Interpretation and Analysis of Proverbs in Things Fall Apart
Proverbs are wise sayings that address the heart of the discourse in anygiven context, truthfully and objectively. In Africa and in Nigerian culturesespecially, they are considered the reliable horses, which convey meanings totheir destinations or hearts of the listeners. This study investigates aspects of
the meaning of proverbs in the work of a Nigerian author, Achebe’s Thi
ngsFall Apart. It is contended that meanings of Nigerian proverbs can be workedout within the semantic, referential, ideational, stimulus-response, realist andcontextual theories. Types of meaning and proverbs are addressed andsituated within the two works. It is advanced that proverbs play significantroles in clarifying, exemplifying, underscoring and influencing communication.With the broadly analyzed proverbs
the study attempts to further demonstrate the vitality of semantics and pragmatics in negotiating meaningespecially in a second language context.Proverbs are common features of conversational eloquence in many African
cultures, especially in Nigeria. Such “wise sayings” are usually acquired andlearnt from listening to the elders’
talk. Given the vintage position that theelders occupy in various African traditions as the human repository of communal or primordial wisdom, they are the masters of eloquence, rhetoricand meaning. They are the ones who know how to impregnate shortexpr
essions with vast meanings, implicating the proverb, “it is the elder’smouth that determines a ripe kola nut”.
Several definitions of the term “proverb” abound in literature. The central ideain the definitions is that a proverb is “an adage, saying, maxi
m, precept, saw
or any synonym of such that expresses conventional truth”.