SOCIOLINGUISTIC INVESTIGATION OF THE PROVERBS IN OLA ROTIMI’S THE GODS ARE NOT TO BLAME, KURUNMI AND OVONRAMWEN NOGBAISI
Sociolinguistics is a branch of linguistics that focuses on the study of any or all aspects of the society, including cultural norms, values and beliefs. It investigates the relationship between language and the society for better understanding of the structure of language and how it functions in communication. The English language is a living and dynamic language and because of this, it is flexible and open to changes that occur everywhere it is used. The socio-cultural setting and the values of the Nigerian people have influenced the use of the larnguage in the country. Many researchers have noted that proverbs form a formidable part of both the spoken and written discourse in the English speaking world, especially Nigeria where the language is used as a very important second language. In all cultures, proverbs function like moral codes, conventional wisdom and explicit rules of conduct. They also contain the wisdom of the sages in the form of prescriptions and counsel for a successful life. In the Yoruba Speech Community of Nigeria to which Ola Rotimi belonged, proverbs are considered as multifunctional and flexible instruments of language. They are employed for social relationships, for performing routine activities and for reflecting awareness of the environment. It is an indubitable fact that some works have been done on the use of proverbs in literary texts; however, the sociolinguistics of proverbs in the plays of Ola Rotimi has not been explored. Therefore, the aim of the study was to analyse the proverbs in Ola Rotimi’s three selected drama texts from sociolinguistic standpoint. Specifically, the objectives of this study were to (i) determine the universality or otherwise of the use of proverbs, (ii) ascertain the demographic implications of the use of proverbial expressions and (iii) assess the motives or causes of proverbial usage.