meaning of symbols transcend the physical intrinsic property of the abstract, and can only be understood in terms of the meaning which the people of that culture invest in them, and may seem arbitrary to the outsider. The main concern here is the native chalk (kaolin) called ‘orhue’ in Edo Language, whose symbolic importance derives from its white colour. There are three colours in Edo colour syndrome- white, black and red (Omijeh, 1971: 117).

Orhue features in many aspects of Edo traditional religion, examples of areas in which this symbol is vividly displayed are: when a new baby is born, title taking, any occasion that involves happiness. Orhue is a symbol of expressing joy and happiness. At any joyful occasion, orhue is rubbed on the face, and women with bowls of mixed orhue, with which they mark their foreheads, go about jubilantly with these bowls asking people to share their joys with them, by applying the orhue on their foreheads (Omijeh, 1971: 118).  The other symbolic act in Edo culture is anointing the head.

3.1. Head Anointing

Celebration of head culture among the Edo people could be traced to the era before Christianity, when it was decreed that every householder must choose either a Lamb or a young goat for his household, Exodus 12:4-13. The people were to take some of the blood and put it on the door posts and above the doors of the houses in which the animals were to be eaten. While in the wilderness, the blood was put on the forehead. The head has been identified with personal fortune, to which success or failure is attributed (Ekhosuehi, 2015: 16).

The Edo people consider the physical head (uhunmwun) and the Yoruba neighbour to Edo have the same concept of head (ori). In these two Languages the ‘ori or ‘uhunmwun’ is a symbol of ‘the internal head’ or ‘inner person’. This is the very essence of personality (Bolaji, 1962: 170).  The Edo will propitiate their uhunmwun (head) for a variety of reasons. They believe that the human head is the centre of the human person and the symbol of both the sacredness of the creator and His spirit entity in man. It is by that force of reason, the direct representation of the ‘oghene osa’ or Osanobuwa in mankind. So, when events take place which humans need to celebrate, the head serves as the focal point of anointing in many religious rites. The spiritualist among them would say, ‘uhunmwun ara bo na’. Literally, this means that it is the head you raise your hands, in respect and adoration (Isekhurhe, 2006: 111).

3.2.Christian Symbols

The nineteenth century witnessed a symbolists’ movement in the visual arts and literature which was epitomised in the writing of Paul Verlaine (d.1896). During the twentieth century, philosophers such as Ernst Cassirer (d.1945), Susanne Langer (d. 1985) and Paul Ricoeur (b. 1913) advanced symbolic theory, while anthropologists such as Victor Turner (b. 1920) explored the ritual symbolism of traditional societies. Their work provided a frame work for theologians searching for more satisfying explanations of sacraments than those afforded by medieval theologies, which emphasized intention and abstraction rather than perception or experience.

The reassertion of the primacy of symbols heralded a return to full, rich symbols in worship, such as bread that could be perceived as bread. This, in turn, resulted in vessels shaped to hold more natural forms of bread (Foley, 1991: 171).

 

 

3.3. Memorial Symbols

St Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 spoke of resurrection of the body but Aquinas argued that it is much harder to believe in immortal but permanently disembodied human soul. Reincarnation is next to resurrection when looking at the mental images of after life. The next world is only viewed through mental images; there is nothing imaginary about a mental image. It is an actual entity, as real as anything can be. To those who experienced it, an image would be just as ‘real’ as this present world is.

In medium communication, a lot of people find it difficult to realise that they are dead. This is part of the image- world, visual images in this present physical world is a symbol of some appearances. An image –world would not be an exact replica of this one, to some extent, it is a picture of rather than a detail reproduction (Price, 1973: 20-26). An image representing an object (e.g. a dog) need not necessarily be an exact replica of some individual dog one has perceived. It might rather be a representation of a typical dog. Memories are more specific on some subjects than on others. How specific they are, depends probably on the degree of interest one has in the individual object at the time when it was perceived. An event which moved one individual deeply is likely to be remembered specifically in an image- world.

There is no reason why one should not be ‘as much alive’, or at any rate feel as much alive, in an image- world as one does now in this present material world (Price, 1973:26). Telepathic apparitions have been associated with a number of images, especially when considering discarnate experiences or out of –body experiences. Telepathic apparition would have to be recognisably similar to the physical body which that person had when he was still alive. Telepathic apparitions gave a picture of the next world, not restricted to a definite location but a dream like world of mental images. Mental images including dream image, are in a space of their own. They do have spatial properties. Visual images for instance, have extension and shape, and they have spatial relations to one another. But they have no spatial relation to objects in the physical world (Price, 1973: 30-32).

In the New Testament, communication by sight comes clearly into the picture, it is word and image, although the word remains basic. The person of Jesus, who communicated himself to the ear, was indispensably bound together. The Bible is God’s great picture book, because Christ, who has been incarnated, is actually a picture of God. This leads Weber to say that ‘God does not reveal the deepest mysteries by word…but through signs: immersion at baptism, the breaking of the bread, the Cross’ (Weber, 1957: 21). In the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church, communication was made mainly through the eye, this is especially the case in the Eastern Orthodox church, where the service, is a great drama, in which all the senses take part (Oosthusen, 1968: 233).

 

  1. 4. PICTORIAL AND SYMBOLIC VERSION

Abstract ideas about the eternal are foreign to illiterates. Bible stories could be told using story telling with Christ centre emphasis and visible symbols. Pictorial and symbolic vision are the ones direct while the others, drawing on inner meditation, are good means of illustration to illiterates. Pictures are much used today in evangelistic work amongst illiterates, however, new Christian symbols could be created, and a new interpretation given to non- Christian symbols. Symbols must have a central position in worship, for example, the sacraments are symbolic representations of the drama of redemption. Symbolic colours play a great role in African religion, for example, white is the diviner’s colour, and the whiteness of the dress helps her to ‘see’ more clearly and so become fully spirit- possessed (Oosthusen, 1968: 243).

4.1.Tree Symbols

The tree is a powerful symbol of the life of the Cosmos, representing its growth and proliferation, its continual birth and rebirth. Since it symbolises inexhaustible life, it also stands for immortality. From pre- Neolithic times the tree was seen as the world- axis: its long shape makes it an axis to the centre of the world. Since each tree is an axis, the world’s centre, there can be many holy trees. With its roots in the ground and its branches in the sky, the tree connects the underworld, earth and the heavens, with its roots, trunk and foliage. Tree symbolises immortality, with the example of the tree of life in the garden of Eden. It stood in the middle of the garden, as an axis to the world’s centre. Coiled around it was its guardian snake. The scene at the crucifixion of Christ resembled the scene in garden of Eden; the tree of life grew in the garden of Eden. Medieval tradition explains how the wood of the Cross came from the original tree of life in Eden (Cirlot, 1992: 62-66).

Perry Stone writes, “every person has a genealogy, often called a family tree. Some are proud of the legacy and the fruit generations of family members have produced, especially coming from a family of Lords with gallery of portraits of ancestors. To others, however, the leaves are withered, the branches are dead, and the tree is fruitless”.32There are about twenty-nine different trees mentioned in the Bible. The various trees are often linked to different biblical stories to mirror the strength or weakness of particular individuals in the story. The Oak tree often linked to the early patriarchs- Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Genesis 35:8. “The Oak is strong and majestic, and survives long- an imagery of the early patriarchs who built a strong foundational legacy and long lives”(Perry, 2011: 81).

The Cedar of Lebanon was used in the construction of Solomon’s temple. The psalmist compared the righteous to palm trees (Psalm 92:12). A palm tree’s roots are planted deep and can survive strong winds and storms. The mustard tree produces one of the world’s smallest seeds and is referred to as a picture of simple faith- faith as the grain of a mustard seed (Luke 17:6).34

In Edo mythology, it was reported by Nosakhare Isekhure that a tree spoke to prince Ogun when he was in difficulty. The tree gave him a small magical substance in the night as he slept beside the tree called ‘ase’. The ‘ase’ in Edo Language means ‘evba we na ru no mwan’ that means, whatever he wants becomes his. With his trust in the magical power, his normal strength and zeal, he mobilized forces to defeat his rival to the thrown and was crowned Oba Ewuare (Isekhurhe, 2006: 114-115).

 

4.2.Image Culture

Culture, like any other human experiences and endeavour means many things to different people who give it many different definitions. When the various opinions and definitions are analyzed they mean the same thing, “The totality of a people’s way of life” (Eze, 2010:49). The Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines culture as, “the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular group”. Culture is the main life stream which holds human society together and gives it direction, meaning and control.

Traditionally, Nigeria is enriched culturally; different ethnic groups in the country are endowed with cultural artefacts and images which have been recognized world wide. The National Museum and Monuments including the National gallery of art and culture, and the state art councils are vested with the responsibility to collect, preserve and promote Nigerian culture (Eze, 2010: 50).

Images and symbols are a universal language, employed by the artist to concretise the form ideas in his mind. Images and symbols bring reality to the abstract ideas in the minds of a designer. Diane Gaston gave an example of the feeling of two children, Cal 7 years and Dory 5 years when they were brought to their father’s parlour a year after their mother’s death. In the parlour was a portrait of their father on one side while that of the mother on the other side. The children barely looked at the portrait of their late mother instead they directed their attention to the portrait of their father on the opposite wall. This was because their mother’s image upset them (Gaston, 2012:44). This is the basis on which religion exists, the fear of the unknown and giving courage to face uncertainty.

The word idolatry originated from the Greek word ‘eidolen’ meaning, image or phantom. The word was referred to “things used to represent other things as symbols, emblem, portrait”. The image can become fixed in the mind, as a mental picture, an emblem of worship, they represent spiritual entities which are real to the people. The spirit can manifest or appear where this object is kept. It symbolises that which is real or previously real to the people (Awolalu and Dopamu, 1979:19). A symbol in classical Greek or Latin times related to a variety of meanings such as a sign or mark, one person gave another to understand something; like a token, a commercial treaty between a pair of contracting persons. The meaning of symbols developed over time to a concrete indication of abstract values. In particular, the term became associated in early Christianity with the set of beliefs forming the Creed, in the canon known as ‘Symbols of the Apostles’. Symbols have been made to explain the concrete by reference to the abstract, the visible by the invisible, and to extract from the concrete its hidden meaning for an understanding of the abstract. The use of symbols has allowed operations to be performed with generality and brevity, in a way that would not have been possible with ordinary language. ‘Words are the signs and symbols of things’ (Firth, 1973: 14-15). The theory of the image perception of Sechenov and Pavlov, postulated that all mental processes are reflex in origin and that perception includes efferent motor components as well as sensory efferent components. Mental processes involve an activity which is hidden from the external observer (Vurpillot, 1976: 258).

In the ancient world deification was common, individuals with some strange experience after death were deified, and images, statues, or sculpture were raised in their honour. The idea of calling on the spirit for protection and propitiation immediately followed. In the contemporary time images are erected by the community, Local Government and State Government to immortalize some individuals without religious connotation or worship of any sort attached. This is common in Edo State as statues of different kinds are found at different parts of Benin City.

Symbol is cultural and not natural, it is the society that determine its symbols. Religious symbols provide information about the object of belief or have power to generate the acquisition of such information. In the paintings in the Roman catacombs, for example, while the symbols of palm, ship, fish, shepherd and the like were not meant for simple illustration or instruction they were intended to portray by allusion the hopes of the Christians concerned and even at times to suggest meanings that had otherwise to be concealed. A symbol is only the representation of another order of reality. A symbol provokes a spontaneous activity. Symbols were used to represent natural forces or abstract principles in a kind of primitive philosophy. Symbols were used to represent images in dreams in the seventeenth century (Firth, 1973: 56-95).

4.3. Images in Religious Realm

Entreaties and supplications tend to influence those supernatural forces, in contact with the spirits that possess superior power. The worship of the handiwork of Arts, images, statues in numerous shrines excessively is idolatry. Images are also an erroneous way of looking at things to which the mind is prone, such as the idols of the tribe, due to misconceptions of demonstrations, images, statues and relics in their states do not hear words, prayers and supplications but are memorials. They serve to immortalize the soul they represent. The family kept image where the spirit of the deceased can be venerated. This was the beginning of hero worship (Ekhosuehi, 2014:16).

The Buddhist carry small jade statue of Buddha as they travel and the statue of Buddha is displayed in their temple (Connelly, 2009: 185).  Like the way the Roman Catholics carry cross and images of the blessed virgin Mary about and in their houses. The Roman Catholics believe in the use of statues, to decorate their churches and to serve as a means of focus. Talking to a statue may look silly but some members have reaped its fruits when they had mysterious experiences. King Kelson of Gwynedd when under depression clung to Saint Camber’s medals like talisman against evil. In the church of Saint Camber, he imagined the statue of St Camber to whom he spoke, visualized the Saint coming to his aid. In Kelson’s dreamlike state, fully submerged in his own trance, the ghost of the saint seemed to step outside the stone figure and came to his aid. When he fought war to regain his thrown after returning from the adventure that almost took his life for some months. It was the image of St Camber he vowed to for protection that appeared before his enemy in a form of apparition. He defeated his enemy through his commitment to the image of St Camber (Kurtz, 1986: 380 – 425).

Europeans accept the use of images and portraits to keep memories of loved ones. Diane Gaston gave an example of how in the house of nobles in Europe, a gallery would contain portraits of ancestors stretching back to the sixteenth century. Through these portraits, the young people will know the ancestors whose blood flowed in their veins (Gaston, 2012: 158). Sacred furnishings, images, shrines and works of arts are ornaments in God’s creation. Sacred images, idols, statues were venerated to imbue them with the spirit of sacred art and of the sacred divine worship. These objects, statues, images and idols which govern external things in sacred worship are helpful to preserve monuments, heritages and history of times, cherished as doll but not in themselves, worshipped in some culture.

4.4. Image Making in Social Context

The Newspapers often publish images of fashion print referred to as alluring. Women dressed like a statue of Aphrodite. Women do not deliberately dress to be alluring (Gaston, 2012: 227). The purpose is fashion among the social class. Images also serve as artefacts in the cultural environment, Artefacts are of different kinds and serve different purposes; religious, archaeological and sociological. In the religious perspective, Genesis 1:26 account says, ‘God created man in his image’. Anthony Erhueh emphasized this in his article on Image of God in man referred to as ‘Imago Dei’ in Latin language. His idea was that God is the father of all mankind, therefore all peoples are brothers and sisters. His view was that from Imago Dei idea, Christians can dialogue with traditional religion in the area of “Ancestral Veneration”, in which he pointed out Urhobo belief in immortality of the human soul. Ancestral veneration is the honour given to the deceased ancestors in Africa. This idea of veneration is somehow international because such culture is practised by the Chinese and Japanese who took rice to the grave of their loved ones. Many other cultures burn a light for their dead to kindle the hope of future life (Erhueh, 1987: 227).

The next image emphasized by Erhueh was emblems kept from generation to generation of father- ancestors (Esemo) and Mother- ancestors (Iniemo) in Urhobo tradition (Erhueh, 1987: 255).  These emblems kept the memories of these ancestors life among their kinsmen.

African ancient cultures have come alive through the discoveries of archaeologists who study the material remains of those cultures in many nations. Those remains may be such simple things as broken pottery, buildings and excavations that took place in some places (Tullock 1996:13). Monsignor Joseph J. Omesa reported on the giving of Holy Cross Cathedral in Benin City the name “Holy Cross”, in his view a huge metal cross was dug up in the site when the foundation of the church was being laid in 1926. Although the church was formerly opened on the feast of the ‘Exaltation of the Holy Cross’, the discovered crucifix motivated or automatically decided the choice of the name. This image was a pointer to the fact that the Portuguese Missionaries were in Benin in the 15th-17th centuries (Omesa, 1988).

The Edo people did not have a clear vision of the immanence of God (Osanobuwa) until the advent of the Portuguese Catholic priests in 1486. The European Catholic priests introduced Christianity at this period, although the Edo people did not accept the faith, but the seed they sow left some prints in their minds. The departure of the European priests lead to the Edo people establishing what is currently known as ‘Aruosa Church’. Aruosa God’s shrine and the Eye of God symbol have been and remained an image which draws the Oba and all his subjects to the belief in the Supreme Being. The modern Aruosa church was a ruin building renovated by the Oba of Benin, Akenzua, the second in the 1940s. He rebuilt the house of worship on Akpakpava road in 1945 and called it a cathedral. The Edo traditionalists seek the face of God at this cathedral (Ogbebo 2006: 13-18).

Sociological image features in the use of coral crowns and coronets in urban festivals and pageantry in royal houses especially in Benin City. Even in the villages certain elders who attain high ranks in Edo society wear coral beads. Beads are as old in Africa as in anywhere else in the world. They have appeared in the archaeological record of African societies. The Nok culture of the first millennium B.C. boasts of stone beads of many shapes and sizes. Excavations at Igbo Ukwu have brought to light several thousand stone and glass beads of fine quality and shape, found among the grave goods of the divine kings of Nri in Igboland from the ninth century AD. The beads were used in conjunction with bronze sculptures to beautify houses, and as regalia to adorn the kings. The belief of the ancient people was that necklaces and embellishments are supposed to possess the magic and force commonly attributed to coral (Obichere, 1981: 48 – 49).

Visual arts are universally accepted as a means of beautifying cities and centers. Portraits of well known figures are displayed in places of importance to remind the young of the men of old. They serve as monuments and stories are attached of the contributions of the dead heroes. The leaders pay homage to such persons, and some have been raised to the position of deities, called upon to assist the living with prayer. Visual arts contribute to nation building through its function as means of beautifying towns.

 

Conclusion

Africa has rich cultural heritage, visual sculpture, painting, potteries, portraits, and statues portraying the good image of nations. Images, portraits, and statues are art objects of memorial worship, festivals and ceremonies all over the world. Magical power are sometimes attributed to these objects, offering of sacrifices at the foot of the image defy the beauty of the sculpture. Deification and planting of images at shrines began as elders became ancestors, and ancestors were represented in wood in such a way to look like the bough of a tree and they stayed in the people’s shrines. There were supplications at the shrine to influence the supernatural forces in contact with the spirits that possess superior power (Eze, 2010: 50).

In this paper, it was discovered that statues, images and idols which govern external things in sacred worship are helpful to preserve monuments, heritages and history of times. The positive aspects of images are: first, images appear in the dailies promoting beauty, celebrities and show actors. Second, pictures of deceased loved ones are kept to remind the living of their memories. Third, statues, portraits are kept in shrines or archives where they can be venerated. Forth, the government of a country at national and local level keep portraits of some outstanding figures for heroic purpose. Fifth, images and portraits serve different purposes: personal and family remembrance, concentration at worship and historical memory. Finally, on social level, portraits and images are erected to honour certain individuals as heros and heroines. Portraits and statues are common on the streets of Benin City, where ancient figures such as ‘Emota’ of Oba market, of ‘FESTAC 1977’ still stand. Moreover, the state and local government erect statues to honour and immortalise some deceased persons who contributed to humanity at different capacities, an example of such persons was George Idah, who was murdered as a Local Government chairman around 1991.

In the Bible personal imagery was used to speak about God. God was spoken of in human images as being like a person: God as king, Lord, father, shepherd and potter. These images were simply metaphors, because God was none of these images. When a man take these human metaphors literally, he generate a way of seeing God commonly called “supernatural theism” (Nash, 2001: 165).

 

References

Aisien E. 2011, “Iwu”, The Body Markings of the Edo People. Benin City, Aisien publishers, p. 1- 21.

Arinze F. A. 2009, Sacrifice in Ibo Religion. Ibadan, University press, p. 71.

Awolalu J.O. & Dopamu P. A. 1979, West African Traditional Religion. Ibadan, Onibanje press and Book Industries Nig. Ltd. p. 19.

Aylward S. 1975, African Christian Theology: Adaptation or Incarnation. London, Geoffrey Chapman. p. 26.

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THE RELEVANCE OF FRANCOPHONE ORAL LITERATURE & CULTURE TO THE EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIAN YOUTHS

 

VICTORIA A. ADEFARASIN

Department of French Language,

College of Humanities Tai Solarin University

of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria.

 

Abstract

There is a gradual awareness that the global problems we face today range from youth disorientation, juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, mental disorders, terrorism, child abuse, socio-cultural environmental problems, the degeneration of the situation of human rights violation and crisis of cultural identity are direct consequences of the inadequate recognition of culture in national policies, therefore, oral tradition is an excellent source for the study of African past because it is a reliable testimony and regulator of a society. It is the only method of providing necessary reliable documents for a true understanding of pre-industrial population, since oral tradition now has a place in the repertory of historical sources, then how can one preserve its status quo and make it acceptable to Nigerian youths home and in the Diaspora. What is imperative at the moment is to engage in the kind of arts and politics that will emancipate Nigerian youths so that Nigeria can formulate its own rules. This paper examined the concept of oral literature; analyse the social relevance to Nigerian students, sets in motion a new cultural awakening and cultural awareness to the younger generation. Lastly it examines the practical approach of teaching francophone oral literature to Nigerian youths.

Key words: oral tradition, youths, culture, francophone. Countries, literature

Résumé

Il   existe  une   conscience  progressive    sur le fait que  les  problèmes    globaux    que   nous  affrontons   aujourd’hui   incluent   la  désorientation   de  la jeunesse, la   délinquance   juvénile,   une  passion inassouvie  pour  les   drogues, le  mauvais fonctionnement   de la   capacité   mentale, le  terrorisme,  l’abus des enfants,  les  problèmes   qui  touchent  à l’ambiance  socioculturelle, l’empirement de l’abus  des   droits   de l’homme  et la  crise inhérente à l’identité   culturelle  sont   apparemment les  conséquences  directes du manque de la reconnaissance   suffisante   de  la culture  dans  la politique   nationale. Ainsi, la  tradition orale reste  une  source  excellente   qui assure  l’étude   du passé  de l’Afrique.   Ceci s’impose   car  elle est toujours un grand témoin pour  une bonne compréhension  de  la  population préindustrielle. Ce travail encourage l’acceptation, surtout chez les jeunes vivant sur le continent de même que ceux vivant à l’étranger. Ce qui est à prioriser ce sont des activités d’arts et politiques qui garantissent la liberté des jeunes nigérians. Cet article a  traité   du  concept  de littérature  orale et  a examiné son importance   sociale chez les étudiants  nigérians.  Il invite à un  nouvel  éveil  culturel   et  à une  conscience   culturelle   par  rapport  à la nouvelle  génération qui nous succède.

