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LANGUAGE USE IN THE WORSHIP OF SOME OF OUR LOCAL DEITIES: CASE STUDY OF OLOKUN

  • Type:Project
  • Chapters:3
  • Pages:50
  • Methodology:Primary and Secondary data
  • Reference:YES
  • Format:Microsoft Word
(Linguistics and Communication Project Topics & Materials)
LANGUAGE USE IN THE WORSHIP OF SOME OF OUR LOCAL DEITIES: CASE STUDY OF OLOKUN
ABSTRACT

    This work is on the language use of olokun deity. In this work, I shall look at the type of language use in olokun in Edo language, attempt shall be made to look at the different types of language used by the oraclist in divination and the use of proverbs when communicating in Edo language.
    The language of olokun has been neglected before now and it has not been given much attention by scholars or language students when analyzing language. the people believe that the language is known, spoken and understood by the oraclist alone, it is therefore regarded as a language which is designed and cultivated by the oraclist. However, the attitude toward the study of the language use of olokun is not exclusive to the Edo alone, it is also developed by other language communities where oracle is practiced.
    In this work, I shall discuss this language use with critical analysis so as to correct the wrong impression people have about the language use and also to enlighten the native and non-native on the effect and significance of this language in divination.
    Furthermore, effort shall be made to present this language as employed by the oraclist to know and tell about yesterday, today and tomorrow. I assume that at the end of this work, the native (Bini) and non native will be able to understood much of what is being communicated by the oraclist when performing his duty.
    This work shall be divided into three chapter: In chapter one, the introduction and the Edo people, this chapter shall also include the purpose of study, the origin of olokun deity, the definition  of olokun and the oraclist followed by method of data collection and significance of study.   
    In chapter two, I shall look at the literature review, the different types of oracle and their deities include their origin.
    In chapter three, I shall discuss the data analysis, the language of olokun, I shall also look at folktale in the language of olokun follow by the proverbs in the language.
    This chapter will also include ‘Nature’ in the language of olokun. This will closely followed by the conclusion.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE
1.0    Introduction             
1.1.    The Edo People                
1.2.    The Purpose of Study        
1.3.    Origin of Olokun                     
1.4.    Definition of Olokun (Deity)        
1.5.    The Oraclist                 
1.6.    Method of Data Collection         
1.7.    Significant of Study             
CHAPTER TWO
2.0    Literature Review             
2.1    Different Types of Oracle and their Deities Origin,
Nature and the Priest             
2.1.1    Oracle without Deity            
2.1.1.1 Oguega or Ominigbon            
2.1.1.2 Ewawa                     
2.1.1.3 Ifievbe (Art of Throwing Kola)         
2.1.1.4 Oracle with Deity                        
2.1.1.5 Eziza                    
2.1.1.6 Oronmila                         
2.1.1.7 Ogun                    
2.1.1.8 Human Deities or Hero Deities        
2.1.1.9 Ovia                         
2.1.1.10 Okhuare                         
2.1.1.11 Imiaro                     
CHAPTER THREE
3.0    Data Analysis (Introduction)         
3.1    The Language of Olokun             
3.1.1    Morphological Analysis                     
3.1.2    Syntactic Analysis             
3.1.3    Semantic Analysis                 
3.2    Folktale in the Language of olokun             
3.3    The use of the Language of olokun             
3.4    ‘Nature’ in the language of olokun         
    Conclusion                         
    Bibliography                 
CHAPTER ONE
1.0    INTRODUCTION
This work focuses on the language use in the worship of some of our local deities in Edo. Attempt shall be made to examine carefully the types of language employed in the worship of ‘Olokun’.
It is true in the religious belief of the people that a situation where there is no vision to fortell their future, the people perish. As it is true with Christendom and Biblical times, so it is true with the people of Edo. In order to avoid predicament that may arise out of lack of vision, the Edo people have ‘Olokun’ (oracles) for insight into the unknown. This is mainly due to the realization that one has to avoid the troubles that accompany life itself. The Edo, therefore, regard ‘olokun’ (oracle) as a major belief and religious object in their community.
The Edo believe that through the ‘olokun’ (oracle) the will of Osanòbuà (Almighty God) that of the ‘lesser gods’ and that of the ancestors are made known in the lives and affairs of men. The ‘olokun’ is regarded as one of the most influential activities of mankind, for it gathers the ‘high’ and ‘low’ from all works of life and faith in its worship.
‘olokun’ (oracle) are played by many people in different parts of the world and so the language has been in existence which is known to the prationers. However, this language is restricted in communication or as a mode of expression in any language community, hence it is not easily understood by the non-initiated. Proverb on the other hand are part of Edo means of communication. Proverbs are mostly used and is understood by older people.
