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Yoruba Proverbs [Hardcover]

Oyekan Owomoyela
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

July 1 2005
“The leopard’s stealthy gait is not a result of cowardice; it is simply stalking a prey.” (Do not mistake people’s gentle nature for spinelessness.) “The rabbit that eats yams and enjoys them will return for more.” (People remember good experiences and seek their repetition.) “The chicken sweats, but its down prevents us from knowing.” (Everybody has his or her problems, although strangers may not guess.) “The mouth does not say, ‘I ate once before.’” (Hunger is not something one assuages once and for all.) “It is a light rain that chases a child indoors; it is a raging torrent that shakes the raffia palm to its roots.” (Every person, however lowly or mighty, has his or her nemesis.)
Yoruba Proverbs is the most comprehensive collection to date of more than five thousand Yoruban proverbs that showcase Yoruba oral tradition. Following Oyekan Owomoyela’s introduction, which provides a framework and description of Yoruba cultural beliefs, the proverbs are arranged by theme into five sections: the good person; the fortunate person (or the good life); relationships; human nature; rights and responsibilities; and truisms. Each proverb is presented in Yoruba with a literal English translation, followed by a brief commentary explaining the meaning of the proverb within the oral tradition.
This definitive source book on Yoruba proverbs is the first to give such detailed, systematic classification and analysis alongside a careful assessment of the risks and pitfalls of submitting this genre to the canons of literary analysis.

Product Details

Product Description


"When it comes to the correct usage of Yoruba proverbs, Mr. Owomoyela should know."—Chronicle of Higher Education

“Obviously aimed at the specialist, it nevertheless also offers the casual reader considerable rewards. It’s not an inexpensive volume, but it’s a bargain for what it, in many respects, a monumental achievement.”—Complete Review

About the Author

Oyekan Owomoyela is the author of A History of Twentieth-Century African Literatures and Yoruba Trickster Tales, both published by the University of Nebraska Press.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars So good Nov. 23 2012
By Jess A.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this book. It has so many proverbs and both the metaphorical and literal meanings are extremely helpful. I would recommend it to everyone interested in knowing yoruba.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TIMELESS CLASSIC Jan. 14 2006
By Olumuyiwa O. Omololu - Published on Amazon.com
As a Yoruba person settled in the United States, I sometimes worry about the erosion of the little I know about richness of the Yoruba culture, especially as articulated in proverbs. This reality becomes more poignant when I reflect on how my children might never appreciate the richness of the Yoruba culture. Oyekan Owomoyela's fascinating work in YORUBA PROVERBS allayed that fear.

I highly recommend this work to anyone who seeks to understand the "demeanour" of the Yoruba culture. A comprehensive collection of more than five thousand Yoruba proverbs translated literally and figuratively as seen with the Yoruba eyes.

Simply put, a narrative of the Yoruba culture and the richness thereof; would be incomplete without reference to this book. Just think: The timeless wisdom of Yoruba sages down the ages, has been made available to us for the mere price of a book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fair amount of proverbs Feb. 28 2008
By ohmslaw - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book has quite a few proverbs. some i knew before, most i didn't. All are really interesting.
Some proverbs in the book have a dodgy origin (not quite sure they are Yoruba originated) but they are all very interesting. Great way to learn the language.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monumental and Outstanding July 4 2008
By Abe S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This outstanding book is filled with insights into Yoruba language that every teacher and student will benefit from. I hope you will find it a useful treasure. I highly recommend this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars A much-needed tome July 2 2014
By Tokunbo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Professor Owomoyela, Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for this much-needed tome. As someone who went to school in Lagos and took a fair number of Yoruba classes meant to steep us in the true (as in non-"city-fied") language, I never did quite get how so many just happened to know so many of these beautiful and insightful proverbs. I finally threw up my arms and concluded I needed to have grown up in the village for a better chance at good fluency in them. But your work now puts the lie to that belief; this will be a frequent reference book to be revisited again and again until ...whoosh...proverb fluency!!! Thanks again.
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive Resource Jan. 29 2014
By Gbenga Olayiwola - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent presentation and organisation.

With clear translation and explanation of concepts and usage contexts.
Very exhaustive.

Recommended for anyone with an interest in Yoruba especially in understanding and accurate usage of proverbs.
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