Mots  clés : La tradition  orale, les jeunes, la  culture,  des  pays  francophones, la  littérature.

 

Introduction

African oral literature is an opportunity for recounting the achievement of our ancestors, their contemporaries and their invaluable contributions to the enrichment of world thought and ideas to white men, Africans are sub-humans and genetically inferior to other races. But through oral literature, Africans have presented to the whole world their history, philosophy and artistic aspirations. They are not daft as expressed by the white instead non-literate African societies still see the oral mode as a viable context for imaginative self-expression. Some items are sung, others are spoken in narrative form others are simply uttered on special occasions. African oral literature serves to teach morals that are contained in a number of stories aimed especially at the younger generation since they have not acquired much experience or knowledge of the world. With all the rapidly changing conditions of today, francophone oral literature is in great danger of getting lost for ever unless something urgent is done to remedy the situation. Urban factors such as radio, telephone, television, internet, films politics and money now drive people away from their tradition ways of sitting down in the evening after a day’s work narrating stories or instructing the young ones, as more and more of the older generations die, we get people who are not as knowledgeable about African wisdom, life and customs as many in former generations. Part of the reasons lies in the fact that there is now a changing economy and people’s energies for creative work are spent trying to make ends meet or adjusting to urban life.

 

  1. 1. CONCEPT OF AFRICAN ORAL LITERATURE

Akporobaro (200:29) defines oral literature as the heritage of imaginative verbal creations, stories, folk beliefs and songs of pre-literate societies which have been evolved and passed on through the spoken word from one generation to another. Literature need not to be what is written or spoken which are artistically projected, the collections of oral compositions, recitations and performances of high artistic merit which are products of the creative use of imagination by artists of the spoken word in pre-literate communities. Such works are composed mentally by illiterate raconteurs, stored in the memory and then spoken, recited, chanted or sung on specific occasions. They are works which appeal to our aesthetic imagination and are available for committal to writing. These spoken performances deserve to be recognized as part of literature. No wonder, the Malian philosopher, Hampate Bâ states that in Africa, “adying old man is a library set ablaze”. African culture is traditionally oral and the literature streams from this orality in the form of epics, folklores, songs and others transmitted by word of mouth from one generation to another. Hampate Bâ’s metaphor literature “burning library” underscores both the limitations of oral culture and the urgent need to retrieve as much of the folklore as possible for study and preservation before its aged custodians die with their vast knowledge. Every society has its literature which stems from their experience as individuals thus literature is very vital to any group of people. Writings of a particular time or country and writings on a particular subject matter are also called literature. Chronologically, oral literature came first, it is widely known and lived by the African masses.

Simpson (1995:115) describes African oral literature as vital and ubiquitous in each community’s language. Despite all the frustrations from various quarters, oral art is waxing stronger in black world. Without oral traditions, one would hardly know about the past or large parts of the world. Written art cannot possibly subsist without the speaking art. African oral literature is the historical and geographical shadow of our people. It means that tribal or national wisdom, knowledge, history and non-material culture, were conveyed orally.

The term oral literature covers many items, since in illiterate societies nearly every aspect of human knowledge is disseminated orally. In oral literature, there is a conscious effort on the part of writers to underline the beauty of their oral traditions. This is most manifest in stylistic devices, the type of characters used, the choice of narrative techniques and preference for describing traditional objects that indulge their fancy. African literature consists of a body of creative work in different languages and various genres ranging from oral literature to literature written in colonial languages. Oral literature refers to creative texts such as stories, dramas, histories, myths, songs, proverbs and other expressions that appeal to our imagination and emotions. It simply means literature delivered by word of mouth and serves to remind the whole communities of their past and the precedents for their customs and traditions.

Oral literature was a tool for African writers as Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Sembene Ousmane, Camara Laye, Mongo Bèti, Ahmadu Kourouma, Ngugi Wa Thiogo, Okot P’Bitex. Most of them have common themes like racial discrimination, injustice, the clash between indigenous and colonial culture, condemnation of European subjugation, pride in African culture and hope for African’s independence future.

African oral literature was used as a vehicle to express nascent nationalist feelings. It not only denounced colonialism but proudly asserted the validity of African cultures which the colonialist wanted to destroy. Much of the value and importance of African oral literature resides in its ability to serve the creative and humanistic needs of all including the lettered and the none lettered as it is delivered by word of mouth.

It is very useful for examining the cultural relationship between orality and literacy and is highly critical of the society. African oral literature is usually orature consisting of proverbs, epics, stories and folklore passed on by spoken word: hence the saying “in Africa, when an old man dies it is a library that burns” (Karim, 1992). He claims that African oral literature belongs to a whole group of people and that it is concerned with the survival of the community. Furthermore, he says it is used as an enlightenment too to help people understand the importance of sticking together as a society while also serving a didactic purpose in the folktales since they always teach a lesson in the end. African oral literature improved the lives and moral values of the people, which is necessary for development. In Yoruba land for example, (Adeniyi, 2004) states that the spirit of obedience, respect and humility to the elders and constituted authority is greatly valued.

In Hausa custom, a lot of cultural values on birth, death, religion, crafts, occupation, sports, superstition are easily deduced. Their proverb contains a lot of philosophy and wisdom that are time proven and guide the society to posterity (Traore, 1997). The traditional pattern of lifelong education in Africa is composed mainly of oral literature, are local myths, proverbs, wise sayings, riddles (Owhotu, 1986).

The basis of literature is the traditional folktale which is an embodiment of traditional life and personality. Francophone oral literature was established in Africa as a result of colonialism. French colonial education and the policy of assimilation imposed and developed French language and civilization at the expense of the indigenous languages of the former French colonies in Africa.

Therefore, French-speaking African writers did not know their native languages at the school and were not formally taught in their mother tongue. But in Nigeria, we find a substantial dose of a very large number of the writers. In African oral literature, there is conscious effort of the part of writers to underline the beauty of their oral traditions. This is most manifest in stylistic devises, the type of  characters of used , the choice of narrative techniques & preference for describing traditional object that indulge their fancy.

 

  1. 2. ORAL TRADITIONS IN FRANCOPHONE NOVELS

The village affords writers the opportunity of delving into the mysterious world of their ancestors. In Ville Cruelle (wicked city) of Eza Boto, les contes d’Amadou  Koumba (Tales of Amadou Kounba) of  Birago Diop, Trois Pretendants … Un Mari de Guillaume Oyono Mbia, the village is depicted as the natural home of custodians of tradition such as the griot and the traditional healer. In his depiction of the village, Camara Laye draws our attention to symbolic objects like potions, amulets against diseases, charms that keep evil spirits away and the sacred snake which is the mystery behind the success of the artisan depicted in L’Enfant Noir (the dark child). The snake is a guiding spirit representing the unbreakable link between the living and the dead, a recurrent theme in African literature. The animal not only has the capacity to give fore knowledge of events to its protégé, it has also a decisive role in picking the heir to the family through nocturnal communion with the elect. In Ville Cruelle (Wicked City) Banda describes the extent to which the dead can go to assist people they love. According to him, the dead may appear to their beloved ones in dreams to give warnings against impending dangers and clues to strange problems. Banda who remained single for inability to pay the dowry of the girl he loved, found on a deceased the sum of 15,000 Francs, which was a lot more than what he really needed. Banda implicitly interpreted the incident as the concern of his ancestors for his well-being.

2.1.The griot

The griot or praise-singer is a roving oral poet, who reproduces legendary events, fables and other aspects of oral history. He is very often feared, respected and frequently consulted by traditional elders. In Climbié, Dadiers writes that praise – singers are people who are “happy to please people, happy above all to prove that despite the cinema and the gramophone, the people remained loyal to them”. According to the writer, the praise singers are there “to gladden a company to maintain tradition, to stimulate again the vitalizing fluids of the past. (Dadier 1971:104). In L’Enfant Noir, Camara Laye features a praise singer who uses music and words of flattery to stir emotion. His performance creates a state of ecstasy, which keeps the spirits, against which the artisan alive till the piece of art is accomplished. Sometimes, the accompanying chant evokes powerful spirits, against which the artisan has to arm himself. The griot is the very son of the soil of ancient Africa and custodian of historical traditions. Griots are artists who chant, epics and legends are veritable works of art. They also sustain the interest of the listeners through their narrative skills and inventiveness. Praise singers help to preserve African epics, for their performances are usually about a past that needs to be preserved. Their performances deal with history, warfare and war heroes on their achievements. One of the most popular epic Soundjata Keita who founded the empire of Mali. Le maître de la parole is a reproduction of oral history. It relates war events (the battle of Kirina), the reign of kings (King of Sosso), traditional festivals, the prediction of oracles and stories  pertinent to totemism, divination, magic, traditional consummation of marriage, traditional honour for the virgin. The book gives a greater insight into the role and attribute of the griot, the means by which performance outstanding memory is developed and etiquette to be observed (mode of dressing, gifts to be presented) by approaching him for information.

2.2.Folklore

The study of folklore in Africa has taken the shape of the collection and the recording of folkore materials in order that the oral traditions may not disappear with the rise of literacy Oyegoke (1997). As Okpe who (1990) has argued, the centrality of performance at the level of orality is an inescapable fact. On this same point, Iyasere’s observation seems relevant (1980:170) when he says:

In keeping with traditional emphasis on creativity in all artistic endeavours, the critical evaluation was considered a creative act, artistic performance. No matter how insightful or imaginative a critic might be, if he lacked the art of theatrical rendition, verbal dexterity and specifically, the mastery of the rhetorical techniques of delivery, he would hardly find an audience, of it’s dancing with irregular steps.

One of the prominent features of African writings is the folklore techniques which incorporates music. Musical instruments such as kora (harp) the balafong (the xylophone) and the khalarm (small guitar) are commonly used in Senghor’s poetry to dictate the pace of performance and enhance poetic elegance. The public appearance of the king in Le Regard du roi (The Radiance of the king) and circumcision in L’Enfant Noir (the dark child) are graced with music and dance. In Un piège sans fin (Endless trap) Bhely Quenum inserts some fun songs, some of them translated into French for maximum effect. Awa’s song of appeal in Le pagne Noir recalls similar songs of appeal like that of the dog which hid its mother in heaven in order to receive nourishment from her in time of want. Johnson (1990:222). The chants are not only intended for breaking the monotony of the narration and reinforcing poetic elegance, they are also used for initiating audience participation to retain the dramatic nature of the source. When audience participation is implied, only the refrains of the original songs are used. An example is the song in honour of Sogolon’s future husband, which is repeated by the assembled guests.

2.3.Proverbs

Proverbs are distilled sources of knowledge of past generations. According to Emmanuel Obiechina (1975:153), proverbs are the kernel which contains the wisdom of the traditional people. They are philosophical and moral expositions shrunk to a few words, and they form a mnemonic device in societies in which everything worth knowing and relevant to everyday life has to be committed to memory. Proverbs are equally significant features and are, in fact very numerous in African novels and drama. Their aim may be ascribed to the African belief that proverbs are the essence of discourse. According to the Yoruba, when discourse begins to drag, it must be revitalized with appropriate proverbs. In francophone oral literature, proverbs are either loosely translated or adapted to specific contexts. Sometimes, they are formally explained wisdom of the elders, Assemien is informed in Assiemien Dehyle.

Quand la jeune tortue a perdu son chemin, elle retourne sur ses pas pour demander conseil aux vieilles.

(When a young tortoise has missed the road, it must go back to older ones for advice)

  1. 3. BEAUTY IN FRANCOPHONE ORAL TRADITIONS

Francophone oral traditions are interesting not only because of their potency for analogy and vivid illustration, they also because they evoke equivalents in the specific cultures of readers thereby facilitating the perception of affinities and divergences in Africa modes of expression. E.g. Totems are commonly used by African writers as symbols of performance and integrity. Totemism also underlines the belief in the mystical communism between an animal or a plant species and a special group to which the consumption of the toteme object may be a taboo. Geomancy is another traditional practice found in most African literary works of art. The only difference in the pertinent texts is the types of instruments used and the modes of integration. E.g. Yoruba Ifa priests use 16 sacred nuts for Ifa divination as documented by Prof. Wande Abimbola (1975) while Malinke geomancers use 30 stones as we find in Camara Laye’s Le Maitre de la parole Traditional Africans believe in the predictions of the sage and would under no circumstances undertake an important enterprise without consulting one. There is a remarkable similarity in the disposition of African deities. Ogun and Sango in Une Piège Sans fin and N’Tomo in Noces Sacrées (Sacred honeymoon).These gods are portrayed as materialistic and vindicative forces, which chastise those who defy them and grant the requests of those who offer sacrifices. Another common feature is circumlocution or round – about expression. In African discourse, circumlocution is very often a manifestation of reverence for important personalities. In Yoruba land for example, an Oba is never pronounced dead. He is often said to have ascended through ceiling or to have gone to join his ancestors. In Dadier’s Assiemen Dehyle the Agni equivalent is “the tree is broken” similarly the transition of an influential person is often compared to the fall of an elephant. Sometimes, it is the animal symbol of an Oba that is used for breaking the news of his death. For example people would say in respect of the Oni of Ife, the most elevated of the Obas of the Yoruba: “the leopard is gone”. The use of animal symbols, which evoke the rule is qualities, was very fashionable in Benin Republic. Thus in literary discourse, such rulers may be alluded to by using their symbols, notably the buffalo for Ghezo, the chameleon for Akaba.

  1. 4. LITERATURE AND CULTURE

Generally speaking culture refers to the totality of people’s way of life. As Bamikunle (1999:52) put it, “each work of art, literature finds inspiration in the historic social realities in which the author finds himself” from the above, it is clear that the literary artist does not operate in vacuum, he derives his preoccupation from culture Ubioworo and al (2008:136) Francophone oral literature has drawn inspiration from African culture.

Closely tied to the above is the fact that the literary artist animates culture thereby giving the people a new vision of life. Obiechina (1978:34) submits that it is obvious that the West African writer cannot write without strong commitment and propaganda motive if he is to contribute to the rehabilitation of the traditional culture”. He captured graphically the relationship between literature and culture. One cannot but agree with Obiechina who also noted that the West African writer bases his authority point for an art which is “functional and utilitarian as well as producing aesthetic pleasure”. In addition, literature, whether oral or written, promotes cultural continuity.

4.1. Culture

It is “the whole complex of distinctive, spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group. It includes not only arts and letters, but also mode of life, the fundamental rights, traditions and beliefs.” This for a long time while rather definition is adopted from UNESCO’s 1982 declaration on culture. It implies that culture is not just a way of life as has been held in sociological circles for a long time while rather it is that which makes human beings distinct. What this means in essence is that culture fulfilment of its role in the society must enable human beings achieve or realize their difference or uniqueness. As his Excellency Late Poet and Writer, President Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal had observed on the eve of the cultural festival “no problem is more important for black culture. Black people are engaged in discussing and often disagreeing about negritude or the African personality. He asks “what is culture”. To define it, it will be necessary to compare it with civilization.

“Civilization” is the combination of facts and social phenomena, structures and values which characterize any given society. “Culture” is within the framework of this “civilization” the combination of its values; in one word, its spirit. It follows from this, that each race, and ethnic group, each nation indeed each society has its own values. Because there is a black race and a black ethnic group, there is similarly a black civilization and a black culture.

The Arabs are divided on practically every issue except that which really matters, that is culture Arabness. It is exactly this faith which they have in their culture that gives Arabs their strength and their advantage over us the black” (Senghor 1877:13).

He explains further that “Black culture is a set of values or originating from and original to blacks as is expressed in their different national societies. “Our culture is so strong that it is expressed even in the way we walk, laugh or cry: the German Philosopher, Herman Von Keyserling used to say that the Americans dance, walk and laugh like the blacks” Ibid. President Senghor asks

“what are these original values that make up black culture? They are fundamentally the sense of communion between the visible and the invisible, man, nature and God: the sense of analogical images which expressed this communion and finally the sense of rhythm.”

All countries whether they are developed or developing now agree that their essential problem is to ensure their development through a national coherent and effective plan. All economists equally agreed that from start to finish of any development plan, there is man himself, with values, his culture. It is man supported by his values who produces the plan and this plan has as its objectives the development of man, that is to say, development of all his facilities in life in relation to the values of National culture (Akinola 2009:5).

Late president Senghor’s strong espousal of the potency of culture is to change, redefine, propel a people, an ethnic group and a race to higher heights. Most of these people are black human right crusaders and indeed actors and actresses of African descent who have taken Africa to greater heights are Ali Mazrui, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Mariam Makeba, Nelson Mandela, Cyprian Ekwensi, Bob Marley, Ngugi  Wa Thiongo, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi  Azikwe, Sembene Ousmane, Ahmadou Kourouma Leopold, Sedar Senghor, Opral Benson, Ayi Kweh Armah and several other living and not living “prophets of the black and African culture deserve our eternal gratitude.

  1. 5. FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST THE GROWTH OF FRANCOPHONE ORAL LITERATURE

Over the years, there has been a perceptible decline in the quality of education in Nigeria. The Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP), bad policy and governance have adversely affected higher education, facilities in all levels are in a state of disrepair and staff morale has been very low. University education generally is in a poor state and scholarship award has declined. It is self evident that there is a need to revamp the system. Moreover, Nigerian society is now marked by a disappearing reading culture which itself seems symptomatic of an ailing intellectual culture. Nigerian students are no-where to be found in terms of reading culture compared to their counterparts outside Nigeria. Most of them engage in unprofitable activities that would not take them to new grounds except prison yard.

They are mostly found at internet centers engaging in yahoo frauds, prostitutions; terrorism has eaten deep into the bone and marrow of Nigerian youths. The case of Farouk  Abdul Murtalab and host of terrible acts. Thus a review of a problem of reading may be a reliable barometer of the intellectual worth of a society at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of the educational system. Lekan  Oyegoke in his work “riddle of literate and mounting illiteracy in Nigeria” says that Nigerian youths are the main victims of a deleterious social order.

Respectful and respectable role models seem few and far between. As the roll-call of intellectuals and other achievers national and international icons is progressively diminished by age and passing the country’s youths thus find themselves at the mercy of hacks, pseudo-intellectual and imposters. He says further that with a general erosion of positive values and a comprehensive take-over of national life by political and economic sharks on persons, the youths inherit a culture of shallowness, diabolism and violence. So ill-motivated, the ideal youthful mind that should have regaled and refined itself on good books turns to cultism and the occult for excitement.

A society that allows its youthful mind to be converted into the devils’ workshop is doomed and has no decent future to talk about Eyitayo Aloh, writing on issue on world bank quotes Nigerian author Phebean Ogundipe as saying: “a mind that does not read is a dead mind and a life without books is not worth living” (Aloh, 2004:9).

Therefore we have to get francophone oral literature back into our cultural diets. It must be included to the school curriculum and taught to pupils with vigour and enthusiasm at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Moreover, the mind of the undergraduates is steadily becoming a theatre and spring board of violence, diabolism and murder and a threat to the wider society. This danger can be averted by getting the students’ mind busy absorbing knowledge and profitable skills through increased contact with books and journals and leaving the students little time in which to engage in negative anti-life pass- times (Oyegoke, 1997).

  1. 6. SOCIAL RELEVANCE OF FRANCOPHONE ORAL LITERATURE

Chamber’s Twentieth Century Dictionary defines “literature’ as the art of composition in prose and verse. This art began as an oral form such as heroic poetry, folktale, the traditional ballad (also known as popular ballad and folk ballad) in every culture before the advent of literacy. The oral art form or orature should be as old as man and woman;  it has sought to enlarge the mind over ages. The ability to read and write and the invention of the printing press in the middle Ages further transformed the capacity of the human mind to enlarge itself with information and knowledge.

Research has continued to unearth new folkloric materials as oral literature; scholars endeavour to record the oral art forms for the purpose of their preservation for posterity. Thus, literature reminds us of our humanity or we risk getting so carried away by the many benefits of science and technology that we begin to operate like robots, the mindless machines. The significance of African folktale in the upbringing of children in Africa is that it explores the moral lessons drawable from some popular tales among the francophone and Nigerians. It may be observed that the absence of this particular medium of instruction is a great loss to our educational system in Nigeria. A return to culture is imperative and must not be seen as a return to the past but rather as an appreciation of the resources of the past and their contributions to the present as well as our imaginative response to such contributions in the light of our present problems.

This literature is meant to reform Nigerian Youths. To correct some mistakes committed by old African writers, African youths should imbibe their culture in all facets of life. The use of oral traditions enables writers to expand their readership and enlist the interest of lower cadres of readers. Language is used as a means of communicating ideas, opinions and facts for better understanding in every society.

No society has a better way of communicating facts without the instrumentality of language. One of the roles of literature is to correct the ills of the society by exposing and correcting the ignorance of the populace. In addition, Africa as a continent has experienced setbacks as a result of prolonged colonization, slavery and oppression. Africa has been described by writers as continent of corrupt people. Perhaps this is why governments at all levels fail to support the drive to assist in the downtrend against the reading habits as experienced in our higher institutions of learning in order not to agitate the minds of youth against corrupt leaders.

This study seeks to awaken individuals to be voracious in reading and writing literary texts so as to checkmate and denounce corrupt practices in Africa for proper development. Francophone oral literature and culture is used to examine the collective ingenuity, creativity, cultural and political experience of the peoples of African descendants and institutions. During this period, Africans ponder on the challenge of meaningfully improving the African personality such that his equality with other races will transcend lip service and patronage. It is used to catalogue African  achievements as well as reecho the need to see Africans as having made and are still making significant contributions to global growth and development. Africans are also urged to continually explore common grounds, for their individual and collective development.

Francophone oral literature was particularly designed to showcase the vitality and richness of African culture, values and ethos. Children are told stories with morals to caution about an immediate act of disobedience, bravery to encourage on a mission or assignment and history to educate and inculcate values. Stories are meant to inculcate morality in young ones, they also entertain in fact, some of them may serve dual purposes of education and amusement.

