A Socio-Phonetic Study of Proverb-Riddle as an Aspect of Verbal Art in Traditional Anaang, Southern Nigeria


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




The project examines the use of the proverb-riddle in Anaang, an endangered language in southern Nigeria. The study focuses on four Anaang dialects: the Abak, Ika, Ikot-Ekpene, and Ukanafun linguistics areas. The project focuses on the sociocultural and grammatical relevance of a largely neglected aspect of African verbal arts. Relying on structured interviews, observations, audiovisual recordings, and focused group interviews, the study analyzes the established verbal convention that is significant to Anaang tradition and sociocultural heritage. The application of sound, tone rhythm, and syllable in the proverb-riddle supply significant phonetic/grammatical information that is relevant to African verbal art. Proverb-riddle comprises two parts: ‘a call and its response.’ The application of instrumental analysis shows that the understanding of the proverb-riddle depends deeply on the additional quality of similar metrical and phonetic components of the call and its response. The study establishes broad tendencies in cross linguistics and sociocultural studies.