Yoruba Proverbs by Oyekan Owomoyela

By Oyekan Owomoyela

“The leopard’s stealthy gait isn't really as a result of the cowardice; it truly is easily stalking a prey.” (Do now not mistake people’s mild nature for spinelessness.) “The rabbit that eats yams and enjoys them will go back for more.” (People bear in mind sturdy stories and search their repetition.) “The bird sweats, yet its down prevents us from knowing.” (Everybody has his or her difficulties, even though strangers won't guess.) “The mouth doesn't say, ‘I ate as soon as before.’” (Hunger isn't really whatever one assuages as soon as and for all.) “It is a gentle rain that chases a toddler interior; it's a raging torrent that shakes the raffia palm to its roots.” (Every individual, although lowly or powerful, has his or her nemesis.) Yoruba Proverbs is the main accomplished assortment thus far of greater than 5 thousand Yoruban proverbs that show off Yoruba oral culture. Following Oyekan Owomoyela’s creation, which gives a framework and outline of Yoruba cultural ideals, the proverbs are prepared via topic into 5 sections: the great individual; the lucky individual (or the nice life); relationships; human nature; rights and obligations; and truisms. every one proverb is gifted in Yoruba with a literal English translation, by way of a quick statement explaining the that means of the proverb in the oral tradition. This definitive resource publication on Yoruba proverbs is the 1st to provide such exact, systematic class and research along a cautious review of the hazards and pitfalls of filing this style to the canons of literary research.

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One does not get angry with one’s head and therefore use one’s cap to cover one’s buttocks. ) 9. A kì í bọ òrìṣà lójú f n- n; bó bá dal a máa tú pẹpẹ. One does not sacrifice to a god in the presence of a house rat; otherwise, when night falls it invades the rafter shelves. ) 10. A kì í dàgbà má làáyà; ibi ayé bá báni là ńjẹ . One does not become an adult and yet lack courage; one lives life as it finds one. ) 11. A kì í dá ọw lé ohun tí a ò lè gbé. One does not lay hands on a load one cannot lift.

The form in which I have entered such a proverb (which depends on the form in which it occurs most frequently in speech) affects its placement in my alphabetization scheme (explained below). Orthography I have departed from some current practices not to be contrary but in order to live up to the expectation that tone marks will reliably guide the reader to the correct pronunciation of the written text. Therefore, I have chosen to include the tone that indicates a genitival relationship between two nouns, for example bàbá-a Wálé (Wálé’s father or, more appropriately, father-of Wálé), where the midtone a stands in place of the elided but understood midtone ti (of ).

Wolfgang Mieder identifies ‘‘Two heads are better than one’’ as an English proverb (1986:221), whereas G. L. 224 (655). 5. This observation is not at variance with Rowland Abiodun’s argument that the Yoruba sometimes acknowledge and celebrate the authorship of works of art. He deals with sculptors mainly, a form of art that is quite visible and whose practice is often a lineage profession, but he also acknowledges the fact of anonymity, with reasons, even in this case. 6. For a discussion of assimilated tones in Yoruba, see Bamgbose, ‘‘Assimilated,’’ 1–13.

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