The concern of the narrator in these stories is to influence children to conform to the norms of the society while at the same time reminding adults of their responsibilities. Evil is contrasted with good in this category as in all cases the good emerging the winner. The reward of being bad is always a punishment. Francophone African stories are about bravery in order to give people especially children a sense of pride and belonging.  Furthermore, such stories teach children that there is a reward for bravery and that they should not shy away from responsibilities. Stories about endurance, challenges and selflessness are commonly told for both didactic and entertainment purposes. Again it takes extra courage to save and serve the whole community, the input of those normally looked down upon could be critical and sound, therefore people’s views and ideas should not be suppressed. Apart from its aesthetic role, francophone oral literature teaches the young about the major social values of life. Stories and proverbs are used to teach the lessons of honesty, kindness, hard work, helpfulness, good faith, obedience and endurance.

Proverbs are used by elders to instruct other elders about specific codes of behaviour and to remind listeners of age-long wisdom and truth. Francophone African creative writers take pride in exploring their oral traditions as a step in the process of desalienation to mental decolonization and to bring Africans closer to their roots, thus filling a gap created by their educational upbringing. Elements of oral traditions provide variety and extend the scope of readership. It gives room for audience participation. The use of oral tradition in francophone writings promotes cultural awareness and it provides useful data for historians, ethnographers and anthropologists.

Oral tradition reveals the inherent beauty of Africa languages and assists readers to appreciate the complexity of these languages. The need for francophone literature to flow into the cosmopolitan mainstream of world literary writings has given birth to oral traditions in some francophone novels. The image of African tradition could be well given projected through image and correct the facilities and half truths written about Africa and her people. For the vast majority of pre-literate societies oral traditions in the form of legends, myths, proverbs, stories have provided a means for recording the events of the past.

Oral traditions are also artistic modes of communication in which there is a dialectical and play between fact and fictions, between reality and myth. Oral traditions entail a high degree of creativity and use of imagination. They are literary artistic forms. Oral traditions in their metaphors and symbols make historical facts vivid, concrete and comprehensible.

African oral traditions are rich tapestry of images that present simultaneously diversified perspectives of the past events, characters and episodes. Mythical narratives, legends, myths, personal poems, lyrics and testimonies from the core of African oral tradition. The beauty and source of the value of oral traditions is that they present diverse view points which together can give a total comprehensive picture close to the original facts or state of affairs long forgotten.

The lyrics, folktales, myths, proverbs and incantations have been an integral part of the cultural traditions and institutions of human development in Africa. African people expressed their worldview, culture, history, philosophy and artistic aspirations through these forms. They have constructed their social historical experiences and sense of being.

  1. 7. IMPORTANCE OF FRANCOPHONE ORAL TRADITION

Among other oral littérature accross the world, francophone oral littérature is one of the important types that it pleases me to enumerat it values here.

  • It transmits culture and knowledge ;
  • It expresses human thoughts and emotions;
  • Literary creativity in the form of dance, story telling, drumming and chants recitations have been part of the primal vision and social life of African people irrespective of their stage in human economic and political development.

Literature is well articulated by Moody (1981:81-92) among others, has attested that

“African oral literature is proficient in fostering broadmindedness, tolerance, understanding, humanistic values of respect for human rights, dignity, integrity, tolerance, understanding, respect and freedom”.

The potentials of francophone oral literature are to promote cultural linkage and integration is well documented (Moody, 1981, Nwosu, 1986, Opara, 1989).

  • It breaks the barrier among francophone and anglophone peoples and cultures and plays a unifying role;
  • It helps to preserve and transmit cultural values and makes for their further development due to its oral nature;
  • It offers young leaners the chance to dialogue with different cultures, different milieus and different peoples;
  • It reengages them in the process of integration and exteriorization;
  • It teaches coping, survival and prosperity skills from the moral lesson it gives;
  • It enables the ability of the individual to reflect on his own values and attitudes as well as his personality and world view.

 

  1. 8. PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS OF TEACHING FRANCOPHONE ORAL LITERATURE TO NIGERIAN STUDENTS

In Africa, lasting and prolonged contact have undoubtedly brought about the intermixing of different kinds of civilization notably anglophone and francophone, cultures and civilizations. The effects of colonialism have polarized Africa into French-speaking and English-speaking continent. Conscious of the reality of this phenomenon on Africans and their cultures, French and English were recommended as second official languages in anglophone and francophone countries respectively, with the aim of achieving cultural understanding and all literature in French completes the process of acculturation which is characterized not only by the gradual acquisition of another culture, but also by the inevitable loss of a part of the traditional culture, leading to the creation of a new cultural phenomenon.

In this regard, it helps to achieve the global trend in language and cultural co-existence and integration leading to inter-regional understanding. Hence, Nigerian students could learn francophone cultures through the identification of French words, learn and memorize words and expressions in French and their cultural significance. They should learn their traditional songs and poems, stories and plays in French e.g.

8.1. Chanson Traditionelle

  1. i. Le baptême du bébé

Nous sommes ici pour célébrer

Le baptême du bébé.

  1. ii. Ma mère est ma gardienne

Elle m’a toujours guidé depuis  mon enfance

Elle me porte sur le dos

Ma mère je dis merci

Je dis merci à ma mère

Avec beaucoup de respect

Je ne refuse jamais rien à ma mère

Ma mère, ma mère, ma mère.

 

8.2. Poème

a)    Les jours de la Semaine

Bonjour, lundi?

Comment va mardi?

Très bien, mercredi.

Je viens de la part de jeudi

Dire à vendredi

Qu’il s’apprête samedi

Pour aller à la messe dimanche.

b)   Compose letters, poems, stories in little French based on love, respect of elders, tolerance and harmony.

c)    Act and mime French songs. e.g. Awilo Longomba.

d)   Learn and play musical elements from composed music based on francophone cultural themes.

e)    Draw, sketch and paint students’ village, objects and materials in their class and name them in French.

f)    Organize story telling in the class and encourage same at moonlight at home.

g)   Organize excursions to cultural centres such as French Village in Badagry, attend cultural festival especially at Ouidah in Benin Republic.

h)   Identify and prepare francophone dishes and their recipes such as Cousous, la bagouette (le pain) le’kenkey’ (Boules de pate) (de mais) une bouillie de mais (<<Eko>>).

i)     Read elementary French novels such as

La vie de koffi (1)

La vie de koffi (2)

Le petit villageois

Les kones

More solutions, concepts, experiences and methods could be proffered in nearest future.

  1. 9. RECOMMENDATIONS

In this paper, relevance of francophone oral literature to Nigerian students has been established. The challenge is for us to make use of our schools and cultural institutions to facilitate the reorientation of our youths and political actors to imbibe the spirit of brotherhood and service as well as cultivate a sense of commitment among other virtues of societal significance. Again, African culture has to be critically and analytically documented for posterity and the world at large. The most treasured method of reaching generations yet unborn and youths in less than three years is publication of books on cultural and socio-political activities of our forefathers and present generation of our leaders. Babawale (2007) in lessons for Nigeria makes a case for sustainable development in Nigeria through a combination of culture and politics. He notes that one reason for the chaotic political lifestyle in Nigeria is the total neglect of culture in the national life. He advocates for the use of cultural institutions like CBAAC (centre for black and African arts and civilization) to facilitate reorientation of the youths and political actors to imbibe the spirit of brotherhood and service. Moreover, agencies like CBAAC, he argues, can be engaged to organize refresher courses for key political actors who are presumed to be agents of change. He goes further to say that we should reclaim our cultural belongings and histories and then confidently move forward.

Algerian president Abdelaziz Boutifika, emphasizes the importance of culture in continental renaissance during the 2009 Pan African Festival of Algiers. Culture in all its breadth and depth, has a key role to play in fostering change in our society. According to him, culture fosters unity by striving to enhance our unique identity which is smudged by globalization and the universal development of new information technology. It will finally do so by encouraging openness to the world that is no denial of ourselves and by helping exert our influence to the world. In the absence of books, when most of the people were illiterate, history and tradition were handed on by word of mouth; therefore it is extremely important part in African life. Tam-tam is a native drum used on special occasions to pass on messages. It also gives the signal for harvesting to begin. These traditions must be conveyed to Nigerian students to know certain seasons for certain activities. Chinweizu was quoting Okotp’bek “it is important that in Africa, we should have our own culture as the dominant factor in our national culture centers and not the reverse. Take the situation at the university for example, there you have professors and lecturers who are virtually ignorant of African music and poetry and who purpose to teach these subjects, while in the countryside, you have the real masters of these subjects.

The great African dancers and singers, the carvers, the pot makers and the story tellers are in the countryside and they are kept out of our schools, universities” and he recommended “that we should breakdown the walls that surround our schools and universities and let the people who knows our culture teach our people. Let us Africanize our curriculum in a meaningful manner. Let Africans culture form the core of our curriculum and foreign culture be at the periphery” (Chinweizu 1986:196-197).

From Diop, we need to recover our ancient texts, get them, look at them, study them, learn from them and continue the traditions which they created. Oral tradition is deliberately neglected. That tradition is the oldest and most enduring tradition of literature we have on the continent of Africa. If we are going to derive any sensible and original history, theory for explaining our literary activities, these theories and ideas will have to derive from that oral tradition, the dangers of the prolonged text of this tradition are volume of literature. From such works would be enormous, concentration on minority tradition will illustrate the real tragedy. Those who are interested in oral literature should make more investigations on the oral tradition and make it available to those who are not endowed to do so. What is imperative at the moment is to engage in the kind of art and the kind of politics what will emancipate the continent and its peoples so that Africa can formulate its own rules, its own aesthetic criteria for assessing its literature. The best tribute that one can pay to literature and to the arts is to associate oneself with the struggles of the masses of the continent whose energies and thoughts produced the oral tradition and whose energies are sustaining the continent at the moment.

All the artists and writers, poets singers, musicians who want to be relevant to the present need to rescue African societies from the domination of imperialists and their “local agbero” who help them to plunder resources of the continent must be involved politically and practically in organizations that wage struggles of liberation. Artists have to be part of those movements so that whatever they create will reflect the best aspiration of the continent. The struggles of the African people are to establish a new society whose content will be socialism, a new society in which we will have centralized economies, in which the primary function of politics and economics will be to enhance the quality of life, to preserve and recreate life.

These societies are already being born in South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cameroon. Oral traditions are being produced in new media, new techniques of production, on radio, on television or on cassettes tapes which also have to do with new economic realities, new methods of producing and vitalizing this literature. Writers should go back to the roots and learn from the oral tradition of our people and to be able to infuse whatever they write with the images and mythologies which they learn from there. They should also produce means of interpretation.

Conclusion

This paper has reviewed the social relevance of francophone oral literature to the Nigerian youths. Therefore, Nigerian youths must seek earnestly total liberty and cultural freedom from all forms of juvenile delinquency; they should seek for social justice and political rights without exploitation clear and new dynamic and positive direction for our peoples all over the world. Youths of nowadays are our tomorrow’s leaders; they need urgent and sound awareness in order to become progressive leaders.

They need to seek original solutions to the problems of underdeveloped we are facing in Nigeria in particular and in Africa as a whole. We must face the challenges before us which is the inability to contribute meaningfully to the world thoughts and ideas. Many races have contributed largely to civilization through contacts, unless the black race makes its own significant contributions to civilization, our generation will continue to be pitied. Nigerian youths need mental revolution, we must break away from economic, social and mental bondage and backwardness the Europeans have subjected us to.

Let us break away from agonizing penury, misery and helplessness as our country falls into harsh neo-colonial, entrapment through globalization, economic, slavery, promoting IMF loans and the hasty and dubious privatization of the commanding heights of the national economies which belong to the citizens. There are Fawehinmi, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, a world statesman, a man of great heart and foresight, a leader of leaders. We must as well remember that black heroes such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, pioneer African revolutionary, a man of positive action and uncompromising integrity, Sekou Toure of Guinea, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania let the black youths of world spearhead the mental revolution and then seriously re-examine our stand and refuse to become white imitators.

 

Références

Adeniyi A. 2004, “KokumoomoodoAgba”. Modakeke, Capital publishers

Akinola 2009, “A Narrative on Festac ‘77” In The inquirer CBAAC, Lagos.

Akporobaro F.B. 2006 “African Oral literature”. Lagos, Princeton Publishing Company.

Babawale T. 2007, “Culture, Politics and Sustainable development: Lessons for Nigeria” (CBAAC occasional Monograph,) 4th edition, Lagos, Concept Publications.

Bamikunle A. 1991, “Literature as a Historical Process in Africa.” A study of Tenure.

Chinweizu 1986, “Literature, Culture and National Development” in Proceedings of the International Symposium on African Literatures. Lagos, CBAAC.

Dadié B. 1971, AssiemenDehyle. Chapman.

Iyasere S. 1980, “African Oral Tradition – Criticism as performance: A ritual” African Literature. Today No.11.

Johnson S. (1990), “Oral Traditions in African Literature in French” in oral Tradition and oral history in Africa and the Diaspora: theory and practice”. Edited by E.J Alagoa.CBAAC.

Moody H.L.B. 1981, “The Teaching of Literature”. Essex: Longman.

Nwosu S.N. 1989, “Educating for Values”. Ibadan, Ibadan University Press.

Obiechina E.N. 1978, “Cultural Nationalism in Modern Africa Creative Literature” African Literature Today, Vol. 1,2,3,4.

Opera C.C 1989, “Humanistic Values Of Education Through Literature: Prospects For National Development” In Journal of Professional Educators. (JDPED) Special No. 1 Jan.

Owhotu V.B 1986, “Modernity, Values in Education and for an Integrative Oral Literature Curriculum in Schools” Alvan School Education Journal. A journal of Research and Studies in Education.Vol. II No.… p. 48-54.

Oyegoke L. 1997, “Theory in African Folklore: What Future?’ In Journal of Yoruba Folklore.Vol.1.

Senghor S.  1977, “Black Culture”. In Festac ’77. CBAAC, Lagos.

Simpson E. 1995, “the Language of Africa Literature Oral, Written and Diachronic Studies.” No.2 Lagos, A Journal of Humanistic.

Traore B. 1972, “The Black African Theatre and its Social Functions”. (Translated and with a Preface by DapoAdelugba) Ibadan University Press.

Ubioworo et al. 2008, “Towards Re-Tooling Oral Literature for the Teaching of Nigerian languages” In Journal of Nigerian Languages and Culture.Vol.10. ISSN 1595-4730.

 

 

LA REPRESENTATION PHYSIQUE DE LA GUADELOUPE ET DE LA MARTINIQUE CHEZ LES ECRIVAINS ANTILLAIS

VICTORIA. T. OTASOWIE

French Department,

School of Languages, College of Education,

Ekiadolor Benin, Benin City.

 

Résumé

Les écrivains antillais font une bonne représentation bel et bien de la beauté attirante de la Guadeloupe faisant partie du collier caraïbe et de la Martinique, une des îles antillaises ayant beaucoup de villages au bord de la mer. Dans cette présentation, l’intérêt de notre étude est de faire une représentation de deux de ces îles antillaises étant partie intégrante du Département de français d’Outre-mer (DOM-TOM), où les écrivains intellectuels antillais démontrent ὰ travers leurs œuvres la réalité physique antillaise. Nous nous servons de romans et de pièces antillaises pour présenter l’espace antillais, la nature, la douceur antillaise, les cases et les buildings et la flore et la faune.

Mots clés : Littérature, représentation, physique, écrivains antillais

Abstract

The West Indian island writers make good and attractive representation of Guadeloupe that is necklace of Caraib and Martinique, one of the islands that have many villages near the sea. In thispresentation, the interest of my study is to do a presentation of two of the West Indian islands that are integral part of the French Ultramaritime Administrative discrit and Territory (Dom-Tom), where the intellectuals writers of the west indian islands demonstrate throught their physical west indian island reality. I use West Indian island novels and theaters to present the West Indian islan space, the nature, the coolines, the houses and buldings, the flora and the fauna.

Key words: Literature, representation, physic, West Indian island writers

Introduction

Notre présentation nous aidera à considérer la réalité physique contemporaine antillaise  à travers quelques romans et pièces antillaises. Nous avons choisi ce titre compte tenu de la réalité physique qui parcourt beaucoup de ces romans et quelques-unes de ces pièces que nous avons lues.

La plupart des auteurs antillais essayent de faire une bonne représentation de leur communauté pour l’accomplissement des objectifs visés dans leurs œuvres. Les écrivains comme Maryse Condé, Aimé Césaire, Salvat Etchart, Josef Zobel, Miriam Warner-Vieyra, Daniel Thaly et beaucoup d’autres évoquent d’une manière frappante la beauté charmante de ces îles dans leurs œuvres.

La Guadeloupe fait partie du collier caraïbe. Elle est la seule île qui n’était pas baptisée “Perle des Antilles”. Elle est très belle ayant l’émeraude pour la couleur et le papillon pour la forme, ce qui lui va très bien. À en croire Saint John Perse dans Antilles, Haïti Guyane, il existe aux Antilles :

‘Palmes… ! Alors une mer plus crédule et hantée d’invisibles départs, étagée comme un ciel au-dessus des vergers, se gorgeait de fruits d’or, de poissons violets et d’oiseaux’. (p.117)

Selon Corzani Jack dans La Littérature des Antilles-Guyanes Françaises,(Tome 1), au cours de quatrième voyage de Christophe Colomb en 1502, l’île, la Martinique avait fait éclipser celles des autres petites Antilles que les Caraïbes nommaient alors “Madinina”, “l’île-aux-fleurs”. (p.36) La Martinique, une des îles antillaises a beaucoup de villages au bord de la mer. La plupart des habitants sont pêcheurs. Ils choisissent pour établir leur lieu de campement, un emplacement au bord de la mer. Il leur faut une plage de débarquement qui les aide à tirer au sec leurs pirogues.

Mokwenye Cyril remarque dans Littérature Antillaise que :

Les Antilles, il faut le rappeler sont les îles des paradoxes climatiques. D’un côté, les Antillais se vantent de la beauté du climat de leurs îles caractérisé par le soleil, la mer, les plages et les fleurs. De l’autre côté, il est indéniable que les îles antillaises sont très souvent la merci des cyclones, des rafales, des tempêtes et des volcans qui les ravagent et causent beaucoup de dégâts matériels. (p.125)

Comme le remarque Théodore Baude, Commissaire de la Martinique en 1935 ὰ l’Exposition Coloniale Internationale de Paris, cité par Corzani Jack dans La Littérature des Antilles- Guyanes Françaises (Tome 11) :

Corbeille de verdure au milieu des flots azurés de la mer des caraïbes, la Martinique est l’escale attrayante, la sentinelle avancée qui montre fièrement le drapeau de la France et qui depuis bientôt trois siècles, rappelle et personnifie le plus notre patrie dans ses régions lointaines. Les 1800 lieues qui la séparent de sa métropole n’empêchent pas son cœur de battre l’unisson de celui de la grande patrie. (p.109)

Corzani veut montrer un portrait de la population martiniquaise hospitalière et accueillante ayant l’humeur bien française, aux mœurs douces et belles avec les images pour montrer la beauté martiniquaise. Tous les intellectuels antillais ont donc pour but de démontrer à travers leurs pièces et romans leur évocation de l’espace Guadeloupéen et martiniquais. Ces écrivains font une bonne représentation de ces îles qu’ils ont tant aimées.

Saint Pierre étant le “Paris des Antilles”, la ville des plaisirs et de la joie de vivre, mais aussi et surtout la ville blanche, la cité des colons, le symbole de la présence française aux “isles” (Corzani 1978, tome 11, p.119) demeure jusqu’ὰ présent après l’anéantissement de Saint-Pierre le 8 mai 1902, la capitale de la Martinique et aussi l’âme et le cœur des Antilles.

La Martinique évoque une charmante île où d’après Daniel Thaly dans son poème Le Jardin des Tropiques :

Je suis né dans une île amoureuse du vent

Où l’air a des senteurs du sucre et de vanille

Et que berce au soleil du Tropique mouvant

Le flot tiède et bleu de la mer des Antilles. (p.103)

L’auteur nous convie à la découverte des beaux paysages de son île et sa douceur. Daniel Thaly nous convie ὰ la découverte de son île, son univers personnel et celui de sa caste. Il nous expose son frisson sensuel, cette douce euphorie des parfums “où l’air a des senteurs du sucre et de vanille” et évoque aussi des sons qui font songer au poème de Baudelaire et ceci complète avec bonheur son amour  pour son île à travers ce poème “une île amoureuse”.

Dans Le Quimboiseur l’avait dit de Myriam Warner-Vieyra, l’auteur présente le village de Zétou la protagoniste comme “un village de pêcheurs où la mer, toujours source de vie, enlevait parfois un pêcheur averti”. (p.15) Elle avoue dans l’avant- propos de ce roman cité en décrivant le village dans ces termes : “C’est une histoire qui aurait pu commencer par “il était une fois, une petite fille qui habitait un tout petit village sur une île grande comme deux noix de coco” (p.9). Il y a une comparaison de ce village de Zétou ὰ une “île grande comme deux noix de coco”.

Myriam Warner-Vieyra a beaucoup d’attachement ὰ sa terre guadeloupéenne. Elle démontre l’attirance climatique de son île ὰ travers Cocotier ayant ‘le riant de soleil’ (p.16). Elle montre la beauté de ce village de la Guadeloupe en le décrivant ainsi :

Cocotier était une petite bourgade de la Karura, quinze kilomètres environ au nord de ‘Bonne-Terre’ que nous appelions simplement ‘la ville’. Nous descendions en ville où nous remontions de la ville, et son nom importait peu, car c’est la seule que nous connaissions. Chaque habitant de notre village avait été au moins une fois dans sa vie à la ville. (p.16)

Nous voyons aussi dans le roman ὰ droite de la maison de Zétou, une immense cocoteraie qui entoure cette bourgade sur trois côtés et ce devait être ὰ l’origine de son nom Cocotier. Il faut noter aussi la beauté physique de ce village où on atteint la forêt et la montagne mystérieuse. Myriam Warner-Vieyra ὰ travers le visage de Zétou évoque le charme de la Martinique. Selon elle : “Je n’avais jamais été au sommet de cette montagne. On disait que lὰ-haut, il y avait de grandes mares d’eau bouillante et des cratères de feu” (p.20).