According to chief priest, Ogbemudia Aiwansoba (personal communication) “proverbs are like ingredients to make the soup sweet or palatable for a good meal”. The Edo believe that before you are able to drive the meaning of a statement home successfully you have to employed proverbs.
Generally, in terms of usage, Wilson J. (1970) has this to say: “A justification for the study of proverbs maybe found in its usefulness for psychology, folklore, the history and for literary studies to help to establish a text or interprets a meaning” (page 8). This by implication, gives us an insight to the importance and role of proverb in the language use in worship of ‘olokun’ in Edo.
1.1    THE EDO PEOPLE
    The Edo occupy the geographical area now known as Benin which was the conglomeration of little towns that spread into most of the area of the then Bendel  state. Edo found herself in a unique geographical position of occupying mid-way between what the early Europeans referred to as the ‘Yoruba country and Ibo country.
    The people of the kingdom are called Bini-the language they speak is called ‘Edo’  language. It belongs to the kwa group of language which is under Niger-Congo family. But generally the name ‘Edo’ is used to refer to the people and the language they speak.
1.2    THE PURPOSE OF STUDY     
    The purpose of this project work is to look for the type of language used in ‘olokun’. It is generally believed that language is the basic means of communication.
    According to the Oxford Concise Dictionary of linguistics Vol. 2 (page 215) ”language is the phenomenon of vocal and written communication among human beings generally, again as in ordinary usage”. Whichever way one looks at language, it boils down to communication.
    Language servers as the basic means of maintaining interpersonal relationship. We use language to express our selves, that is language can be employed to effect one’s desire to line with the communicators need. Some forms of language are peculiar to some profession. This is not a variant of any discret or language entity but is characterized by codes which are exclusive to the prationers  e.g. medical field, oracle etc.
    The language use in the worship of olokun which is my main concern in this study is distinct and unique in their sense of usages. It takes a lot of training to know and understand the language of ‘olokun’. According to priest Ogbemudia Aiwansoba (personal communication) “the oraclist has to learn the language of olokun to be able to know which message the oracle has for his client”. As a matter to fact, there is a noticeable difference between the language of the diviner and that of the olokun itself. Hence the oraclist uses everyday language to explain the letter. However, the language is not easy to know and understand, it involves a great deal of knowledge to be able to read the code  or symbols and give correct interpretation of what the olokun says.
    According to Emovon (1984) “as part of his training, he (oraclist) memorizes the two hundred and fifty six (256) symbols and must be able to relate each of a folktale, a deep level translation and be able to interpret them in a plain language” page 15). In the same vein, the language used in proverbs is different from normal or plain language we are exposed to in the same language community. The use of proverbs in communication will not be effective, especially when you do not have a good command of the language in question. most of these proverbs have historical antecedents which are known and understood by the native speakers of the language.
    The language of olokun (oracle) seems to have the same effect in terms of usage. This is due to the fact that most of the terms used by oraclist in divination are more of proverbs. It is a sub-way of bringing to the notice of the client what the oracle has for him in relation to a particular situation.
    The language of olokun is not spoken without meaning. Effort shall be made to give a semantic analysis of the different symbols involved and how these symbols are co-ordinated (morphological and syntactically) to form a language.
1.3    ORIGIN OF OLOKUN
    Olokun is one of the heavenly bodies created by Osanobua (Almighty God) who came down to earth and established as deity. ‘olokun’ as a name is referred to the gods and goddesses that came from the water-world, which the worshippers called ‘Òbá na àmén’ (king of the sea) and ‘òlòri’ na ámén’ (Queen of the sea). The worshippers believe  there exist a world outside this earth, that the existence of everything on the earth originated from and all things that is been made used of on earth came from those places, they see the world as heaven created by ‘Almighty God’ where there is peace and happiness.
    In my persona research, I found that olokun is a god of male and female deity. This is the general consensus about the nature of olokun in Edo. They (Edo people) believed olokun is not a goddess or female deity alone olokun according to Edo traditional mythology was the first son of Osanobua (Almighty God) who was above his father,” ‘Ábié Omo nò s’ Òmwán, Èrhámwén Òsá na bié òlòkun’. It is not a curse for a child to rise above his father ‘Omo sowwan ere ihen’. It is believed that it is part of every woman to do it when attaining womanhood and some  men who have it. It is believe by the worshippers that it is part of their destiny, olokun is seen to communicate with worshippers through the voice of the bell, which is called Aza (bell) and also communicate with the act of the divination system of codes, songs, poem and incantation of language use.
