Portrayal of Children and Adults in Ewe Proverbs

Emmanuel Dogbey, Georgina Sapaty


Traditional database access mechanisms use role based methods and attribute based information to present and store facts. Ewes have the belief that every adult portrays the child s/he was, and every child portrays the adult s/he will become, and in every society, children grow to become the adult whose traits they exhibit in childhood. As such, some of such adult traits are believed to be part of their behavior patterns in their stages of life and growth. The saying that ‘agble si le nu wɔ ge la xi mee wokpɔnɛ lena (the bumper of a harvest is seen in the growth of the seedlings)” emphasises the futuristic view of Ewes on their children. Generally, folklore, for centuries, has been a tool for various social functions and a treasure of knowledge. Among the Ewes, oral tradition has been, and is playing fundamental and advanced roles in the study of various folkloric and narrative elements and proverbs are not an exception. Proverbs, as the philosophical views of societies, provide extensive data for folkloric studies. In reality, proverbs and other figurative expressions as well as indirect and direct expressions project pictorial concepts about a people. These provide a password for in-depth study about a people, and in this context the Ewe people. This study investigates how proverbs reveal who a child or adult is in the wisdom of the Ewes. This informs on how the needy and the weak are seen and catered for among Ewes as well as how role performance and responsibility measures are regulated among Ewes. The study employs contextual and functional approaches on studying this concept in the natural setting. Data was collected through documents, interviews, group discussions and native speaker intuitions. Data from primary sources were recorded, transcribed and translated for analysis. The analysis was in logical narrative form. It shows that children are part of the community, embodying past and future traditions of a society. They are viewed as valuable and immature hence need care, love, affection and much attention while elders are viewed as knowledgeable, experienced, wise, and custodians of culture and tradition as well as agents of their transmission. In addition, age and gender were found to be regulating or skewing expressions involving child-adult relations when proverbs are used. It views literature as the blend of knowledge, culture and architecture and their employment is performing acceptable sociocultural roles. The study concludes that the substance of the content, the text and the intentions for speech performances involving proverbs and others are controlled by relational parameters of gender, age, appearance, environment (habitat, climate, space and time), roles and responsibilities, context and purpose of the speech occasion.

DOI: 10.7176/RHSS/9-2-14

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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