La rivière de Corossol, un petit village de la Martinique sert d’un endroit où vont les gens pour faire le linge. Celle-ci dépeint le charme attirant de ce beau paysage : “Notre lessive terminée, nous nous baignions, frottant nos corps avec un mélange de feuillages : patchouli, feuilles de bois d’Inde, qui laissaient notre peau toute parfumée. (p.50)

La beauté de la Martinique se montre aussi à travers sa nature très riche et féconde de sorte qu’en face de la maison de Zétou :

C’était l’infini de la mer si bleue et transparente que nous pouvions sans mettre la tête sous l’eau voir les petits poissons danser autour de nos pieds. Ici le sable était gris perle, c’était le seul côté de l’île où le sable avait cette couleur. (p.21)

Salvat Etchart dans son roman Les Nègres servent d’exemple démontre aussi son attachement à la terre martiniquaise où il relève l’attirance climatique de son île qu’il aime tant. Du point de vue climatique, la Martinique est un pays très doué. L’auteur présente la réalité physique antillaise ainsi :

La Martinique est une partie toujours chaude nuit et jour, chaude sans un instant d’indifférence, toujours ruisselante de sève et pavoisée de hampes.

C’est une terre sans hiver, sans morte-saison ; neige, froid, vents, jamais ne la trahissent. La verge est toujours en fruit. C’est une glibe franche, bonne, loyale, vaillante, rieuse, saine, qui vous mûrit vite et de bon cœur toutes vos graines ! (p.124)

Dans la Martinique, il existe un bon climat et en plus une suprême tranquillité où règne le superbe calme. La mer fraîche, la douce nuit et la belle chanson des oiseaux se côtoient en harmonie pour créer une ambiance propice pour les touristes. Le Monde tel qu’il est, un autre roman de Salvat Etchart nous présente le bon climat de la Martinique plus attirante par sa beauté. Kébren le héros principal de ce roman démontre le charme envoûtant de la Martinique en écrivant ceci :

Les rives de fleurs sont embellies par la présence des palmiers majestueux dont l’ombre donne une délicieuse fraîcheur l’air….Les oiseaux et les fleurs sont d’une beauté exceptionnelle. Je fus tellement frappé par ce spectacle merveilleux que je décidai presque de demeurer l pour le reste de mes jours… monde en beauté et en agrément. (p.33)

Les Nègres servent d’exemple du même auteur parle aussi de la beauté martiniquaise. L’auteur présente sa nature riche et féconde où dans tout le paysage et toute sa végétation, il y a l’évocation de vie et activité. Cette citation renvoie à cette affirmation :

Tu marches exprès dans le ruisseau y a des fleurs

… y a mille choses qui te firent

… C’est pas des chênes ça ?

Et les savanes bleutées, le ciel faïence, les pitons ruisselant d’odeurs vertes,

… La mer couleuvre sous le corail rouge… (p.122)

Il faut noter aussi dans Dieu nous l’a donné de Maryse Condé son amour pour la terre guadeloupéenne où il existe en grande quantité la goyave, l’herbe ὰ fer et des fleurs de pavot et d’autres herbes qui aideront ὰ la pratique de la médecine traditionnelle. Comme le remarque vieux Mendela le quimboiseur du village ὰ la femme venant le consulter : “Du thé de goyaves. Des compresses d’herbe ὰ fer… et de longs bains de fleurs de pavot”. (p.19) Nous voyons aussi l’exemple de M’man Tine, la mère de José dans La Rue Cases-nègres de Zobel Joseph. Elle prend des compresses d’herbes pour soigner sa maladie. Chaque fois, José quitte la maison pour aller chercher des herbes pour soigner la maladie de sa grand-mère. Malheureusement, il n’était pas lὰ quand celle-ci devient gravement malade. Selon lui :

Et je n’étais pas l, cette fois, pour aller chercher des feuilles au Haut-Morne ou Féral : “En bordure du jardin de Mme Jean, m’aurait dit m’man Tine, il doit y avoir du guyapana, la tige en est rouge et les feuilles vert-jaune fuselées ; c’est bon contre des refroidissements de poitrine.” (p.306)

Partout aux Antilles existent des herbes différentes pour soigner n’importe quelle maladie.

L’évocation de l’amour de la dramaturge pour sa terre se présente ici ὰ travers le visage de Maëva, la fille du quimboiseur qui s’est descendue ὰ la Ravine en écoutant la musique de l’eau. Le dialogue entre celle-ci et son père sert comme témoin ὰ ce propos :

Mendela : Où étais-tu ?…

Maëva : J’étais descendue la Ravine…

Mendela : Que faisais-tu au bord de la Ravine ?…

Maëva : Non, je l’écoutais… Elle chantait… Elle chantait comme cela… (p.20)

Cette pièce montre la musicalité de la Ravine personnifiée à travers le visage d’un être qui chante ou bien le rôle d’un oiseau qui peut aussi chanter.

Le parfum exotique des fleurs plantées autour de la maison de Dieudonné fait l’attirance de Maëva ὰ la maison de celui-ci. La beauté de fleur l’envoûte, voici la raison pour laquelle elle dit à son père qu’elle passait chez lui en allant à Saint-Anges regarder les danseurs de Laghia. Selon son explication ὰ son père, la maison de Dieudonné est au bord de la mer et son jardin est plein de tubéreuses et de roses. Le parfum de ces fleurs l’a attiré.

Un autre roman de Maryse Condé qui essaie de présenter la beauté physique de la terre guadeloupéenne s’intitule Le Cœur à rire et à chanter. Le roman décrit l’endroit où les parents de l’auteur descendent pour goûter l’air frais des Antilles. Il y a une obsession chez les antillais de se promener dans ces endroits pour rajeunir leurs corps et pour soigner aussi ceux qui sont malades. Maryse Condé dit elle-même :

Mon père et ma mère, se tenant par le bras, sortaient prendre la fraîcheur. Ils descendaient notre rue jusqu’ la somptueuse maison entre cour et jardin des Lévêque… Ils faisaient le tour de la darse humant la brise qui venait de la mer, poussaient jusqu’au quai Ferdinand-de Lesseps où une odeur de morue salée s’accrochait toujours aux branches basses des amandiers-pays… (p.40)

Dans le même roman, la romancière a essayé de nous montrer l’habitation de leur défunte servante, Mabo Julie. C’est un voisinage habité par beaucoup de pêcheurs. À en croire Maryse, “Mabo Julie habitait non loin dans le quartier du Carenage, un quartier que je ne connaissais pas. Un vieux quartier de pêcheurs, serré autour de l’usine Darboussier qui était encore en activité”. (p.52) On pourrait trouver des gros poissons comme vivanot grillé, des golomines, et beaucoup d’autres poissons mangés chez les antillais.

Maryse Condé est une écrivaine qui écrit pour témoigner du sort de leur peuple ὰ travers leurs œuvres. Elle présente dans le même roman la maison de ses parents. Elle dit : “La rue Alexandre-Isaac, où s’élevait notre maison, commençait un peu plus haut que la place de la Victoire, cœur qui rythmait la vie de la Pointe, et se perdait dans un faubourg populeux mais de bonne tenue”. (p.55) Les maisons dans cette rue étaient construites en bois selon un modèle identique. Elle montre ironiquement la misère qui brime le peuple antillais vivant dans cet endroit par le visage de sa famille et des notables.

L’auteur nous livre aussi son aventure avec les “Jeannettes”, une branche de girl-scouts dans la Guadeloupe où les petits comme elle y vont pour se détourner avec ses camarades ὰ l’âge de neuf ou dix ans. Sa terre guadeloupéenne est un endroit paisible où la romancière va pour s’amuser. C’est aussi un espace majestueux pour le tourisme. Elle témoigne de son aventure dans ces termes :

Je prenais le chemin du morne de l’hôpital. Pour nous y rendre, nous suons en rang deux par deux, une bonne demi-heure sous le chaud soleil. Arrivées l, nous ne pouvions même pas prendre un peu de fraîcheur et nous allonger l’ombre des pieds de tamarins des Indes. (p.64)

Aux Antilles existe toujours la misère. La plupart des Antillais habitent dans les bidon-villes, les baraques, les cloaques, les cabanes et dans les maisons en bois. Dans les romans ou les pièces antillaises, il y a toujours l’évocation de la misère. Derrière cette misère apparaît la beauté de leur terre entrelacée entre la laideur et Maryse Condé présente vivement dans Le cœur à rire et à pleurer l’image physique de sa terre, la Guadeloupe où le quartier de l’Assainissement :

Offrait alors une étrange mosaïque. C’était la fois un ramassis de misérables cases en bois non peinturées, parfois posées même la piéraille, et un gigantesque chantier d’où, on l’espérait, sortiraient des immeubles modernes, un Grand Hôtel, le bâtiment de la Banque de la Guadeloupe, une clinique. L’église Saint-Jules, avec sa façade de bois délavée par les intempéries et son toit en forme de carène de navire, me sembla une merveille. Malgré sa ceinture de taudis, elle me parut un lieu de dévotion sincère et sans apprêts. Elle débordait de fleurs, lys, tubereuses, gardénias, et laissait passer toute la lumière du jour par ses hautes persiennes découpées en ogive. (p.103)

En ce qui concerne la flore et la faune, Robert Pinchon dans Antilles, Haïti Guyane, les Antilles françaises comme toutes les autres îles des petites Antilles ont surgi de la mer et ne relient jamais au Continent américain. Pour ce qui est  de la flore et de la faune, leur peuplement est le produit de hasards successifs qui permettent l’importation et surtout l’implantation des espèces ; celle-ci explique pourquoi un fond commun se retrouve dans tout l’archipel. Beaucoup de plantes et animaux les plus facilement transportables sont arrivés dans chacune des îles et il y avait une multiplication de ces espèces. Nous pouvons dire que l’apport d’espèces végétales et animales modifie le paysage naturel.

On retrouve deux types de côtés dans chacune des îles des Petites Antilles : celles au vent et celles sous le vent. À la Martinique et ὰ la Guadeloupe correspond aux alizés et à ceux de la mer caraïbes abrite par les montagnes ou les mornes antillaises. A en croire Maryse Condé dans Le cœur à rire et à pleurer là où elle nous donne la description de leur maison de changement d’air à Gourbeyre où ses parents passent la Rivière Salée :

Une route plaisante et plate. Un horizon de mornes verdoyants adossés contre le ciel. Des ponts suspendus au-dessus des rivières endormies. Des bœufs basse meuglant mélancoliques au passage des voitures. Soudain, à l’entrée de Capesterre qui n’était pas encore baptisée Belle-Eau, l’insolite d’un temple indien, bariolé aux couleurs de Mayèmin, me tira de ma somnolence.

C’était cela aussi la Guadeloupe ? (p.122)

Dans le village de cette écrivaine, il y a des mornes arrondissant leurs ventres. Il existe aussi des bananeraies plantées aux longues feuilles vernissées ayant pris la place des champs de canne à sucre et ils s’étagèrent sur les hauteurs. L’auteur essaie de montrer le panorama des Saintes, Terre-de-Haut, Terre-de-Bas, assises en rond sur le bleu de la mer. Elle regardait de tous ses yeux et elle avait l’intuition qu’elle était née, sans le savoir, dans un coin du paradis terrestre. Elle nous montre la beauté paradisiaque de la Guadeloupe.

La plupart des plantes cultivées aux Antilles ont été importées depuis la colonisation. Exemple des plantes sont : le manguier, le canefier, la pomme rose et le tamarin viennent des Indes, le flamboyant et le filao de Madagascar, l’arbre à pain de Tahiti, le goyavier d’Amérique du sud, le corossolier de Curaçao, l’avocatier et le Samana du Brésil, le cacaoyer d’Amérique Central, le café d’Arabie, le litchi de Chine et beaucoup d’autres.

Pour Maryse Condé en particulier, Sarcelles, l’ancienne maison de l’air pour ses parents devient un endroit trop familier où l’on peut trouver des variétés de fruits. Selon elle :

Je connaissais ses moindres tours et détours, le cours rongé de sangsues de sa rivière, ses fonds où poussaient goyaves et icaques et le goût de chaque qualité de mangues de ses manguiers : mangot fil, mangues Amélie, mangues Julie, mangot bèf, mangues pomme, manguées.(p.121)

Les fleurs décorant les alentours des maisons dans les quartiers résidentiels, les églises et aussi dans les cases aux campagnes ont été importées telles que bougainvillées, lys, tubéreuses, gardénias, hibiscus, anthurium, rosiers, glaïeuls etc.

Dans Le Quimboiseur l’avait dit de Myriam Warner-Vieyra, Zétou parle de la beauté de son école dans ces termes : “Notre école, c’était une grande case plus grande que toutes les autres maisons du village. Elle était posée entre la mairie et l’église, au beau milieu d’une belle clôture de roses “Cayenne et d’un parterre bien fleuri”. (p.34-35)

Dans le village de Zétou à Corossol, un endroit entouré de corossoliers, “l’eau était d’une limpidité incomparable” : “pommes roses” et “pois doux” abondent sur la rive. La plupart des habitants s’asseyent pour goûter sur place. Les enfants se baignent dans les rivières soit à la Martinique ou bien à la Guadeloupe. Comme d’habitude, ils frottent leurs corps avec un mélange de feuilles après avoir pris leur douche. Zétou, la protagoniste du roman, ayant pris sa douche dit : “Notre lessive terminée nous nous baignions, frottant nos corps avec un mélange de feuillage : patchouli, feuille de bois d’Inde, qui laissaient notre peau toute parfumée”. (p.50)

À la plage de “Raisin Clair” aussi existent plusieurs kilomètres de “raisins de mer”, d’icaques et d’amandiers“ dont les Antillais peuvent faire cuisiner pour faire provision pour la semaine. Les plantes vivrières sont des cultures plus anciennes puisque les ignames, le manioc et les choux formaient déjà la base de l’alimentation chez les caraïbes, mais ajoutons-nous bien d’autres comme tomates, aubergines, salades, échalotes, carottes et navets etc.

Il y a un appauvrissement des espèces animales qui, dans bien des cas n’ont pu s’adapter ni à la présence de l’homme, ni à la disparition des sites naturels par exemple quelques oiseaux très communs au paravent aux  Antilles tel le troglodyte appelé du nom de rossignol ont disparu et certains se réfugient dans les endroits encore sauvages et sont en voie d’extinction. C’est la raison pour  laquelle la plupart des écrivains pleurent la disparition progressive de leurs terres bien aimées : La Guadeloupe et la Martinique. Ils essaient d’évoquer ces terres, des beaux paysages très proches de leurs cœurs.

La terre martiniquaise ou guadeloupéenne est associée à une odeur particulière où selon Daniel Thaly dans Le Jardin des Tropiques “l’air a des senteurs de sucre et de vanille”. D’après Maryse Condé dans Le cœur à rire et à pleurer, le vers sucré qu’on apprend par cœur à l’école primaire est “Je suis né dans une île amoureuse du vent où l’air a des odeurs du sucre et de cannelle…”. (p.128) Cette citation montre l’odeur fraîche de ces îles antillaises en montrant la verdure captivée par les écrivains dans leurs œuvres.

 

Conclusion

Tous les écrivains que nous avons présentés à travers cette étude témoignent de leur amour profond pour la Guadeloupe et la Martinique qu’ils ont bien aimées. Leur objectif visé n’est pas l’évocation de ces îles paradisiaques et touristiques. Ces écrivains présentent bel et bien la réalité physique contemporaine guadeloupéenne et martiniquaise en montrant l’ambigüité  de ces espaces antillais. Les écrivains font une juxtaposition pour montrer la laideur et la beauté de ces îles antillaises à travers leurs œuvres.

Comme le remarque Mokwenye Cyril dans Littérature Antillaise : “La Martinique n’est pas tout simplement le pays des trois ‘S’ (sea, sex and sun). Au contraire, c’est une île où la laideur et la beauté existent également”. (p.21) Ainsi, les écrivains veulent montrer dans toutes les œuvres déjà citées que malgré toutes les apparences, l’homme antillais vit dans un milieu où il y a un piège, qui lui est aussi hostile comme le témoigne cette citation tirée de Le Quimboiseur l’avait dit de Myriam Warner-Vieyra :

Toi mancenillier, même ton ombre est mortelle,…‘combien d’innocentes victimes as-tu faites cette année, avec tes petites pommes que tu lâches malicieusement sur le sentier ? (p.52)

Dans Dieu nous l’a donné de Maryse Condé, on montre aussi le piège tendu à Dieudonné. Le projet révolutionnaire de Dieudonné offusque les habitants de Grand Anse, pauvre, démunie ne voyant rien de spécial pour lutter contre le fléau hydre-tête détruisant leur île. Dieudonné, l’intellectuel ayant la charge de sauver les siens du fardeau du colonialisme tombe toujours dans un piège. À chaque fois qu’il parle à son homologue le vieux père Mendela, il lui dit : “Tu périras ! Tu périras pendu aux hautes branches de l’arbre-à-pain ! On te coupera les oreilles. On te brûlera la verge pour faire de toi un exemple ! Attention” (p.32)

En conclusion, le but primordial des écrivains évoqués dans cette étude ne demeure pas tout entier celle de la présentation de beaux paysages, l’évocation de la beauté physique de la Guadeloupe ou bien de la Martinique ou de leur amour profond pour ces îles. Ils essaient de présenter à travers leurs œuvres la pesanteur de la misère et de tous les problèmes confrontant les Antillais à travers leurs maisons construites en bois. Ces endroits interviennent dans la vie de l’individu et pour les façonner vers un avenir meilleur, ils s’expriment ὰ travers leurs œuvres.

Note

Voir par exemple, le poème de Daniel Thaly : Le Jardin des tropiques, dans La Littérature des Antilles Guyane françaises de Corzani Jack, (p. 213).

 

Références

Condé M. 1973, Dieu nous l’a donné, Paris, Oswald.

Condé M. 2013, Le Cœur à rire et à pleurer, Paris, Les Editions Didier.

Corzani J. 1978, La Littérature des Antilles Guyane françaises, Fort-de-France, Désormeaux, (Tome 1& 11).

Etchart S. 1964, Les Nègres servent d’exemple, Paris, Julliard.

Etchart S. 1977, Le monde tel qu’il est, Paris, Mercure de France.

Mokwenye C. 2006, Littérature Antillaise, Benin City, Mindex Publishing Company Limited.

Machacek-Palatin G. 1980, Antilles Haïti Guyane, Croisières aux Caraïbes, Paris, Hachette.

Warner-Vieyra M. 1980, Le Quimboiseur l’avait dit… Paris, Présence Africaine.

Zobel J. 1974, La Rue Cases-Nègres, Paris, Présence Africaine.

 

LES INJURES EN YORUBA ET EN FRANÇAIS :

STRUCTURES ET FINALITES

VICTOR AKANO BALOGUN

Nigeria French Language Village,

Ajara, Badagry, Lagos, Nigeria

 

Résumé

Les injures relèvent de manque de politesse et elles se manifestent sous forme de discours injurieux, de dires ou de paroles injurieuses. Elles se caractérisent la plupart du temps par un but agressif. L’injure provoque des comportements verbaux et préverbaux. Nous constatons que ces actes sont universels et font partie de toutes cultures et langues. Bien qu’elle se manifeste partout dans la vie quotidienne, l’injure est peu étudiée. Cet article se donne alors pour objectif le désir de combler ce vide bibliographique. Dans cet article, nous nous sommes basés sur une approche sociolinguistique et comparative de l’injure du yoruba et du français.

Mots clés : injures, yoruba, français, structures, finalités.

Abstract

Insults derive from lacke of politness and they are manifested in forms of insultives discourses, sayings or insultives words. They are most of the times caractarised by an aggressive objective. Insulte provoque some preverbal and

verbal comportments. I have observed that these acts are universals and are past of all cultures and languages. Even thought, it manifestes everywhere in our dailly life, injury is less studied. This article, then stands to fufil that bibliographical vacum. In this article, I based the study on sociolinguistic and comparative approach of insult in Yoruba and French languages.

Key words: insults, Yoruba, French, structures, finalities.

Introduction

Les injures sont « des actes ou paroles hostiles qui peuvent se manifester sur un plan conscient ou inconscient dans le but de détruire, de dégrader, de contraindre, d’humilier une personne…etc.» Mateiu, J. A. (2011 : 371).  Les injures en général, peuvent prendre des structures variées, allant d’une simple remarque jusqu’aux injures les plus graves ou voire par filiation.

