Proverbs as Custodians of Native Wisdom Essay

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Rhetorical devices are essential ‘condiments’ of every interesting discourse, since no discourse can be effective without them. Hence, Harris (2008) asserts that in every text, they are next in importance to appropriate and clear thesis, sufficient supporting arguments as well as logical and progressive arrangement of ideas. The beauty and effect inherent in rhetorical devices reside in their being potential persuasive tools, especially in argumentative discourses, court room discourse, for instance. Consequently, Onyemelukwe and Alo (2011) identify them as indispensable ‘ingredients’ of court room linguistic persuasive strategies.

The foregoing indicates that rhetorical devices are discourse strategies that go with beauty of expression.
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That proverb conveys native wisdom implies that they also serve the indispensable purpose of cultural transmission from one generation to another. See definition (a) above. In other words, proverbs catalyse the process of socialisation at community level, i.e., enculturation. Proverbs, by extension, enhances the process of acculturation. Consequently, a set of proverbs can rightly be viewed as terse expressions of the native wisdom of its host ethno-linguistic milieu as reflected. Native wisdom refers here to the worldviews, philosophies and ideologies as well as the ethos and pathos autonomous to a particular ethno-linguistic entity. Consequently, Akporobaro (ibid.) states that the beauty and value of proverbs reside in their delightfulness as well as in their moral and philosophic force. In sum, following its definitions above, (e, i, j and k) particularly, a proverb must be wisely didactic to serve as a useful discourse strategy.

Proverb as a rhetorical device can be denotatively (literally) or connotatively (contextually) interpreted. To access the native wisdom stored in a proverb, however, its interpretation must be contextualised. In other words, orators as seen in TFA use proverbs to yield pure pragmatic meanings, not literal or semantic ones. Hence, among the Igbo’s it is

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