    The reason why some people or scholar believed it to be a goddess are female deity was that women worship it  more than the men. This is due to moral value of the deity in respect of his kindness. By delegation of power, he gives children, money and comfortability a lots and women agitate more for these things than their male counterpart.
    Bradbury (1973) also acknowledge the fact that olokun is a god or male deity. He went further to say that olokun is the god of the sea which have bearing to river Ethiope and the centre of worship is situated at Urhonigbe Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.
    According to priest Ogbemudia Aiwansoba (personal communication) pointed out that when olokun came to the earth, the first place their settlement was located was in a place called ‘Umutu’ in Edo State, from there to Urhonigbe in Orhionmwon local government area in of Edo state, it was from there it spread out to other places in Benin City example ‘Oredo’.
    The priest of this deity is known as Ohen olokun (olokun priest). An oraclist is associated with the deity, use divination material which consist of cowries ‘Ikpigho’, Bronze seed ‘Ise eronmwon’, native chalk ‘orhue’, boat ‘oko’, Obele paddle, drum Ema’ ‘Ukuse maracas,, fan ‘ezuzu’, bell Aza’, Origbe’, hand bead and legs, ‘Iro’ small round carved wood like plate, bead worn round the neck ‘ivie’.
    Finally, this deity could be worshipped by the whole community as a god but it is particularly worship by individual nowadays.
1.3    DEFINITION OF OLOKUN (DEITY)
    The olokun (deity) has been defined as various ways by different scholars, but all boils down to the same meaning. These different definitions are as a  result of cultural differences and beliefs in society.
    I shall start by looking at the dictionary definition of what oracle is all about. Oracle in ancient Greek, according to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English, vol.6 states, “It is a place where people could go to ask the gods for advice or information about the future”. ‘Divination’ by the same dictionary is “ the act of finding out and saying what will happen in the future”. It is obvious from the definition above that, whatever version is taken as the meaning of olokun (oracle), it as serves the function of probing into the unknown.
    Traditionally, oracle in Edo culture, according to priest Ogbemudia Aiwansoba (personal communication) is the material use by either an oraclist or native doctor to foretell the future. The process is known as ‘iha no fi’ or ‘ubomwen’ (playing an olokun oracle). According to priest Ogbemudia Aiwansoba personal communication ‘olokun (oracle) in Edo culture means the process of looking for something unknown. However,  under this circumstances, we must proceed form the starting of a definition derived intuitively from general knowledge of Edo culture. Thus, we can safely define oracle (olokun) as means of knowing the past, the present and the future, and the solution to the problem of mankind. This definition is an established fact of the general consensus of what olokun oracle means in Edo. Irrespective of faith or disposition of foreign way of life, are to be found in the foot stool of olokun at any time when the need arises. As the olokun (oracle) serves as a means of carrying ideas or messages from the ancestor, the gods and Osanobua (Almighty God) to the living, so also it serve as a mediator or intermediary between the living and the dead.
    To better understand the role of the olokun in religious lives of the Edo, one has to understand the dual nature of man, that is the physical and spiritual. The physical serves as a background for the spiritual and elevates it to the level of deity. In this sense, the olokun (oracle) becomes ominipotent anytime it come into the world  of the living. The Edo hold the view that through olokun (oracle) One’s curiosity over so many things that are happening around us which are resolved and the solution in most cares are provided.
    According to Aimu Emovon, in his article ‘Ominigbon, divination “To Edo people life is an uncharted sea where an individual needs to be guided by the unseen hands of the gods in  order to succeed. As his needs vary and as he believes that each god is assigned a particular function in his life, he recourses to the gods for help as help and guidance are frequent whether in    looking for a site for his house or farm, inn deciding whom to accept as an in-law or in seeking to restore health to a sick member of his family (page 12)” He went further to say that …  more and more (Edo (Bini) people today some Christians and non-Christians alike seek the help of divination priest before they decide on any matter of importance.
    I have come to understand during my research on this study that olokun is an indispensible thing in the culture and religious lives of Edo people. And its position, value and significance cannot be over emphasized.
1.4    THE ORACLIST
