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Ibani Oral Literature: The Missing Link

Jones M. Jaja


Language has long been considered as one of the most important attributes of cultural identity. So has literature. Indeed, language and literature are so closely linked in this respect that the great Slavic poet, Constantine the philosopher said, as early as the ninth century, that people without books in their language are naked and can be compared to a body deprived of proper food. To reaffirm and consolidate the identity of the Slavic people, then under foreign domination, Constantine went ahead to develop his own vernacular dialect into a literary and liturgical language that came to be known in philology as Old Church Slavonic. This paper sought to analyse oral literature, especially as it pertains to the Ibani people. The study and appreciation of oral literature are highly crucial to the understanding of the complexity of human cognitive skills. For many people around the world, particularly in areas where history and traditions are more predominantly conveyed through speech than in writing, the transmission of oral literature from one generation to the next lies at the heart of culture and memory. It is highly essential to the survival of a culture. Very often, local languages act as vehicles for the transmission of unique forms of cultural knowledge. Oral traditions that are encoded in these speech forms can become threatened due to various factors. Such creative works of oral literature and spoken languages are increasingly endangered as globalization and rapid socio-economic change exert over more complex pressures on smaller communities; often challenging traditional knowledge practices. This could result in the near-extinction of a language, such as the Ibani language.

Key words: Culture, Language, Oral Literature, Extinct, Threatened, Culture, Identity, Tradition

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2227-5452
print ISSN: 2225-8590