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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Taboo expressions in Yoruba
Author:Oyetade, Solomon Oluwole
Periodical:Afrika und Übersee: Sprachen, Kulturen
Geographic term:Nigeria
popular beliefs
Abstract:This article examines the use of taboo expressions among the Yoruba of Nigeria. Yoruba taboo expressions can be classified into four semantic groups: propriety-related taboos, meant to neutralize unpleasant things and make them more presentable; taboos for averting ominous consequences; veneration-type taboos, meant to honour particular categories of people, notably the king, but also elderly and important people; and fear-centred taboos, which derive from the Yoruba belief in the existence of supernatural forces. The author shows that there is no sharp compartmentalization between the different categories of taboo expressions, but that different semantic categories tend to have different linguistic devices for their expression. This is illustrated with a number of examples. Finally, the author discusses implications for the theory of communication. Bibliogr.