Ibadan Journal of Humanistic Studies

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Representations of Women in YoruÌbaì Proverbs: A Critical Dialogic Analysis of Stances in the Nigerian Socio-Cultural Context

Adetutu Aragbuwa


This paper examines some gender-inclined YorubÌ a ì proverbs used in the Nigerian cultural context. Several scholars have examined representations of women in YorubÌ a ì proverbs; however, there is paucity of research in the application of a critical dialogic approach to the portrayal of how women are represented in YorubÌ a ì proverbs. Hence, the paper aims at elucidating the implicit dialogic portrayal of stances in select YorubÌ a ì proverbs and the dialogic functions of the implicitness in the furtherance of female subjugation in the YorubÌ a ìsocio-cultural context. The data comprises fifty (50) genderinclined YoruÌba proverbs which were purposively selected from published and unpublished sources. Bakhtin's Critical Dialogic approach with relevant aspects of Du Bois' Stance Triangle serves as the theoretical framework. The paper demonstrates that female subjugation in proverbs can only be fully established if the proverbs are dialogically examined by investigating who is speaking, who or what is being targeted and what the speaker is reacting to. It, therefore, concludes that YorubÌ a ìproverbs on women are object-centered as opposed to subject-centered acts of positioning in conversational interactions and the elusiveness of the speaking subjects in the proverbs functions as a dialogic hedge meant to downplay the speakers' subjective committal to the proverbs.

Keywords: YorubÌ a ìproverbs, stances, the stance triangle, dialogues, critical dialogism

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