An Analysis of Images of Contention and Violence in Dagara and Akan Proverbial Expressions

Martin Kyiileyang, Michelle Ama Debrah, Rebecca Williams


Proverbial expressions have typical linguistic and figurative features. These are normally captivating to the listener. The expressive culture of the Dagara and Akan societies is embellished by these proverbial expressions. Most African proverbs, express various images depicting both pleasant and unpleasant situations in life. Unpleasant language normally depicts several terrifying images particularly when threats, insults and other forms of abuse are traded vehemently. Dagara and Akan proverbs are no exceptions to this phenomenon. This paper seeks to examine images of contention and violence depicted in Akan and Dagara proverbial expressions. To achieve this, a variety of proverbs from Akan and Dagara were analysed for their meanings using Yankah’s and Honeck’s Theories. The result revealed that structurally, as with many proverbs, the Akan and Dagara proverbial expressions are pithy and terse. The most dominant images of contention and violence in these expressions expose negative values and perceptions about the people who speak these languages.


Akan, Dagara, Proverb, Imagery, Contention, Violence

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