A Pragma-Stylo-Semantic Analysis of Proverbs 26, Verses 4 and 5

  • Joseph Omoniyi Friday-Otun University of Ilorin
Keywords: Pragmatics, Stylistics, Semantics, The book of Proverbs, Amenemope, Contexts


Although, the majority view of scholars supports the position that the Proverbs of Solomon are influenced by the Instructions of Amenemope of ancient Egypt, the book of Proverbs is believed by Christians to be one of the poetic books of the Bible known for words of wisdom. The first twelve verses of chapter twenty-six are devoted to the fool. With the possibility of being drawn into conversation with the fool, verses four and five become instructive to the wise. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that a pragma-stylo-semantic interpretation of these verses cancels out the overt contradiction. The semantic and pragmatic presuppositions, as well as the stylistic features of the verses are unravelled to arrive at the underlying connections that unify their interpretations. Also, time-lapse or gap is considered fundamental and analysed using the concept of “appropriateness” in terms of possible compliance with the instructions in the two verses by a single agent. The paper proposes a schematic diagram supportive of the concept of "appropriateness”. The various levels of linguistic, situational, psychological, sociological and cosmological contexts of the text have been examined with the illocutionary forces of the text investigated. These are done with the purpose of arriving at a "global" or "total" meaning. At the end, the analysis indicates a non-contradictory, context-determined phenomenon.

Author Biography

Joseph Omoniyi Friday-Otun, University of Ilorin
Dr. Joseph Omoniyi Friday-Otun is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages at the University of Ilorin.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2026-6596