    The oraclist known as Obo in Edo is one who practices oraclist divination. They are honoured in the society because it is one of the most respected professions of Edo people. Any individual who is an oraclist is reverend. He is seen as one who is above the ordinary individual, he knows about the operation of the ancestral world and the various herbs and their uses, positive and negative. He sees through the act of man either for good or evil. He is capable of influencing activities that are being hatched in the psychic plane in whatever direction he wants it to go. Because of his knowledge, he is respected by good as well as the bad people. In most cases it is the innocent one that consults him in time of difficulty.
    “In the good old days, native doctors and warriors were the most popular of all classes of people in Benin. They were also the most feared, honoured and respected by all. Any young man who wanted to make a name for himself would take up the art of medicine studying” (Egharevb, (1936) list in the reference. He also asserts in the same text that, “some curative doctors practice both medicine and divination art together …”. According to Emovon (1984) in his reason why divination priest were so honoured and respected was for the fact that it took (and it still takes), a lot of training, time and practice for one to be called a divination priest.
    According to priest Ogbemudia Aiwansoba (personal communication)” the Oraclist is the bridge between the deity and its client, or between the spirit world and that of the living”. During my personal research, I found out that the general idea about the oraclist is that he serves as a middle man between the deity and the person that has come to consult. He takes the request to the spirit world and brings reply from the same to the client. As part of his profession, he also deals with the living, dead and spirits. He can also be a medicine man (curative) and diviner at the same time. Though medicine men and oraclists are often referred to as Obo (native doctors), their training and duties quite different.
    The main duties of an oraclist is to link human beings with the living dead and the spirits. Though  his messages are received from the other world and he gives interpretation concerning causes, nature and possible remedies to one’s misfortune. They are agents for unveiling mysteries of human life and it creates sense of secrecy about their duties.
    Finally, the oraclists are honoured and respected in any society or community because of the nature of their profession. People  see them as mediators between the physical and the spirit worlds, which add to their respect, status and dignity  in  the eye of the people. Therefore, people resort to them for both private and public  affairs.
1.5    METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION
    In collecting data for this work, I did a field work and also looked at the work earlier done on this study. I concentrated much on field work for the bulk of the data this is because the works that have been done in this topic were very few and rare.
    However, I believed that research through field work and written text will help in producing an authentic  and accurate work. During the course of data collection, I focused attention on the nature of language use in the olokun  generally, the materials used method of consultation, the deities and most importantly, the language use in olokun deity. I carried out interviews among different oraclists we have in Edo and non-oraclists but who have very versed in Edo literature and tradition.
    My primary data collection was done by written note and also taking care of non-verbal aspect of communication in divination, it also includes live recording of divination between oraclist and the client.
1.6    SIGNIFICANT OF STUDY
    The major significance of study is the creation of beauty in the culture of the people which generate pleasure in the manner in which a thing is said that characterizes olokun deity. Hence it is believed that one who is exposed to the teaching of olokun deity will be able to contribute to the store of knowledge and experience, one will be able to entertain with the divination he has learnt.
    Another significance of study is its communication of thoughts, ideas, or experience for it is said that the love of olokun in Edo traditional culture must be an affairs of the head, the ideas communicated are generated by different kind of experiences which could be private, public or universe.
    Lastly, it serves as a means of social cultural documentation, historical philosophical documentation and expression of religious experiences.   

LANGUAGE USE IN THE WORSHIP OF SOME OF OUR LOCAL DEITIES: CASE STUDY OF OLOKUN

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Details

Type Project
Department Linguistics and Communication
Project ID LAC0086
Price ₦3,000 ($9)
Chapters 3 Chapters
No of Pages 50 Pages
Methodology Primary and Secondary data
Reference YES
Format Microsoft Word

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    Details

    Type Project
    Department Linguistics and Communication
    Project ID LAC0086
    Price ₦3,000 ($9)
    Chapters 3 Chapters
    No of Pages 50 Pages
    Methodology Primary and Secondary data
    Reference YES
    Format Microsoft Word

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