Pour finalités, les injures sont des interpellations ou des désignations dépréciatives qui servent au locuteur à rejeter l’autre, c’est à dire l’interlocuteur ou un tiers. Elles servent aussi, à lui ‘signifier sa rancune, son antipathie, sa haine’ d’une manière symbolique. En tant que transgression, elles désignent la norme et la confirment même en l’enfreignant. Malgré son emploi quotidien, l’injure est peu étudiée. Dans ce travail, nous présenterons les différentes structures de l’injure et de ses finalités afin de faire ressortir le dénominateur commun dans les deux langues. Une partie des recherches linguistiques de Dominique Lagorgette (2007)  porte sur : Les injures : de la recherche fondamentale à ses applications. Du point de vue de la pragmatique, ‘l’insulte’ peut être considérée comme ‘‘l’injure’’, remarque Frédéric Chauvaud (2006). Dans  son article, l’injure en politique, il souligne que : ‘‘…l’insulte est considérée dans Le Dictionnaire des Sciences, des Lettres et des Arts comme l’équivalent de l’injure. Selon lui, l’insulte est aussi synonyme de l’injure. Bariki (2010) confirme cette affirmation quand il dit que: ‘l’insulte et l’injure s’emploient interchangeablement et les distinctions qui s’y trouvent sont très subjectives et minces.’’  Évelyne Larguèche (1993) conçoit l’injure comme étant un « projectile verbal » et c’est donc alors une atteinte à  l’autre, et aussi de son essence. On serait alors d’accord à l’assertion que la terminologie de l’injure est  particulièrement flottante, comme le témoignent, outre l’usage des locuteurs, les différentes études qui emploient pour renvoyer au même type d’acte aussi bien injure qu’insulte. Dominique Lagorgette (2007)  ajoute qu’un sens attesté au XVIIIe siècle donne pour synonyme d’injure « gifle ». Bariki (2010),  quant à lui ajoute que la définition de l’injure incorpore non seulement une offense grave et consciente mais aussi une parole qui a pour objectif d’outrager et de blesser la dignité et l’honneur. Et il va encore plus loin lorsqu’il connecte à l’injure, dans son commentaire, d’autres termes tels que : affront, invective, vanne, insolence, grossièreté, calomnie, sottise, attaque, juron, ordure, gros mots etc.  Les moyens d’identification et de définition de l’injure énumérés par Dominique Lagorgette (2007)   sont multiples. L’injure, lorsqu’elle n’est pas adressée à son destinataire, elle vise alors à isoler son récepteur signale-t-elle. Ainsi donc, on peut tenter de définir plus précisément la nature  de cette violence verbale qu’est l’injure en se référant au contexte médiéval. Dans les textes en moyen français analysés par Dominique Lagorgette (ibid), les termes employés pour injurier autrui tendent à désigner leur destinataire comme un élément que la société juge indigne de faire partie du groupe. L’assimilation à des marginaux comme étant des « paillart », « fils de putain » ou l’emploi de noms porteurs d’un sens de dégradation, qu’elle soit identification à un animal « vilain mastin » ou à un inanimé « merdaille » et autres. Dans le même article, Lagorgette (ibid), en vient à affirmer que l’injure au Moyen Âge est perçue à la fois comme un acte d’agression et comme un prédicat.

Moïse, Claudine, Nathalie Auger, Béatrice Fracchiolla & Christina Schultz-Romain (2010) ont aussi fait un essai de typologie de  l’injure. On ne pourrait sous-estimer l’apport de ces travaux dans le domaine de la linguistique. Cependant, il serait nécessaire de  prendre en compte certaines structures de  l’injure, notamment en français et en yoruba, les recenser, les analyser et d’en faire un inventaire en vue de leurs finalités. Nous nous baserons sur une approche sociolinguistique et comparative de l’injure du yoruba en français. Nous avons limité notre objet d’analyse à une poignée d’injures sélectionnées et classées selon quelques actes de langage. Il s’agit des injures, des blasphèmes, des gros mots, des calomnies, des sottises, des attaques etc. Prenons un des exemples de Gilles Guilleron (2007) : le gros mot « con(ne) » signifie ou désigne un individu qui manque d’intelligence, une personne stupide ou mauvaise donc quelqu’un qui est bête. Le yoruba parlera de : « òmùgọ́ », « òpònù » ou « ṣùgọ́mu ». Littéralement, ces expressions suggèrent une action ou parole sotte, maladroite, un manque d’intelligence et de jugement. Dans la culture yoruba aussi bien que française, le personnage du con est celui dont on se moque et dont on veut s’éloigner. Par contre, le mot « con » jouit d’une grande popularité en France et est omniprésent dans la littérature, la chanson ou la culture populaire française.  Mais ce dont on se souvient de plus est du méprisant : «  j’aime voir de mon balcon passer les cons », du descriptif : « Quand on est con, on est con » (refrain de la chanson de Georges Brassens (1961).  Le film « Le Diner de cons » de Francis Veber, avec Thierry Lhermitte et Jacques Villeret, dépeint le personnage du con, l’idiot que l’on invite pour se ridiculiser. Georges Brassens(1961) va encore plus loin avec l’expression « roi des cons », lorsque dans sa musique intitulé : « Le Roi », il amplifie le sens du mot « con ». Par contre, les tournures syntaxiques des gros mots ne suffisent pas toujours pour obtenir une bonne compréhension de  l’injure, il serait de même parfois nécessaire de prendre en compte les gestes qui accompagnent le gros mot, le contexte dans lequel telle ou telle injure a été prononcée ou l’injure gestuelle elle-même. La détermination de ces facteurs a été un point important pour la compréhension et l’interprétation des injures, en tenant compte de leurs structures et finalités, comme nous le présentons dans cet article.

  1. 1. STRUCTURES DE  L’INJURE

Malgré l’existence de vocabulaires spécifiques comme injures ou insultes, pratiquement n’importe quel mot, dans certaines circonstances énonciatives, peut être utilisé ou interprété comme une injure. Ces mots peuvent être tout et n’importe quoi. Voilà pourquoi Larguèche (1991) signale que : d’une manière générale, la valeur sémantique des interjections dépend « des phénomènes qui les constituent, du ton et de l’accent qu’on leur donne, des jeux de physionomie, des attitudes etc., qui les accompagnent», Éveline Larguèche (1991 : 241). Ce qui fait la différence, et supporte la signification de certaines injures ou insultes, c’est l’intonation. Cela dépendra alors, d’un appellatif cru neutre ou non sur un mode phonatoire approprié (la profération insultante) qui lui confère un sens péjoratif. Par exemple : « Belge!, Arabe!, Nègre !, Femme!» É. Larguèche (ibid). Dans certains cas, l’intonation aide à souligner le sens.

1.1. Injures sous formes des structures syntaxiques

Prenons l’exemple du gros mot « cinglé » : cinglé se dit d’un individu qui a des troubles mentaux. Le yoruba dira : oríi rẹ ko pé. Littéralement cela signifie « que sa tête n’est pas au complet, qu’il en manque quelque chose » ; et / ou encore : oríi rẹ ko dara signifiant « que sa tête n’est pas bonne ».

1.2. Structures, interprétation et emploi de  l’injure

L’injure peut être manifestée sous différentes formes : en français par exemple, sous forme des mots (merde? …! Salope ! Poufiasse! Sauvage! Bordel ! Mes couilles! Voleur! Fainéant! Maquereau! Assassin!…), des sobriquets : Ducon/ Duconno/ Duconneau/ Duconnot «imbécile», Duchenok/ Duchenoque/ du schnock (euphémismes des précédentes), Dugenoux «empoté peu intelligent», Dugland «empoté paresseux», Duglandard «bon à rien», Duschmol «parfait crétin», des phrases ou des locutions-phrases, en yoruba comme en français par exemple, ‘‘àẹwo ni ọmọ obìrin yen’’, phrase yoruba signifiant, ‘cette femme est une prostituée’, ou bien sous la forme des Noms insultants d’origine métaphorique (métaphores animales ou objectales): ajá ni ọmọ obìrin yen, ẹlẹdẹ si ni : cette femme est une chienne, pour dire qu’elle est une prostituée et elle est aussi un porc pour signifier qu’elle est aussi sale. ọmọ obìrin yi sì rí bí ọ̀bọ : cette fille est comme un babouin ; ou encore des noms insultants succédés d’une interjection à valeur interpellative : ọmọ ale! olori buruku! Ode ! ole ! ce qui signifie en français: Batard !  Un vaurien ! Stupide ! Voleur ! ; des gros mots scatologiques ou sexuels (en français: de balle/ de merde; de malheur; de mes pieds/ de mes couilles/ de mon cul/ de mes fesses, en yoruba: idi mi ; furo mi…etc) ; sous forme des injures racistes: nègre ! arabe !; des injures par filiation (ọmọ aja : fils de chienne; ọmọ ale : bâtard ; asewo ọmọkurin : coureur de jupons etc.

2. INJURES PAR FILIATION A DES DIVERS DEGRES

Les injures peuvent être classées selon le type d’acte de langage exprimé, ainsi que selon l’emploi (général ou spécifique) et leur stratégie sémantique.

En yoruba on retrouve aussi l’injure interpellative constituée d’un nom qui renvoie à un défaut physique (Bisi abẹnu nla, aga ma ni ìyè, ojú bí ojú òwìwí , arọọ, aláàbọ̀-ara … signifiant Bisi avec sa grande gueule, il est grand mais inintelligent, ses yeux comme les yeux d’un hibou, infirme qu’il soit…), à un défaut psychique (òmùgọ, òpònú, ọdẹ, aláìníọgbọ́n qui veut dire idiot, imbécile, bête, inintelligent), à un défaut moral (gbájúẹ̀, oníjìbìtì, ọ̀daràn, apani lara, òìkà, onídàrúdàpọ̀, janduku, oníjàngbọ̀n signifiant escroc, gangster, malfaiteur, cruel, un émeutier, voyou, semeur de trouble. ), à un comportement sexuel déviant (àẹwo, ajá ni ọmọ obìrin yen, obìrin alágbèrè, oníranù, qui signifie prostituée, femme infidèle, adultère, tricheuse.) ou bien des noms insultants d’origine métaphorique (métaphores animales ou objectales: ajá ni ọmọ obìrin yen, ẹlẹdẹ si ni : cette fille est une chienne, pour dire qu’elle est une prostituée et elle est aussi un porc pour signifier qu’elle est aussi sale. ọmọdé yi sì rí bí ọ̀bọ : ce petit enfant est comme un babouin ; ojú àwọn ọmọdé wọn ni, sì rí bí ojú òwìwí : les yeux de ses enfants sont comme ceux d’un hibou). S’y ajoutent les injures «racistes» qui s’attaquent à l’origine ethnique ou sociale du référent: ọmọ oko : campagnard ; ara ijebu : pour dire que quelqu’un est avare. Les Ijebu sont connus d’être très avares.

Assez souvent, les noms insultants sont succédés d’une interjection à valeur interpellative comme par exemple : ọmọ ale! olórí burúkú! ọdẹ ! ole ! : Batard !  Un vaut rien ! Stupide ! Voleur !

L’intonation ajoute plus de valeur à ces expressions injurieuses. Le contexte et le co-texte sont aussi à prendre en compte. Les injures se manifestent dans les deux langues et cultures et elles trouvent facilement leur reflet dans l’une ou l’autre des deux langues.

L’injure s’emploie à tout niveau de langue. L’injure, par exemple : ‘Canaille’ désigne un individu abject, capable des pires actions, un voyou senior. Dans sa célèbre chanson « Vieille canaille », le chanteur Serge Gainsbourg (1928 – 1991) règle aux canailles, leur compte: « J’s’rai content quand tu s’ras mort/vieille canaille (…)/  Tu ne perds rien pour attendre/Je saurai bien te descendre/J’s’rai content d’avoir ta peau/vieux chameau (…) ».

2.1. Injures en politique

Dans un commentaire de la pratique des injures en politique … dans les circonstances particulières d’un débat public, Andrei Pleşu (2011 :17) rappelle comment traiter l’opposant :

« L’adversaire, il faut le traiter de fou, légume politique, ivrogne, singe, lèche-bottes, sale tzigane, SDF (Sans Domicile Fixe), servante connasse et banlieusarde, salaud, diable, Hitler, Moubarak, etc. […] L’attaque ne doit pas se limiter au sujet du débat. Si l’opposant a un autre avis que vous […], il faut attaquer sa face et sa biographie. Il faut s’en prendre à son bide, à sa taille, à son âge, à son nom, à sa famille, à ses enfants et amis.»

Des allusions scatologiques

Le « cul » est la partie du corps formée par deux masses charnues situées à la partie postérieure du bassin, littéralement là (à l’endroit) où le dos perd son nom chaste.  C’est-à-dire, là où le « dos » ne s’appelle plus comme ça et il commence à s’appeler « cul » : d’où les injures en yoruba comme en français : ìdì mi, furo mi, ẹ̀ wo ìdì, o ni ìdì nla…etc : mon cul, mes fesses, regarde – moi ses fesses, quelles grosses fesses…etc.  De toute évidence, nous constatons que les allusions scatologiques occupent une place de choix dans des gros mots en français plus qu’en yoruba. 

2.2. L’injure gestuelle

Plusieurs types d’emplois spécifiques se retrouvent dans la description des injures selon une situation ou une autre. Des injures gestuelles comme : « le doigt à l’œil », exhiber « une main refermée, majeur pointé », signifie en français une haine totale à celui à qui on l’adresse. Ce geste, connu sous le nom de doigt d’honneur, est considéré généralement comme une évocation visuelle d’une pénétration sexuelle honteuse ou dégradante. Vraisemblablement, à l’origine de ce geste, il y aurait l’analogie entre le doigt majeur (le plus long de tous les doigts de la main) tendu et l’image phallique.  Le point fort du doigt d’honneur, c’est sa simplicité.  Il permet d’exprimer toute sa haine à quelqu’un en quelques secondes !

Il existe aussi « des gestes ou des pendants non verbaux (gestuels) » qui viennent remplacer ou renforcer les injures. Ce sont au fait des vocables injurieux (par exemple les gestes signifiant «mon œil/ tu es fou»; le pied; le nez; le bras d’honneur; l’injure gestuel qui consiste à cracher par terre, etc.) Parfois, quand bien même aucun mot n’est prononcé, ces gestes en eux sont déjà des injures. Et ils accentuent l’injure lorsqu’ils s’y ajoutent.

3. FINALITES DES INJURES

Les finalités des injures sont multiples. L’injure  déclenche des réactions. L’injurié est à la fois passif et actif puisque d’une manière ou d’une autre, il répond. De ce fait, les formes de réactions possibles sont très ouvertes : mutisme, dénégation, ironie, rire, injure en retour, menace. Et ces actions-réactions peuvent à leur tour déclencher d’autres réponses.

Le plus souvent l’injure est une marque d’impolitesse, le manque de considération pour son interlocuteur et surtout, une forme d’agressivité. L’injure est après tout un acte de dernier recours à la violence. Et rester silencieux, c’est à la fois éviter de se fragiliser par une réponse inconsidérée et s’exposer à l’accusation de lâcheté. Injurier à son tour, c’est risquer une nouvelle injure plus blessante encore. Enfin, rire est un moyen de désamorcer l’attaque soit pour accentuer le ridicule de la situation ou rechercher l’humiliation physique. Mais quelles autres finalités les injures peuvent- elles avoir ?

 

3.1. Injurier pour accuser

Les injures  renforcent les stratégies d’accusation et de rejet. Dans les quelques exemples qui suivent, les injures prononcées accusent leurs destinataires.

Pour le yoruba :

àwọn òpùrọ́, àwọn abúra èké = (des menteurs, des gens qui font de faux serments)

àwọn ewèlè ènìyàn, àwọn asọ̀rọ̀ tí kòlérè                                                                                                                           = (des indisciplinés, de vains parleurs)

Pour le français, prenons un exemple différent :

Ce sont des enfants gonflés [d’orgueil], ne comprenant rien, mais étant malades mentalement.

Ils sont des jeunes à l’intelligence corrompue.

Dans ces exemples, l’attaque porte sur l’incapacité de bien agir de ces enfants ou sur leur capacité de comprendre. Elle souligne de même leur manque d’intelligence. L’image du vide est renforcée ici avec les mots « faux », « vains », de même que « rien ».

3.2. Injurier pour blesser l’autre volontairement

Pour le yoruba :

Awon opònú ti gbé ìgbésẹ̀ tí ń fa ìparun,

wọ́n ti hùwà lọ́nà ìṣe-họ́ọ̀-sí nínú ìbálò wọn.

Kò sí ẹni tí ń ṣe rere…

(Ils sont des insensés qui ont agi d’une manière perverse,                                                                                                         ils se sont montrés détestables dans [leur] conduite.                                                                                                                   Il n’y en a pas un qui fasse le bien…)

Pour le français, nous prenons un autre exemple :

Ce sont des gens gloutons,  des homicides.

Ils sont des gens orgueilleux.

Ils ont l’esprit hautain, les yeux hautains et le cœur arrogant.

Des gens adultères, une assemblée de traîtres.

Nous pouvons percevoir un degré de tension dans les injures ci – dessus. Cette image renforce la représentation de l’excès dans les mots et expressions injurieux. Ce sont là, quelques injures, comme toutes autres injures, destinées pour blesser leurs destinataires.

3.3. Injurier pour discrediter l’autre

Les injures participent à la déconstruction identitaire d’une personne. L’injurié peut être associé à une « représentation » animale comme par exemple :

Pour le yoruba :

Àwọn ọmọ aládé rẹ̀ dà bí ìkookò

tí ń fa ẹran ọdẹ ya ní títa ẹ̀jẹ̀ sílẹ̀,

ní pípa àwọn ọkàn run fún ète jíjẹ

èrè aláìbá ìdájọ́ òdodo mu.

(Ses princes sont comme des loups

qui déchirent une proie, en versant le sang, en détruisant des âmes afin de faire un gain injuste.)

Pour le français, nous prenons un exemple différent :

Sans cesse ils aboient comme un chien

Les Crétois sont des bêtes sauvages néfastes,

des goinfres désœuvrés.

La comparaison à un chien ou à des loups ou à des bêtes sauvages néfastes dénonce leur manque d’initiative et leur incapacité de bien agir comme des humains. La représentation par l’image d’un animal ou en les comparants à des animaux sauvages néfastes dénonce leur manque de civilité. L’injure peut donner à l’injurié une image négative, dépréciative de sa personnalité en le comparant à un animal ou à une chose.

Ces exemples montrent que discréditer l’adversaire, c’est aussi passer par une reconstruction identitaire qui a pour fonction de rappeler les défauts du concerné. Ainsi, l’injure peut servir à l’accentuation du côté excessif du personnage ou peut souligner son incapacité à s’engager ou à prendre des décisions. L’image injurieuse devient une marque identitaire et une forme de rejet. L’utilisation des injures contribue aussi à reconstruire une image de l’autre en lui attribuant des traits négatifs.

L’injure vise l’autre dans la volonté de le rabaisser, de le nier, de lui faire du mal, de se livrer à un processus de diabolisation de l’autre. Elle peut également dégrader l’autre à travers une subjectivité qui semble partagée avec d’autres personnes. En ce sens, on peut dire que l’injure est toujours porteuse d’une force illocutoire, puisqu’un effet doit être produit sur l’interlocuteur. Comme le montre C. Kerbrat-Orecchioni (1997 : 23), si je traite l’autre d’anarchiste « Anarchiste ! », et s’il répond « parfaitement », la finalité souhaitée est atteinte.

Ainsi, grâce à l’analyse effectuée, nous avons pu constater que l’injure est utilisée pour exprimer un sentiment de mépris et de rejet. L’injure peut parfois recourir à des procédés stylistiques comme la métaphore ou la comparaison. Face à cette violence verbale, nous avons pu voir que le locuteur peut recourir à certaines stratégies : soit il décide de fuir en esquivant les propos ou en restant silencieux ; soit il décide de gérer positivement le conflit ; soit enfin il décide de partager la réalisation du conflit et dans ce cas l’injure répond à l’injure. De nombreuses injures en yoruba trouvent facilement leurs équivalents exacts en français ;  même s’ils sont parfois bien différents au niveau de la forme, ils remplissent les mêmes conditions d’emploi, possèdent le même degré d’impolitesse. Elles ont les mêmes finalités.

 

Conclusion

Nous avons montré dans cet article que l’injure est un phénomène sociolinguistique qui peut se présenter sous diverses structures. Notre travail tient compte de différents critères tels que les structures d’injures, les types d’injures,  les niveaux d’impolitesse, mais aussi de l’emploi d’injures et de leurs finalités. Aussi bien en yoruba qu’en français, on constate des similarités assez intéressantes. Nous avons ainsi cherché à définir ce que ces deux langues peuvent partager comme « dénominateur commun » en ce qui concerne l’injure ainsi nous pouvons utiliser cette qualité des langues lors de l’apprentissage ou de l’enseignement de la langue, si besoin y est. Notre étude de diverses approches de l’injure dans les deux langues, notamment sa structure et sa finalité, nous a permis de mieux apprécier non seulement ces deux langues mais aussi leurs locuteurs.

Bibliographie

Bariki I. 2010, L’Injure en français et en yorouba : Inventaire et commentaires. In Kuupole, D. D et I. Bariki (ed): Applied Social Dimensions of Language Use and Teaching in West Africa Festschrift in Honour of Professor Tunde Ajiboye, Cape Coast,         University of Cape Coast Press; p. 35 – 42.

Chauvaud F. 2005, L’injure (en) politique : Europe et Amérique latine du XIXe siècle à nos jours, Dijon, Editions Universitaires de Dijon, Collection Sociétés.

Dziadkiewicz A. 2007, Vers une reconnaissance et une traduction automatique de phraséologismes pragmatiques (application du français vers le polonais),   thèse   de doctorat (confidentielle), Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon.

Fonagy I. 1982, Situation et signification, Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Fraser B. 1981, On apologizing in Coulmas F., Conversational routine. Explorations in standardized communications situations and prepatterned speech, The Hague &    Paris,  Mouton, p. 260 – 271.

Grice H.P. 1979, « Logique et conversation », in Communication 30; p. 57 – 72.

Guilleron G. 2007, Le petit livre des gros mots, injures et autres noms d’oiseau, Paris, First.

Kerbrat-Orecchioni C. 1998, Les interactions verbales.T.3. Variations culturelles et échanges rituels, Paris, Armand Colin.

Lagorgette D. 2009, Les injures : de la recherche fondamentale à ses applications, Chambéry, Editions de l’Université de Savoie; p. 297 – 308.

Laurence R. 2006, Petit traité de l’injure, Loverval, Labor.

Mateiu J. A. 2011, Structures typiques des injures en français, Sarrebruck ;  Éditions Universitaires Européennes.

Moïse C. Auger  N. Fracchiolla B. & Schultz-Romain C. 2010, Interpellation et ‘injure : essai de typologisation, Université de Poitiers.

Montfort J. Y. 2008, L’injure dans la loi du 29 juillet 1881 sur la liberté de la presse, Desmons, E. & M. A. Paveau (éds).Outrages, injures, blasphèmes et injures : violences du langage et polices du discours, Paris, L’Harmattan, p. 65-70.

Tannen D. P. & Comert O.  1981, “Health to Our Mouths. Formulaic Expressions in Turkish and Greek, in Coulmas F., Conversational routine. Explorations in standardized communications situations and prepatterned speech, The Hague &   Paris, Mouton, p. 37-54.

NIL HABBA: SYMBOLE DE L’ESPOIR DANS L’EXIL OU LA TOMBE

DE TCHICHELLE TCHIVELA

RUFUS TUNJI ADEGBOYE

Department of Languages,

Nigerian Defence Academy,

Kaduna, Nigeria.

 

 

Résumé

L’Exil ou la Tombe est un recueil de douze nouvelles, divisé en deux parties, qui aborde la problématique du pouvoir politique dont les effets sociaux et moraux sont minutieusement décrits. Alors que l’essence de gouvernement dans les pays développés est de mener à bien les affaires de l’Etat tout en contribuant au bien-être des citoyens, ceux qui se trouvent au pouvoir, dans ce recueil qui a pour cadre l’Afrique, ont plutôt pour préoccupation l’annihilation et le déchaînement de la brutalité sur leurs citoyens. Devant une telle situation, et pour éviter la mort brutale, certains citoyens décident de s’exiler; ce qui explique d’ailleurs, le titre significatif de l’œuvre. L’objet de cette communication est de mettre en exergue le génie littéraire de Tchichelle Tchivella à travers sa peinture des personnages qui, engagés dans la lutte pour la liberté de leur peuple, sont obligés de choisir entre l’exil et la mort et dont les idées ne sont pas mortes mais continuent à donner la force aux vivants. Tel est Nil Habba dont le nom symbolise l’espoir.

Mots clés : Nil Habba, symbole, espoir, exil, mort, idées, citoyen.

Abstract

The exil or the creve is a collection of twelve news, divided in two parts, and treat political power problematic of which the social and moral effects are carefully described. Whereas the practice of government in the developed countries is to well manage the affairs of the state while contributing to the welfare of the citizens, those who are in power, in this collection where Africa is object of the study, they are more interested in deshoying and brutalizing their citizens. In this situations, and to avoid brutal death, some citizens decide to go for exil, this explains, more so, the significance of the novel’s tille. The objective of this communication is to emphasize the genius literary capacity of Tchichelle Tchevella towards his paint of the caracters who engaged in the battle for liberty of their people, are obliged to choose between exil and the death; and the idears of whom never died but continue to give the force to those that are living. That is Nil Habba of which the name symbolizes the hope.

Key words: Nil Habba, symbol, hope, exil, death, ideas, citizen.

 

Introduction

Tchichelle Tchivela est le nom de plume de François Tchichelle, docteur en médecine, écrivain, et officier de l’armée congolaise, né à Pointe-Noire en République Populaire du Congo en 1940.  Il a publié sa première œuvre en 1980, un recueil de huit nouvelles, Longue est la nuit ainsi que de nombreux récits dans divers périodiques d’Afrique et d’Europe. L’Exil ou la Tombe, publié chez Présence Africaine en 1986, est un recueil de douze nouvelles divisé en deux parties: Le Berger Suprême qui contient huit nouvelles (pp. 15-132) et Hôtes et Otages constitué de quatre nouvelles (pp. 133-237).

Les douze nouvelles, de longueur variable, sont centrées au tour de la problématique du pouvoir dont les effets politiques, sociaux ou moraux sont minutieusement décrits.

Pour Tchichelle Tchivela, comme pour beaucoup d’autres écrivains africains de son âge, le pouvoir politique, tel qu’il s’exerce dans nombre de pays du tiers monde en général et particulièrement en Afrique, n’a pour but que de consolider  les dirigeants au pouvoir. En effet, ceux qui dirigent les affaires politiques dans ces pays, comme cela est souvent décrit dans les œuvres littéraires, adoptent les méthodes suivantes pour se pérenniser au pouvoir: les arrestations arbitraires, la délation, l’oppression, la répression, le recours aux puissances étrangères qui n’hésitent pas à intervenir pour défendre leurs intérêts menacés. Même si  Tchichelle Tchivela affirme dans L’Exil ou la Tombe (désormais LEOLT) que ces récits sont «tous imaginaires comme le sont également les pays Tongwétani, Bucuvinda, Eurique, et les personnages qui y évoluent » (LEOLT p.11), l’on sait bien qu’il fait une peinture de l’Afrique contemporaine. Ceci est d’ailleurs confirmé par l’auteur lui-même lorsqu’il avoue ainsi : « Oui, j’évoque l’Afrique actuelle pour suggérer l’Afrique de demain, du moins celle que mon peuple porte en gestion, et dont j’ai la faiblesse de croire qu’elle naîtra » (LEOLT, p.11). Il décrit donc cette Afrique où halètent « des ilôtes écrasés par une vie qu’ils n’ont pas héritée de Dieu » comme une  «Afrique déchue ». (ibid)

Alors que l’essence d’un gouvernement dans les pays développés du monde est de mener à bien les affaires de l’Etat tout en contribuant au bien-être des citoyens, les personnes qui sont à la tête des pouvoirs politiques en Afrique ont comme préoccupation l’annihilation et le déchaînement de la brutalité sur leurs citoyens. Ces derniers décident, le plus souvent, de s’exiler  ou de rester sur place et être tués brutalement. Tchichelle Tchivela, comme beaucoup d’autres écrivains dont les œuvres ont pour cadre l’Afrique de l’ère post-coloniale, étouffe face aux événements dans son pays natal et traduit son mal d’être à travers les faits et les gestes des personnages qu’il met en scène.

Alors que certains personnages tchichelliens décident de s’exiler parce qu’ils ne peuvent pas supporter l’oppression, d’autres trouvent la mort sous le joug des agents des régimes totalitaires. Cependant, il y a aussi ceux qui décident de combattre la tyrannie soit de l’intérieur soit de l’exil. Il convient de dire que bien que d’autres personnages soient morts dans des circonstances  tragiques, leurs idées ne sont pas mortes et continuent de donner l’espoir aux vivants. En effet, tel est Nil Habba dont le nom symbolise l’espoir. Le Front Nil Habba, créé par ceux qui combattent la tyrannie autochtone et néo-coloniale, est aussi un symbole d’espoir.

Dans un premier temps, nous allons définir deux mots-clés «exil » et «tombe » du titre de ce recueil de nouvelles de Tchichelle Tchivela et deux mots-clé «symbole » et « espoir » que l’on trouve dans le titre de notre communication. Dans un deuxième temps, nous allons montrer comment l’auteur a su mettre en relief, à travers les divers personnages de L’Exil ou la Tombe, les divers moyens par lesquels la lutte contre l’oppression autocratique peut être menée en vue de donner l’espoir à la génération présente et future. Nous parlerons donc de ceux qui sont obligés de s’exiler ainsi que les raisons de leur exil; ceux qui sont tués par les agents des régimes totalitaires de Tongwétani et Bucuvinda et ceux qui ont entrepris de combattre la tyrannie, qui y ont trouvé la mort mais dont les idées ont survécu.

  1. DEFINITION ET EXPLICATION DES MOTS-CLES  DANS LE CONTEXTE DE L’ŒUVRE CHOISIE

Le Petit Larousse Illustré définit le mot « exil » comme la «situation de quelqu’un qui est expulsé ou obligé de vivre hors de sa patrie; situation de quelqu’un qui est obligé de vivre ailleurs que là où il est habituellement, où il aime vivre » (p.308). Larousse, pour sa part, définit le mot «tombe » comme un «endroit où un mort est enterré; fosse recouverte d’une dalle de pierre, de marbre » (p.1016). Le mot « symbole » y est défini comme un « signe figuratif, être animé ou chose qui représente un concept » (p.981) alors que le mot «espoir » est défini comme un «état d’attente confiante » (p.386).

Il convient de souligner que les cas de l’exil dans le recueil de nouvelles qui fait l’objet de notre analyse dans cette communication ne sont pas ceux de l’expulsion des personnages de leur pays. Il s’agit plutôt des personnages qui décident eux-mêmes de s’exiler, de quitter leur village, ville ou pays du fait qu’ils ne peuvent pas supporter la politique opprimante du régime totalitaire de leur pays; ils s’enfuient donc pour éviter l’arrestation, la torture, la déshumanisation ou la mort.

Dans la même optique, la «tombe » va être considérée comme étant synonyme de «la mort». Cependant, dans le contexte de l’œuvre traitée, ce n’est pas tous ceux qui sont tués par les agents du régime totalitaire qui sont enterrés officiellement. Au contraire, ils sont soit abandonnés impunément là où ils sont tués, soit jetés là où l’on ne peut pas les récupérer sans aucun regard pour la culture traditionnelle africaine qui a beaucoup de respect pour les morts.

1.1. L’exil comme arme de combat contre l’oppression

Le titre significatif L’Exil ou la tombe donne l’impression que les opprimés qui figurent dans les nouvelles finissent leur vie soit par l’exil soit par la mort. Cependant, comme nous comptons le démontrer plus loin, il y a des personnages qui refusent de quitter leur espace natal, qui ne sont pas morts mais décident plutôt de combattre la tyrannie de l’intérieur par des tracts incendiaires ou par des paroles subversives ironiques.

Dans son œuvre, Tchichelle Tchivela n’a pas manqué de mettre en relief les multiples facettes de la lutte contre les gouvernements autocratiques dans les pays vivant sous les régimes despotes en Afrique. Ainsi, a-t-il si bien décrit, dans son recueil de nouvelles, les personnages qui, pour une raison ou une autre, ont décidé de s’exiler afin de mieux faire entendre leur voix. Dans le cadre de cette présentation, nous focaliserons l’attention sur  trois personnages-clés, à savoir Mayaka-Mba, le docteur Yandi K et Kor Dyla qui, à notre avis, représentent les autres exilés qui figurent dans les autres nouvelles et dont les actions ont servi de force motivatrice pour les personnes sur place dans le pays.

Mayaka-Mba est le fils du syndicaliste Habba assassiné à la veille de l’indépendance de Tongwétani. Il a poursuivi ses études de sciences physiques en Eurique où il a rencontré le futur docteur-ingénieur agronome Nzasi Makandi Albert qui milite comme lui dans l’UNESTE  et avec lequel il s’est lié d’amitié. A l’université Yeli Boso où Mayaka-Mba enseigne quand il est rentré au pays, il a l’habitude d’exprimer ses opinions sur la situation politico-économique de son pays, Tongwétani. Le ministre de l’intérieur voulait l’incarcérer l’accusant d’être un agent du communisme international. Mais à cause de son lien avec Abwey-Tsa, Secrétaire général du Syndicat Unique et favori du Président, le chef d’Etat va le protéger. Pourtant, après la disparition tragique d’Abwey-Tsa, le Président, écoutant son ministre de l’intérieur, fait emprisonner Mayaka-Mba, après l’avoir dénigré, calomnié et présenté lors d’une conférence de presse comme un ‘traitre à la Nation’. Il est détenu pendant cinquante deux mois sans jugement. Ensuite libéré il retrouve Nzansi Makandi qui avait regagné la capitale Mabaya. Ensemble, ils décident de mener une lutte clandestine contre le régime du Président Yeli Bosso pour le renverser. Suite à une insurrection populaire qui a permis à l’Armée Nationale de s’emparer du pouvoir, Nzasi Makandi devient Président de la République et MayakaMba, ministre de l’Education Nationale et de la Recherche Scientifique. Mais ce dernier va devoir quitter son pays un soir quand l’Eurique a mené un coup d’Etat contre Makandi Nzasi.

Il aperçoit Nil Habba qui admirait tellement son père et qui a adopté son nom après son assassinat. Peu après une pluie de bombes  a incendié la ville de Mabaya. Alors Mayaka-Mba choisit de s’exiler: « Et sans délibérer, je décidai de partir, de m’exiler, abandonnant ma femme et nos enfants. Que sont-ils devenus? Je l’ignore, et cela me préoccupe beaucoup. Mais je ne regrette pas ma décision » (LEOLT p.52).

Il prend donc la fuite à travers la forêt déguisé comme un vrai paysan. Malgré ce départ à la fois volontaire (puisque c’est son choix personnel) et forcé (étant obligé d’abandonner sa famille), Tchichelle ne manque pourtant pas de décrire la joie de Mayaka-Mba lorsque ce dernier s’est retrouvé éloigné de la frontière en ces termes : « Mayaka-Mba laissa éclater sa joie, aleeeeeh yaaaah, la joie d’être vivant, sain et sauf, et li-i-i-i-i-bre, aleeeeeh yaaaah! » (LEOLT p.37). En effet, il enviait la liberté des oiseaux et des singes dans la forêt qu’il devait traverser quand il fuyait son pays, « cette liberté que l’Eurique ne reconnaissait pas au peuple Tongwétani » (LEOLT p.34). Malheureusement les siens n’étaient pas libres dans son pays, car après le changement de pouvoir à Mabaya, « les nouveaux chefs arrêtent les anciens ou bien les tuent » (LEOLT p.36).

Au lieu d’abandonner le combat, le plan de Mayaka-Mba est de rentrer au pays un jour pour libérer les siens: «Tongwétani, mon pays, je jure de te rendre ta liberté. Je m’en vais, mais je reviendrai. » (LEOLT p.37). Ainsi, le Front Nil Habba, « authentique et unique représentant du Peuple tongwétanien en lutte contre la dictature néocoloniale » (LEOLT p.68), est dirigé par Mayaka-Mba, qui va collaborer avec beaucoup de tongwétaniens qui sont restés au pays et qui luttent clandestinement pour la restoration du pouvoir politique aux tongwétaniens. Par conséquent, Mayaka-Mba compte s’installer « en Eurique pour mener à partir de là-bas, la lutte contre Yeli Boso et sa clique » (LEOLT p.52) et pour y organiser, selon ses propres termes, « les structures de notre lutte avec mes compatriotes qui sont plus nombreux que dans aucun pays d’Afrique » (LEOLT p.55).

Alors, pour Tchichelle Tchivela, ou mieux encore son porte parole Mayaka-Mba, la lutte contre l’oppression et la dictature doit être mené  aussi bien de l’intérieur et de l’extérieur : « Face à l’invasion, à la répression et à l’humiliation, la résistance s’impose comme un devoir à tous les patriotes. Peu importe là où elle s’organise, l’essentiel est qu’elle existe et qu’elle contraigne l’ennemi à reculer » (LEOLT p.67).

Un deuxième personnage qui a choisi l’exil comme moyen de lutte est Kor Dyla. Tongwétanien comme Mayaka-Mba, part en exil dans la République Démocratique de Bas-Kolo, sans doute un pays voisin de Tongwétani. Kor Dyla, comme Mayaka-Mba, militait également dans l’Organisation des Africains Progressistes en Eurique (OAPE) avant de rejoindre son pays pour y enseigner les lettres à l’Université. On lui a proposé un porte feuille ministériel qu’il refuse et on décide de ne pas l’intégrer dans la Fonction Publique. Il ést interdit d’exercer sa profession dans son propre pays. Il devient alors pêcheur!

Le panier de crabes qu’il a publié va lui valoir l’incarcération après des heures et des heures d’interrogatoire. Il est libéré à la suite des publications de l’OAPE dans les journaux progressistes euricains. Sommé de quitter son pays il s’exile en République Démocratique du Bas-Kolo où il se lance dans les affaires. Mais en tant que patriote et progressiste, il s’inquiète du fait que les dirigeants Africains ne veulent pas se libérer de leurs maîtres coloniaux mais continuent à s’inféoder. A son avis, les rares autochtones qui «ont voulu rester maîtres chez eux et se sont efforcés de récupérer et d’exploiter pour eux-mêmes les ressources naturelles, ou bien ont été renversés par un coup d’Etat ou bien ont péri assassinés » (LEOLT p.51). Comme solution il propose donc la lutte contre l’analphabétisme comme la voie pouvant mener à la liberté réelle et au progrès véritable. Ainsi, contrairement à son ami Mayaka-Mba qui a choisi de mener la lutte contre le Président Yeli Boso de l’Eurique, Kor Dyla pense qu’il serait mieux de mener la lutte à l’intérieur du pays ou d’un pays limitrophe.

Le troisième personnage dont s’est servi Tchichelle Tchivela pour démontrer le sort des personnes en exil est le docteur Yandi K K. Impliqué malgré lui dans une tentative de coup d’État contre le régime du Président Yeli Boso, le docteur Yandi a dû quitter précipitamment Tongwétani pour ne pas être exécuté comme tous les conjurés et leurs sympathisants capturés. Mais il ne parvient pas à s’accommoder à cet exil. Car, après trois ans d’exil et atteint du mal du pays natal, le médecin souhaite rentrer au bercail pour se rallier au pouvoir.

Il commence alors à dire de bonnes choses à l’égard du Président. Mais, ceux qui sont près du Président lui racontaient que Yandi l’avait autrefois traité « d’analphabète politique et du mendiant insatiable et corrompu et qu’il avait recruté des mercenaires pour le chasser du pouvoir. » (LEOLT p.43).

Renversé et ensuite revenu au pouvoir, Yeli Boso facilite cependant le retour de Yandi qu’il considérait toujours comme un redoutable opposant. Le docteur Yandi est officiellement accueilli à l’aéroport mais le peuple apprend, le même soir de sa rentrée, que «le docteur Yandi K K s’était suicidé d’une balle dans la nuque » (LEOLT p.45). Tchichelle Tchivella expose ici la vie d’un opposant dont le sort s’est traduit par l’exil, le retour et la mort. L’auteur tente en effet de démontrer que les dirigeants Africains pardonnent rarement à leurs soi-disant opposants.

1.2. La mort brutale comme conséquence de la lutte contre l’oppression

Rappelons que L’Exil ou la Tombe est un recueil de douze nouvelles présentées en deux parties. La première partie a comme grand titre ‘Le Berger Suprême’ alors que la deuxième partie est intitulé ‘Hôtes et Ôtages”.  Pour mieux comprendre le sort de ceux qui sont tués à cause de leur prise de position contre le pouvoir autoritaire, il s’avère nécessaire d’expliquer ces deux grands titres.

En effet, le berger est une personne qui garde un troupeau de moutons et le soigne (Augé: 111) La sécurité et le bien être des moutons doivent donc constituer la préoccupation primordiale du berger. Mais, le fait que le berger dont il s’agit dans l’œuvre soit qualifié de ‘suprême’ signifie qu’il est au- dessus de tout et que sa capacité de protéger son troupeau est redoutable. Dans le Nouveau Testament Traduction d’après le Texte Grec par Louis Segond (précisement dans l’évangile de Jean) un bon berger est décrit en ces termes : « Je suis le bon berger. Le bon berger donne sa vie pour ses brebis…Je suis le bon berger. Je connais mes brebis, et elles me connaissent…et je donne ma vie pour mes brebis. (Segond : 130-31)

Or, celui à qui Tchichelle Tchivela donne le titre du ‘Berger Suprême’ dans L’Exil ou la Tombe est le Tout-Puissant Président Yeli Boso, Père de la Nation (LEOLT p.45), Président de Tongwétani. Malheureusement, le soi-disant “Berger Suprême” et “Père de la Nation” n’a ni les attributs d’un berger ni ceux d’un père. Ce qui explique le fait que beaucoup de ses citoyens trouvent la mort.

Le mot « hôte » se définit comme celui qui reçoit un visiteur et lui accorde toute civilité et hospitalité. Le mot « otage » se réfère à celui/celle qui est arrêté/emprisonné/torturé/maltraité/retenu contre son gré. Les otages dans L’Exil ou la Tombe sont ceux qui n’entrent pas dans les rangs et sont pris en otages par d’autres ironiquement dits hôtes mais chez qui, en réalité, sont éteintes les dernières lueurs d’humanité. Ces derniers prennent des otages lors de coups d’Etat, de manifestations d’ouvriers ou de paysans, de grèves d’étudiants ou de fonctionnaires.

Beaucoup de sang a coulé dans L’Exil ou la Tombe. Nzasi Makandi, un autochtone tongwétanien qui, avec la collaboration d’autres progressistes tongwétaniens, prend le pouvoir pour libérer son pays du joug néo-colonial, est renversé avec la complicité des Euricains: « les paras euricains investissent les points stratégiques de la capitale, assassinèrent le président Nzasi Makandi dans son palais, où ils installèrent leur homme, notre Berger Suprême, le Tout-Puissant Dynaste, le Président Yeli Boso, Père de la Nation.” »(LEOLT p.27).

Dès le jour de retour au pouvoir du Berger Suprême une «pluie de sang commença de tomber » (LEOLT p.80). Ainsi, suite au changement de pouvoir à Mabaya la capitale de Tongwétani, « les nouveaux chefs arrêtent les anciens, ou bien les tuent » (LEOLT p.36).  Par exemple, le lieutenant Théo, chef des  paras étrangers, a ordonné aux paras de tirer sur les adolescents qui manifestaient devant l’ambassade de l’Eurique contre «le coup d’Etat de l’Eurique à Tongwétani » (LEOLT p.38).

Pioka qui a accueilli Mayaka-Mba quand celui-ci a fuit le pays fut torturé jusqu’à la mort (LEOLT p.39). Il y a aussi  la mort tragique du capitaine Alex M…dont le corps a été découvert étendu sur la tombe de Nil Habba. Ce parachutiste euricain installé à Talabika était accusé par le lieutenant Théo de trop aimer les nègres. Ce capitaine Alex M…

était un citoyen aux idées progressistes et non conformistes. Il était ce qu’on appelle en Eurique (et à Tongwétani) un communiste, autrement dit un citoyen aux idées progressistes et non conformistes…Homme de caractère, il révélait toujours ce qu’il pensait, si bien que cet officier de haute valeur intellectuelle avançait péniblement en grade. Il était en effet capitaine depuis douze ans, mais, loin de s’en plaindre, il assurait à ce propos: « Je n’ai pas la passion des gallons et je ne m’abaisserai jamais à les quémander » (LEOLT p.56)…il avait exprimé son hostilité à l’ «opération Bakatula » devant son chef hiérarchique:

« Nous n’avons pas le droit de nous ingérer ainsi dans les affaires intérieures d’un pays indépendant, ce n’est rien moins qu’un coup d’Etat » (LEOLT p.56).

La faute du capitaine, selon le régime, c’est qu’étant militaire, il est obligé d’exécuter l’ordre qu’on lui donne et qu’il ne devait pas se « distraire à jouer les professeurs de morale politique » (LEOLT p.56). Mal compris par les indigènes, soupçonné par les euricains, le capitaine Alex M… est tué le lendemain de l’ « opération Bakatula » pour venger le président Nzasi Makandi qui était tant admiré par les tongwétaniens.

Dans les sociétés dirigées par des leaders autocratiques, comme c’est le cas dans l’œuvre de Tchichelle Tchivela, plusieurs raisons sont souvent données pour tuer les opposants ou toute autre personne indésirable. C’est le cas de Wadymbala, l’amant de Susie, dans ‘Terre des anges’, qui est arrêté ostensiblement parce qu’il passait pour “un professeur agitateur très dangereux” (LEOLT p.99). Mais, en réalité, il est devenu un homme à abattre  et à mettre hors circuit tout simplement parce qu’on l’avait vu avec madame Suzie dans la maison de sa cousine Diyela où ils sont restés pendant longtemps. Or, Wadymbala devrait savoir que “madame Suzie est la femme d’Abwey-Tsa, un dignitaire de l’Etat” (LEOLT p.99).

Un autre exemple typique d’abus de pouvoir et d’impunité est illustré par le comportement de l’ex capitaine, le docteur Yita Gurka, qui est allé chez Mhang Hafu coucher avec la femme de celui-ci. En sortant de la maison de son amant il rencontre son mari à qui il  donne une liasse d’argent  en diasnt « Prends ça, et surtout ne fais pas d’histoire à ta femme » (LEOLT p.123). Comme réaction Mhang Hafu lui crache au visage et le frappe. Alors, le docteur Yita Gurka extirpe de l’intérieur de sa veste un pistolet automatique et tire sur Mhang Hafu. Ainsi, « L’arme à la main, la tête haute, le médecin rejoignit à pas lents sa Datsun et démarra aussitôt”(LEOLT p.124). Malgré le meurtre qu’il a commis la justice n’inquiéta pas le médecin. Il devient plutôt ministre dans le nouveau gouvernement de Yeli Boso!!!

1.3. Les morts dont les idées ne sont pas mortes

Dans L’Exil ou la Tombe l’auteur n’a pas manqué de décrire également des personnages qui sont morts, voire tragiquement, mais dont les idées ne sont pas mortes. Le combat qu’ils ont mené contre l’oppression  ainsi que leurs idées ont continué à donner l’impulsion aux vivants. Parmi ces personnages,  nous focaliserons notre attention sur trois d’entre eux, à savoir Cumba Tinho, Habba et Nilock O-Yadi qui adopte le nom Nil Habba à cause de son admiration pour Habba.

Commençons avec cette citation de l’auteur tragique grec Eschyle «Les imprécations s’accomplissent; vivants sont les morts couchés sous la terre; les victimes d’hier prennent en représailles le sang de leurs assassins» (LEOLT p, 196)  préposée à la dernière nouvelle ‘Vivants sont les morts’. Elle évoque la situation de tous les martyrs et les frustrés de la liberté dans les mémoires populaires. Tchichelle Tchivela décrit, dans cette nouvelle, l’expérience et la mort tragique de Cumba Tinho, un maquisard du Front de Libération de Bucuvinda, résolument engagé pour la libération du peuple de Bucuvinda sous domination néo-coloniale par les Tugas. Suite au viol de sa mère et à l’expropriation de son père de tous ses biens terriens par les Tugas, Cumba Tinho se retrouve alors engagé  au combat révolutionnaire. Ainsi ne manque –t-il pas de dire à son ami, Matos :

Écoute-moi bien Cunhado. Peut-être me traiteras-tu aussi de fou, mais sache une fois pour toutes que seule compte à mes yeux l’indépendance de mon pays. Et tant qu’elle ne sera devenue une réalité, je ne m’intéresserai à rien d’autre ici-bas… En outre, le bonheur n’immunise pas contre la mort. Alors s’il te plaît, laisse-moi me consacrer au seul bonheur valable à mes yeux: servir mon pays (LEOLT, p.232).

Cette déclaration révèle le degré du patriotisme et de la détermination de Cumba Tinho. Ce dernier est capturé puis torturé à mort. Mais, sa mort, jugée injuste, ravive les rancœurs et suscite l’action révolutionnaire chez les autres. En effet, sa disparition violente décide ses nombreux compatriotes, restés jusqu’alors apathiques, à prendre le parti de la lutte, à la fois pour honorer celui qu’ils considèrent comme un martyr de la liberté, venger sa mémoire et son sang versé. Même mort Cumba Tinho reste vivant dans l’esprit des siens qui vont continuer sa lutte contre l’injustice et l’oppression. Et comme le dit Tchichelle Tchivela, par le biais de Titi Diambangu, un autre maquisard: « Oui, frères, il n’y a qu’une façon d’honorer nos martyrs, qui est de vaincre leurs assassins. Séchons donc nos larmes, nao é, et allons renforcer notre maquis. Me croyez-vous? Le jour viendra où la liberté brillera sur notre patrie ». (LEOLT p. 235)

Un autre personnage-clé dont les idées ont exercé beaucoup d’influence sur son peuple est Habba. Célèbre joueur de football  et syndicaliste résolument hostile aux autorités coloniales de Tongwétani, il proclamait souvent des mots anticolonialistes, dont les lycéens se plaisaient à réciter par cœur des extraits. Ce qui lui  a valu de nombreuses arrestations. Il trouve la mort suite à une bombe qui a explosé un matin quand il travaillait dans son bureau. Sa mort tragique, survenant à la veille de l’indépendance de Tongwétani a permis au commis Yeli Boso, ainsi débarrassé de son redoutable rival, d’accéder sans difficulté au pouvoir.

Nilock O-Yadi (Nil Habba), de taille moyenne, plutôt mince avec un visage piqué comme la peau d’une orange, séquelle d’une variole qu’il avait contractée dans son enfance, portait toujours un béret noir, ce qui lui valut le soupçon de cacher une tête plaquée de teignes. On le chassait et on le méprisait partout où il se présentait parce qu’il sentait mauvais. A son passage les bourgeois crachaient de dégoût, se bouchaient le nez et s’éloignaient.  Or, ce personnage est paradoxalement un personnage central et symbolique dans L’Exil ou la Tombe. Selon Tchichelle lui même « rien ne prédestinait Nil Habba à devenir le héros de l’imagination populaire, et personne ne l’eût prévu de son vivant, personne » (LEOLT p.127)

En effet, après ses études primaires dans son village natal, Nilock O-Yadi s’est inscrit au lycée de Mabaya où, à la fin de chaque année, il s’honorait du ‘Prix d’Excellence’. Amateur de football, il allait souvent au stade applaudir son idole: le célèbre joueur Habba. Indigné par le meurtre de celui-ci qui d’autant plus était syndicaliste, Nilock O-Yadi décide de le ressusciter en lui pour défier et narguer les assassins de son héros. Il annonçe sa décision de se nommer désormais, Habba, Nil Habba. Il portait alors, comme le footballeur un béret noir, marchait comme lui en se dandinant, imitait sa voix tonitruante et protestait ainsi chaque fois qu’on l’appelait par son ancien nom: « Nilock O-Yadi est mort dans une explosion de bombe. Je m’appelle Nil Habba, Nil comme le grand fleuve égyptien, et Habba qui signifie ‘espoir’ en langue ntéto. Je suis l’espoir de toute l’Afrique, du Caire au Cap de Bonne Espérance ». (LEOLT p. 129).

C’est un personnage qui refuse de compromettre ses principes. Il est renvoyé du lycée parce qu’il refusait de reprendre sa première identité et quand les patrons euricains lui disent de changer de nom pour qu’on l’embauche il refuse de se plier à leur demande préférant vivre dans la misère plutôt que de renoncer à s’appeler Nil Habba.

Il convient de souligner que le choix du nom Nil Habba par  Nilock O-Yadi s’est fait dans  l’optique d’honorer la mémoire et de perpétuer la lutte de celui qui fut assassiné par le pouvoir autochtone avec la complicité de l’armée étrangère. Comme l’Egypte doit son existence au grand fleuve, le Nil, la référence à Habba devient un catalyseur qui va propulser les citoyens à l’action. Voici ce qu’en dit Kerbrat Marie Claire:

Par la reconnaissance du combat mené par Nil Habba contre l’oppression étrangère, le symbole de la résistance est élevé au rang de héros mythique… Il y a l’omniprésence de Nil Habba dans la conscience populaire. Ainsi, tout témoignage du respect, comme un culte qui lui est rendu la place au-dessus des personnages ordinaires, le fait entrer dans le panthéon des immortels. C’est pourquoi Nilock O Yadi, alias Nil Habba, engagé dans le combat libérateur, n’écoute plus sa peur jusqu’à son assassinat tragique et que, même mort, la lutte que ce héros a menée survit après lui. (LEOLT p.66).

Ce personnage qui se présentait partout où la dignité se dressait contre l’humiliation, l’honneur contre le défi, la vie contre la mort vit toujours dans la mémoire de son peuple qui l’a, pour ainsi dire, remis au monde en le citant régulièrement en exemple. Tout le monde, au pays, avait entendu parler de lui. Le cortège funèbre qui a accompagné Nil Habba à sa dernière demeure après trois jours de cotisations et trois nuits de la veillée funèbre dans tous les quartiers populaires de Mobaya souligne l’importance du personnage comme le montrent ces lignes:

Hommes et femmes, petits et grands, chiens et chats, pauvres et riches, coqs et corbeaux, aiglons et moutons, cars et mobylettes, nous avancions lentement, sous la pluie, derrière le corbillard: une camionnette sans carrosserie occupée par des gamins en pleurs qui étreignaient contre leur poitrine nue des couronnes de fleurs.

Dressés le long des trottoirs, le doigt à la gâchette, les militaires en tenue de combat nous menaçaient de tout l’éclat de leur regard. Mais, nullement intimidés, nous avancions en pleurant, nous avancions en chantant, nous avancions en priant, nous avancions, nous avancions. Après l’exemple de courage montré par Nil Habba, qui pouvait encore se permettre de céder à la panique et de détaler? Non, nous ne pouvions pas, en vérité. (LEOLT pp 125-126)

Nil Habba, étant bien connu de son vivant pour sa hardiesse et son effronterie, devient après sa mort un héros dont les gens croient entendre certaines nuits les exhorter à se soulever contre les oppresseurs étrangers et nationaux. Les citoyens sont optimistes et croient que leur héros ressuscitera, car Habba est ‘espoir’ et aucun tyran, aucune puissance, aucune arme ne peut tuer cet espoir.

Ainsi tous les maquisards qui se sont exilés et ceux qui luttent clandestinement à l’intérieur du pays ont comme obligation d’honorer les martyrs tels que Mayaka- Mba, Kor Dyla, Yandi K K, Cumba Tinho, Haba et Nilock O Yadi (alias Nil Habba) et de se rallier pour vaincre leurs assassins.

 

Conclusion

Au delà de l’exil ou de la tombe, il y a la lutte clandestine ou ouverte qui enfin de compte mènera un jour à la liberté. Ceux qui sont en exil comptent rentrer au pays parce qu’ils ne seront vraiment en sécurité que chez eux; l’exil étant une maison sans toit (LEOLT p.236) ils doivent donc lutter avec plus d’ardeur pour libérer leur patrie et y retourner aussitôt. On peut donc constater que ni la mort, ni l’exil ne peut pas décourager les autres patriotes démeurés au pays de continuer la lutte pour leur libération. Ainsi, la mort de Habba va servir de catalyseur à son fils Mayaka-Mba pour combattre l’injustice et l’oppression au sein de la société. Nilock O Yadi (alias Nil Habba), lui aussi, décide de perpétuer les idées et les idéologies de son idole, Habba et devient même plus ardent que lui. Le Front Nil Habba, authentique et unique représentant du peuple tongwétanien continue alors à servir de front pour la lutte contre la dictature néo-coloniale.

Pour Tchichelle Tchivella et d’autres écrivains africains, le moyen le plus efficace pour honorer les martyrs de la liberté tels que Cumba Tinho, Habba et Nilock O Yadi (allias Nil Habba) dont les idées sont restées vivantes dans la mémoire des Tongwétaniens et des Bucunvidais est de continuer la lutte pour vaincre les assassins et libérer le peuple. La voix la plus haute et la plus symbolique nous semble être celle de Nil Habba, personnage mort mais dont le souvenir et le message sont toujours gravés dans la mémoire du peuple qui l’a, pour ainsi dire, remis au monde en le citant régulièrement en exemple. Sans aucun doute, il symbolise leur espoir.

 

 

 

Bibliographie

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Augé C. 2009, Le Petit Larousse illustré. Paris, Editions-Larousse-fr.

 

Bede D. 2008, « Les liminaires paratextuels dans les recueils de Tchichelle Tchivela », Ethiopiques, n° 81, littérature, philosophie et art 2ème semestre.

 

Beti M. 1980, Longue est la nuit de Tchichelle Tchivela  dans ‘Peuples Noirs Peuples Africains’ n° 18.

Chemain R. et Chemain-Degrange A. 1979,  Panorama de la littérature congolaise Paris, Présence Africaine.

Dabla S. 1986, Nouvelles écritures africaines : Romanciers de la seconde génération. Paris, L’Harmattan.

Giri J. 1986, L’Afrique en panne : vingt-cinq ans de ‘développement’. Paris, Karthala.

Kerbrat M-C. 2000, Leçon littéraire sur l’héroïsme, Paris, P U F.

Makouta-Mboukou J-P. 1970, En quête de la liberté. Yaounde, Clé.

 

Pregay-Gros N. 1996, Introduction à l’intertextualité, Paris, Dunod.

Sabry, R. « Quand le texte parle de son paratexte », Poétique, n° 69, Seuil, 1987.

Samoyault T. 2001, L’intertextualité. Mémoire de la littérature, Paris, Nathan.

Segond L. 1962, Le Nouveau Testament, Traduction d’après le Texte Grec,  Paris, Nouvelles Editions Revue.

 

Tansi S.L. 1981, L’Etat honteux. Paris, Editions du Seuil.

Tansi S.L. 1981, La parenthèse de sang suivi de Je soussigné cardiaque. Paris, Hatiers.

 

Tchichelle T. 1986, L’Exil ou la tombe, Paris, Présence Africaine.

Tchichelle T. 1980, Longue est la nuit, Paris, Hatier.

L’USAGE DES LANGUES A DIFFA EN REPUBLIQUE DU NIGER

Emmanuel A. ONIETAN & Ibrahim MANZO

Département de Langues et de Linguistique,

Université de Maiduguri, Nigéria

 

Résumé

Cet article est le résultat d’une recherche menée à Diffa en 2008 sur les langues employées dans tous les domaines de la vie de cette ville située au sud-est de la république du Niger. En adoptant la théorie de Brann (1980b), dans un premier temps, les langues employées à Diffa en huit domaines, à savoir, marché, gare routière, service agricole, hôpital, service d’éducation, mairie, cour du roi et tribunal de justice. Après, ces domaines ont été élargis pour prendre en compte les rencontres (sportive et politique), le foyer et la mosquée. L’observation et le questionnaire étaient les deux principaux instruments de recherche utilisés. Mais les données recueillies ont été vérifiées par l’interview. Le résultat de la recherche est très révélateur : l’haoussa ; langue véhiculaire en Afrique sub-saharienne, domine sur les autres langues pratiquées à Diffa, y compris le kanouri qui est la langue indigène de la ville.

Mots clés: usage des langues, éducation, linguistique

Abstract

This article is the result of a research carried out at Diffa in 2008. The research centred on the use of languages in all the spheres of life in this town situated in the south east of Niger Republic. We adopted Brann’s (1980b) theory and classified, as a first step, the languages used in Diffa into eight domains which are: market, motor park agricultural establishments, hospital, educational institutions, local government council, palace and court. After, these domains were enlarged to take into consideration sporting events and political meetings, home and mosque. The main research instruments used for our data collection were observation and questionnaire However, through interviews, we are able to cross-check some of the data. The result of the research is very revealing: Hausa, a major lingua franca in sub-Saharan Africa, is used more than any other language in use in Diffa, including Kanuri which is the indigenous language of town.

Key words: use of  languages, education, linguistic

 

Arrière plan et Introduction

D’après l’Encarta (2004), le Niger est un pays enclavé d’Afrique occidentale à 700km de l’océan atlantique. Il est limité au nord par l’Algérie et la Lybie, à l’est par le Tchad, au sud par le Nigéria et le Bénin et à l’ouest par le Mali et le Burkina-Faso. La superficie du Niger est de 126700km, soit 23 fois celle de la France. Sa capitale est Niamey. Le Niger est un véritable trait d’union entre l’Afrique du nord et l’Afrique noire. Il est situé au cœur du Sahel et se caractérise par des conditions climatiques extrêmes. Il est respectivement divisé en sept régions et une capitale : Agadez, Diffa, Dosso, Maradi, Tahoua, Tillabéry, Zinder et Niamey. Selon le recensement général de 2006, sa population est de 13 millions d’habitants. Au Niger, il faut compter six groupes ethniques : les haoussas, les zarmas, les songhaïs, les touaregs, les peulhs et les kanouri. Située à l’extrême sud-est du Niger, la ville de Diffa compte aujourd’hui 31284 habitants d’après le recensement fait en 2006 par le projet d’appui à la communauté urbaine de Diffa (PACURD). Cette ville, située sur la route communément appelée RN1 (Route Nationale 1), est l’objet de notre étude. Il s’agit plus particulièrement d’étudier l’usage des langues utilisées dans cette commune urbaine. Nous avons choisi de traiter cette question dans le but de mettre en revue la situation sociolinguistique de cette ville située à 1360km de la capitale du pays. Nous sommes appuyés sur la théorie de certains chercheurs mais aussi nous sommes allés sur le terrain pour collecter nos données par le moyen des instruments suivants : questionnaire, observation et interview. Ayant collecté les données, nous les avons classées, présentées et analysées.

Le sujet de cet article est d’une grande importance sociolinguistique. Diffa était le domaine privilégié des kanouri parce que si quelqu’un disait à un passé lointain qu’il était de Diffa, on s’imaginait tout de suite qu’il parlerait kanouri. En effet, le kanouri paraissait comme la langue dominante jusqu’aux années récentes. C’est la langue maternelle de la grande majorité de la population. C’est la langue seconde des ethnies non kanouri et langue véhiculaire de toute la région. Avec la propagation rapide de la langue haoussa dans l’ensemble du territoire national, les autres langues à Diffa ont aujourd’hui divers statuts.

 

1. LITTERATURE PERTINENTE

D’après Nida et Wonderly (1971), on observe les langues dans un triple aspect. Il s’agit entre autres des langues ethniques parlées localement au niveau des groupes restreints pour la communication intra ethnique, les langues véhiculaires utilisées comme codes supra locaux au niveau des grandes divisions régionales et dans les villes pour la communication inter ethnique et la langue officielle employée sur l’ensemble du territoire national pour la communication inter régionale et pour les affaires administratives. Ces éléments qui fondent le statut social d’une langue doivent à leur tour être confrontés au statut juridique attribué à chaque langue par les législateurs qui seuls, déterminent la politique linguistique d’un pays/Brann (1980), en soutenant la thèse de Nida et Wonderly (op cit.), nous fait remarquer la classification suivante : Mother tongue, Other tongue et Further tongue.

Dans Sociolinguistics Newsletter volume 12 number 1 spring summer 1981, il a été question d’une collection des présentations de sujets sur la sociolinguistique. L’exposé qui nous intéresse le plus est celui intitulé « La modernité, la religion et l’identité régionale ». L’importance de cet exposé est de montrer le pouvoir relatif aux types de langues. Autrement dit, le pouvoir linguistique ne dépend pas uniquement de la statistique, il dépend de plusieurs facteurs sociolinguistiques.

Toujours dans Brann (1980), l’auteur a identifié seize domaines dans lesquels la langue est utilisée. Il s’agit de : assemblée générale, maison, bar, école, lieu de culte,  marché, bureau, bus, légion, communauté ; club, théâtre, dispensaire, tribunal, champ et atelier. Il les a regroupés en trois principaux domaines dont le privé, par exemple : la maison ; l’officiel, exemple : le bureau ; et le communal, exemple : le marché. Selon Brann(1990) encore, mais cette fois-ci dans language use in Maiduguri Monday Market, du début du siècle passé, le haoussa et le kanouri dominaient la région, mais le haoussa y domine aujourd’hui. Celui-ci est devenu le lingua franca dans le domaine commercial. Abanga (1995), dans sa dissertation intitulée Language use among Chadian immigrants in Maiduguri informe que généralement, la langue utilisée dans une communauté urbaine est dominée par le lingua franca comme cela a été le cas des tchadiens vivant à Maiduguri où ils parlent haoussa. Chez G. Vernes et J. Boulet dans Pratiques des langues en France II, on peut appréhender la diversité d’une langue sur au moins les plans suivants :

-toute langue est historiquement diversifiée, et du fait du changement linguistique, un état de langue au temps I est différent d’un état de langue au temps II.

-toute langue est socialement diversifiée selon l’origine géographique comme sociale des locuteurs, modifiant leurs façons de parler selon les situations sociales où ils se trouvent. C’est à partir de cette diversité fondamentale que les différents groupes sociaux construisent leurs domaines sociolinguistiques.

 

 

2. CADRE THEORIQUE ET METHODOLOGIQUE

Brann (1980) a identifiés seize domaines dans lesquels la langue est utilisée. Il s’agit de : assemblée générale, maison, bar, école, lieu de culte,  marché, bureau, bus, légion, communauté ; club, théâtre, dispensaire, tribunal, champ et atelier. Il les a regroupés en trois principaux domaines. Il s’agit du privé, l’officiel et du commercial. Sur la base de cette approche, notre descente sur le terrain s’est avérée obligatoire pour obtenir les données nécessaires. En fait, les langues parlées au Niger sont les suivantes : le français, l’anglais, le haoussa, le zarma, le fulfulde, le kanouri, le  tamasheq, le toubou, l’arabe et le gourma. Pour la collecte de données, nous avons utilisés plusieurs instruments de recherche. En dehors des visites sur les lieux comme l’école, la mairie, l’hôpital, le marché, gare routière, mosquée, tribunal de justice, foyers, etc., nous avons utilisé le questionnaire et l’interview. Notre souci était de trouver la réponse à la question suivante : Qui parle quoi et avec qui ?

2.1. Les instruments utilisés :

2.1.1. Observations

Au cours de cette enquête, nous avons visité les lieux suivants :

  1. Marché : cette visite nous a permis d’observer de près, les conservations ente les personnes, notamment les vendeurs et les clients ;
  2. Gare routière : les dialogues étaient d’un coté entre les passagers eux-mêmes et de l’autre entre ceux-ci et le chauffeur ;
  3. Service agricole : il s’agissait pour nous d’identifier les langues parlées dans ce secteur important. On a eu à déterminer la langue utilisée par les fonctionnaires et les agriculteurs, ensuite ceux-ci entre eux-mêmes ; enfin les dans lesquelles les instructions sont données à l’oral ou à l’écrit ;
  4. Hôpital : l’objectif était d’identifier les langues parlées par les patients, le personnel et l’administration ;
  5. Service d’éducation : ici, c’étaient les écoles qui sont concernées, du primaire au secondaire. Nous avons soulignés cinq niveaux de communication :

–          Administration et élèves ;

–          Professeurs et élèves en classe ;

–          Professeurs dans la salle des professeurs ;

–          Elèves entre eux pendant la récréation ;

–          Directeur ou proviseur à l’assemblée générale ;

  1. Mairie : pour nous, il est important de savoir la langue utilisée entre le maire et les employés, entre les employés eux-mêmes et ceux-ci avec la population :
  2. Cour du roi : il s’agissait de savoir la langue que parle le chef au cours d’un jugement, sa langue de communication avec son entourage et enfin avec les visiteurs ;
  3. Tribunal de justice : nous voulions savoir la langue utilisées par les juges au cours des procès-verbaux et lors de séances de jugement.

2.1.2. Questionnaire

Notre questionnaire était une liste formelle de questions spécialement utilisées dans un sondage officiel. C’était un ensemble de questions auxquelles un certain nombre de personnes ont répondu. Celui-ci a été utilisé pour trouver les langues parlées dans la ville de Diffa à travers des domaines spécifiques. Dans ce type d’enquête macro sociolinguistique, on cherche aussi à interroger un échantillon représentatif de la population concernée. Le questionnaire comportait les détails suivants:

–          La fiche d’état civil : nom et prénoms, âge, profession, scolarisation, religion, ethnie ;

–          Une fiche de communication hors de la maison : atelier, école, lieu de sport, lieu politique, marché, administration etc.

 

3. PRESENTATION ET ANALYSE DES DONNEES

Il s’agit dans cette partie du travail de présenter et d’analyser l’usage des langues dans les situations diverses. C’est-à-dire, observer et analyser les réponses aux diverses questions posées dans le questionnaire. En effet, notre procédure consistait à mettre en parallèle l’emploi des langues suivantes : le français, l’anglais, le haoussa, le fulfulde, le kanouri, et très souvent, le zarma, l’arabe, le toubou et le gourma qui constituent la minorité. Cette analyse a été vérifiée non seulement par l’interview mais aussi par une observation dans les six principaux quartiers de Diffa. Nous avons identifié les variables situationnelles suivantes:

–          Langues utilisées par tranche d’âge ;

–          Langues utilisées au lycée ;

–          Langues utilisées au service agricole ;

–          Langues utilisées au marché ;

–          Langues utilisées dans les rencontres sportives ;

–          Langues utilisées dans les rencontres politiques ;

–          Langues utilisées au foyer ;

–          Langues utilisées à la mosquée ;

–          Langues utilisées à la mairie ;

–          Langues utilisées à la gare routière :

–          Langues utilisées à la justice de paix ;

–          Langues utilisées à l’hôpital ;

–          Langues utilisées à la cour du chef traditionnel ;

–          Langues d’écoute de la radio :

Comme les réponses aux questions n’étaient pas assez suffisantes, nous avons jugé nécessaire de faire une descente sur le terrain en vue d’une observation dans les lieux les plus fréquentés de la ville. En outre, nous nous sommes intéressés à l’oral car la plupart des langues nationales et locales demeurent encore sans écriture. Pour des raisons pratiques et objectives, nous comparons les langues déjà citées tout en considérant les langues minoritaires. Le français est la langue officielle du pays : l’haoussa est l’une des principales langues nationales ; la kanouri et le fulfulde sont les deux langues locales de la région de Diffa. Le zarma, le toubou et l’arabe constituent les minorités.

Nous fixons en effet les limites de cette présentation en ne prenant en compte que des locuteurs ayant déclaré parler au moins une des langues mentionnées.

3.1. Les langues parlées par tranche d’âge

Dans cette présentation, nous avons reparti la population en tranche d’âge. L’utilisation que les locuteurs des quartiers font des langues varie en fonction de l’âge des sujets. Pour traiter cette question, établissons le tableau ou la variable d’âge est croisée avec les langues parlées. Pour un échantillon de 200 personnes touchées par l’enquête, nous avons obtenu ceci :

 

Tableau 1 : langues utilisées par tranche d’âge.

Echantillon: 200 personnes

 

LANGUES UTILISEES

10-20 ans

(31)

21-35 ans

(118)

36-50 ans

(51)

KANOURI

25.80%

(8)

14.40%

(17)

19.60%

(10)

HAOUSSA

64.51%

(20)

56.77%

(67)

35.29%

(18)

FULFULDE

12.90%

(4)

18.64%

(22)

25.49%

(13)

FRANCAIS

6.45%

(2)

7.62%

(9)

7.84%

(4)

Le pourcentage peut être trouvé en utilisant la formule suivante :

Nombre de locuteurs d’une langue*100

Nombre total de personnes de tranche d’âge

Il est clairement indiqué que le haoussa domine toutes les langues tant au niveau de la population jeune qu’adulte. Cela est dû au fait que les haoussas est utilisé presque partout et dès le bas âge. Pour les jeunes de moins de vingt ans, l’haoussa y domine. Bien qu’elles soient les langues locales de Diffa, les langues de fulfulde et de kanouri y soient moins utilisées surtout chez toutes les tranches d’âge. Ici, le français qui est la langue officielle n’est pas qu’une affaire de bureau ou d’école.

 

3.2. Langues utilisées au lycée

Lors de l’enquête, les écoles étaient en vacances. Il n’y avait que très peu d’élèves en classes d’examens qui ont subi l’enquête. La majorité de l’échantillon est composée des manœuvres et quelques enseignants. Pour une population de cinquante personnes, nous avons eu les résultats suivants :

 

Tableau 2 : langues parlées au lycée de Diffa

Population: 50

LANGUES

NOMBRE DE LOCUTEURS

POURCENTAGE

KANOURI

5

10%

FRANCAIS

13

26%

FULFULDE

8

16%

HAOUSSA

24

48%

AUTRES

0

0

La formule utilisée pour trouver le pourcentage dans les tableaux 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 est la suivante :

Nombre de locuteurs *100

Nombre total de personnes enquêtées

L’haoussa avec un pourcentage élevé (48%) demeure la langue de communication en dehors des classes. Le français avec (26%), vient e deuxième position. Cela ne surprend pas car, c’est de l’école qu’il s’agit. C’est la langue d’instruction dans toutes les écoles. Les enseignants et les autorités communiquent en français. Mais le fulfulde et le kanouri y sont rarement utilisés.

3.3. Langues utilisées au service agricole de Diffa

Nous avons pris en compte que des sujets ayant déclaré être agriculteurs ou agents dudit service. Le nombre de personnes enquêtées est de cinquante et les données sont les suivants :

Tableau 3 : au service agricole

Population : 50

LANGUES

NOMBRE DE LOCUTEURS

POURCENTAGE

HAOUSSA

23

46%

FULFULDE

14

28%

KANOURI

8

16%

FRANCAIS

5

10%

AUTRES

0

0

L’haoussa, avec 46.%, est la langue parlée dans ce milieu très fréquenté par la population de la ville de Difffa. Celui-ci est la lingua franca de la grande majorité des Nigeriens. A cause de la multitude d’ethnique venant des régions différentes, l’haoussa domine et constitue un moyen facile de communication. Les instructions sont pour la plupart données aux agriculteurs en haoussa. La formation et les séminaires sont faits dans cette même langue. Les agents communiquent rarement dans d’autres langues. Ceux-ci utilisent le français. Le fulfulde vient en deuxième position avec 28%, car certains agriculteurs se retrouvent mieux dans leur langue maternelle. Il y va de même pour le kanouri occupant cependant la troisième position avec 16%.

3.4. Langues utilisées au marché

Tableau 3

Population: 50

LANGUES

NOMBRE DE LOCUTEURS

POURCENTAGE

KANOURI

11

22%

FRANCAIS

1

2%

FULFULDE

6

12%

HAOUSSA

29

58%

AUTRES

0

0

 

L’importance de l’haoussa peut être liée au fait que les disciplines sportives pratiquées sont purement et simplement traditionnelle et très peu de course de vitesse. Ces activités sont organisées et parrainées par les autorités coutumières et municipales. Les noms donnés aux chevaux, et les reportages sont faits en haoussa suivis du fulfulde et ensuite du kanouri. Le français est totalement absent car très peu des instruits figurent parmi les spectateurs.

La formule qui a été appliquée pour trouver les résultats du tableau de l’observation est la suivante :

Nombre total des fréquences d’une langue*100

Nombre total de langues utilisées

3.5. Langues utilisées dans les rencontres politiques

Pour une population de 44 personnes enquêtées nous avons eu les résultats suivants :

Tableau 4 : langues utilisées dans les rencontres politiques

Population: 44

LANGUES

NOMBRE DE LOCUTEURS

POURCENTAGE

HAOUSSA

20

45.45%

FRANCAIS

1

2.27%

KANOURI

11

25%

FULFULDE

11

25%

AUTRES

1

2.27%

 

Le pourcentage de kanouri et celui de fulfulde sont à pieds égal en matière d’emploi. Ces deux langues locales viennent toutefois après l’haoussa  avec un long décalage. Malgré la limitation des activités politiques aux élections municipales et locales, l’haoussa prend le devant. Dans les sièges des partis politiques localisés dans la ville de Diffa, les discours et les annonces sont d’abord prononcés e haoussa et ensuite interprétés e kanouri et en fulfulde.

Le français, qui a le même taux d’utilisation que le groupe des minorités est très peu utilisé car c’est une affaire de masse. Les politiciens, presque tous, communiquent dans les langues locales pour mieux gagner le vote et la confiance du bas peuple.

 

3.6. Langues utilisées au foyer

Pour un échantillon de 47 personnes, nous avons obtenu les résultats suivants :

Tableau 7: au foyer

LANGUES

NOMBRE DE LOCUTEURS

POURCENTAGE

FULFULDE

17

36.17%

FRANCAIS

2

4.25%

KANOURI

18

38.29%

HAOUSSA

10

21.27%

 

Nous avons tenu en compte des familles dont la langue maternelle est l’une de celles qui figurent sur le tableau ci-dessus. Le kanouri semble légèrement dominer le fulfulde qui, lui aussi s’est totalement démarqué du haoussa. Cette situation est due au fait que les familles, notamment autochtones de Diffa, s’expriment plus dans leurs dialectes. Le haoussa na pas exercé son influence sur les chefs de familles ou des âges apparemment conservateurs de traditions. Quand au français avec un taux relativement faible (4.25%), il n’a pas sa place ici.

 

3.7. Langues d’écoute de la radio

Il convient ici de préciser que nous avons tenu en compte seulement des auditeurs de la radio car à Diffa très rares sont ceux qui semblent intéressées par la radio.

Pour une population de 44 personnes enquêtées nous avons retenu ceci :

Tableau 4 : A la radio

Population : 44

LANGUES

NOMBRE DE LOCUTEURS

POURCENTAGE

FULFULDE

3

6.817%

FRANCAIS

12

27.27%

KANOURI

06

13.63%

HAOUSSA

22

50%

 

A la radio, le constat est clair car la population de la ville de Diffa est trop intéressée par les informations diffusées par les chaines de radios nationale et internationale en haoussa comme la BBC et la voix de l’Amérique. Le français qui vient après l’haoussa en deuxième position est surtout utilisé dans le journal et d’autres émissions de radio France International (RFI). Les auditeurs de fulfulde et de kanouri sont très rares.

 

4. OBSERVATIONS

En outre, l’observation nous a aidé tout d’abord à identifier un certain nombre de lieux populaires et ensuite les regrouper dans un tableau récapitulatif : justice mosquée, gare routière, hôpital, cour du roi, mairie.

Les gilles de notation  utilisées en vue de mesurer l’emploi de la langue sont les suivantes :

  • Très fréquemment(4) ;
  • fréquemment(3) ;
  • Souvent (2) ;
  • Rarement (1) ;
  • Jamais (0) ;

La formule appliquée pour trouver les résultats du tableau de l’observation est la suivante :

Nombre total de fréquence d’une langue*100

Nombre Total de langues utilisées

 

LOCUTEURS

FRANCAIS

HAOUSSA

KANOURI

FOULFOULDE

AUTRES

MOSQUEE

Prière journalière

0

0

0

0

4

Prière du vendredi

0

3

0

0

4

Récitation du coran

0

0

0

0

4

Prêche

0

4

0

0

3

Total

0

7

0

0

15

Pourcentage

0%

31.80%

0%

0%

68.18%

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAIRIE

Maire- employés

4

2

0

0

0

Maire- public

2

2

2

0

0

Administration

4

0

1

1

0

Annonce publique

1

3

2

2

0

Circulaire

4

0

0

0

0

Employés-public

2

2

2

2

0

Total

17

9

07

5

0

Pourcentage

44.73%

23.73%

18.42%

13.40%

20%

 

 

 

 

 

 

GARE ROUTIERE

Employés-passagers

1

3

2

2

2

Passagers chauffeurs

0

3

2

2

1

Chauffeurs-employés

1

2

1

1

2

Total

2

8

5

5

5

Pourcentage

8%

32%

20%

20%

20%

 

 

 

 

 

JUSTICE

Jugement

2

3

1

1

0

Verdict

4

2

1

1

0

Juge-accusés

2

2

1

1

0

Juge- public

2

2

1

1

0

Total

10

9

4

4

0

Pourcentage

37.03%

33.33%

14.81%

14.81%

0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOPITAL

Médecin-infirmier

4

3

1

1

1

Infirmier-patient

2

3

2

2

1

Bloc-administratif

3

2

1

1

1

Ordonnance

4

0

0

0

0

Total

13

8

4

4

3

Pourcentage

40.62%

25%

12.50%

12.50%

9.37%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COUR DU ROI

Chef-entourage

2

1

4

0

0

Chef-visiteurs

0

3

2

0

0

Entours-visiteurs

2

3

2

0

0

Notables

2

3

3

2

0

Total

6

10

11

2

0

Pourcentage

14.28%

28.57%

4¨6.4¨2%

10.71%

0%

 

4.1. Analyse des données dans des lieux observés.

A la mosquée, le français, le kanouri et fulfulde ne sont pas trop utilisés ? Par contre, l’arabe et l’haoussa y sont utilisés. L’arabe a largement dominé avec 68.18%. Cela est normal car les versets du coran et les prières sont récités en arabe.

A la mairie de Diffa, c’est le français qui prend le devant avec 44.73% à la justice de paix de Diffa avec 37.03% et à l’hôpital avec 40.62%. Cette situation ne surprend pas car tous les trois lieux sont des services publics. C’est la langue officielle qui s’impose.

A la cour du chef traditionnel, c’est donc le kanouri qui a largement dominé avec 46.42%. Cela s’explique du fait que c’est le monopole de la tradition. Le chef lui-même et presque l’ensemble de son entourage sont des kanouri. C’est donc le kanouri qui est privilégié. Mais la seule langue utilisée dans les activités du chef traditionnel est l’haoussa avec 28.57%.

Quant à la gare routière, c’est l’haoussa qui est le plus utilisé avec 32%.

 

5. TABLEAU RECAPITULATIF

DOMAINES

FRANCAIS

HAOUSSA

KANOURI

FULFULDE

AUTRES

Mosquée

0

31.80%

0

0

33.06%

Mairie

44.73%

23.68%

18.42%

13.15%

0

Gare routière

8%

32%

20%

20%

20%

Justice

37.03%

33.33%

14.41%

14.41%

0

Hôpital

40.62%

25%

12.50%

12.50%

9.37%

Cour du roi

11.36%

28.57%

46.42%

10%

0

Media

27.27%

50%

13.63%

6.81%

0

Lycée

26%

4¨8%

10%

16%

0

Service agricole

10%

4¨6%

16%

28%

0

Rencontres sportives

2%

58%

22%

12%

6%

Rencontres politiques

22.72%

45.45%

25%

25%

22.72%

Marché

2%

58%

22%

12%

6%

Foyer

4.25%

21.27%

38.29%

36.17%

0

Total

235.98%

501.10%

259.07%

207.1%

97.14%

 

En résumé, on peut calculer l’ensemble des pourcentages des langues utilisées à Diffa en utilisant la formule suivante :

Pourcentage totale d’une langue

Nombre total de domaines

En appliquant la formule mentionnée ci-dessus, nous avons obtenu les résultats suivants:

  • HAOUSSA : 38.54%
  • KANOURI : 19.92%
  • FRANÇAIS : 18.15%
  • FULFULDE : 15.93%
  • AUTRES : 7. 47%

A partir de cette analyse, nous pouvons dire que dans l’ensemble, l’usage des langues à Diffa se traduit comme suit : la domination haoussa avec 38.53% ne nous pas car elle est la première langue nationale du pays. Elle est la plus parlée dans tout le territoire et plus particulièrement à Diffa.

Le kanouri occupe la deuxième position. C’est normal et c’est convenu. Cela s’explique par le fait que la région de Diffa est habitée majoritairement par les mangas, les kanenbu, les dowo etc qui parle tous des dialectes de kanouri. Ce sont ainsi les autochtones de cette ville. La langue est parlée dans les foyers, au marché, et à des cérémonies traditionnelles. Elle est aussi et surtout la langue du chef coutumier et des personnes âgées conservatrices des traditions.

Le français, avec 18.15% vient en troisième position. De toute évidence, Diffa est la capitale de la région. Elle est habitée par des fonctionnaires. Il y a ainsi plusieurs services publics et privés. Ces employés, en majorité, venus d’autres régions du pays, communiquent en français surtout dans les bureaux. Elle est aussi la langue d’instruction à l’école. Les correspondances, les notes de services, les affiches, les circulaires et les communiqués sont faits en français langue officielle.

Le fulfulde avec 15.93%n’est pas parlé dans la ville de Diffa même si par ailleurs elle est l’une des langues locales de la région. Cela est dû au fait que les foulbé ne parlent leur langue qu’entre eux. Il est rare de voir par exemple un kanouri ou un haoussa de Diffa s’exprimé en fulfulde. Ils sont presque partout dans la ville, mais ils ne parlent que le haoussa et très rarement le kanouri.

Entre autres langues qui se partagent les 7.47%, il y a l’arabe, le zarma, le toubou, et le gourma. Malgré sa bonne place de deuxième langue nationale du pays, le zarma rejoint le groupe des minorités à Diffa. Parmi celle-ci, c’est l’arabe qui semble être plus utilisé et cela grâce aux exigences religieuses. Autrement dit, dans l’islam, les versets du saint coran sont écrits et prononcés en arabe, les prières sont faites dans cette langue. Cette analyse nous amène à attirer l’attention des ressortissants de Diffa composés majoritairement de kanouri et de fulbé sur la montée en flèche d’haoussa devenu incontestablement la langue des affaires. Celle-ci a progressivement  procédé à une mise à l’écart des langues locales. Apprendre une langue, c’est aussi consommé sa culture. On assistera d’un jour à l’autre, à l’abandon total de nos propres cultures pourtant riche.

 

Conclusion

Comme dans toute autre ville du Niger, à Diffa aussi, on peut aujourd’hui parler du multilinguisme, ne serait-ce qu’à un taux relativement faible. En effet, une dizaine de langue y sont parlées par une population d’un peu plus de 25.000 habitants. Il a été question pour nous de porter beaucoup d’intérêts seulement sur quatre langues. Il s’agit entre autres, du kanouri, du fulfulde, de l’haoussa et du français.

Pour mener à bien cette recherche et le souci de trouver des résultats concrets et objectifs, nous avons utilisés non seulement des documents écrits mais aussi et surtout des instruments tels que l’observation, le questionnaire et l’interview. Cette méthode qui consistait à faire une descente sur le terrain nous a permis d’obtenir les résultats suivants : haoussa (38.53%) ; kanouri (19.92%) ; français (18.15%) ; fulfulde (15.93%) et le groupe des autres composé de zarma, gourma, arabe, toubou et tamesheq se partagent 7.47%. A travers cette analyse, il ressort clairement que l’haoussa est le plus parlé à Diffa. Cela ne surprend pas car c’est la langue majoritaire du territoire nigérien. Dans presque tous les lieux fréquentés les plus fréquentés de la ville de Diffa, on ne parle que cette langue qui était encore très peu utilisée dans un passé récent. Voilà notre modeste contribution.

 

Références

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Brann, C. M. B. (1980a): Mother tongue Other tongue further tongue. Inaugural lecture (1979). Maiduguri: University of Meduguri Press.

Brann, C. M. B. (1980b): Domains of incidence in the Nigerian Triglottic configuration. D.Ibriszimov et al. (eds.) von Agypten zum Tschadsee-ene linguistishe Reise durch Afrika. Festschrift fur Hermann Jungraithmayr. Wùrzburg, Ergon.

Brann, C. M. B. (1990): “Language Use in Maiduguri Metropolitan” In: L.J.Calvé (ed.). Des langues e des villes. Paris: Didier-Erudition.

Encarta Deluxe Encyclopédia (2004) : Article « Niger » pour la partie historique.

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Nida, E. A. et Wonderly, W. L.(1971) « communication roles of languages in multilingual societies.” In Whitely, W. H. (ed) Language use and social change. London: OUP for International African Institute.

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