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Language is learned, shared, and it is an arbitrary system of vocal symbols through which human beings in the same speech community or     sub-culture interact and hence communicate in terms of their common experience and expectations. Sociolinguistics is the study of any or all aspects of the society, including cultural norms, values, and beliefs. This research set out to carry out a sociolinguistic analysis of the proverbs in Adimora- Ezeigbo’s Trafficked. The sociolinguistic analysis of the selected proverb was carried out by using the Dell Hymes’ Ethnographic acronym model. The research found out that the settings, participants, ends, act sequence, key, instrumentality, norms, and genres allow for a comprehensive understanding of the data. It was also found out that in analyzing the proverbs, transfer of lexemes of other languages cannot be avoided due to non-availability of their translations in the English language. From these findings, the study submitted that sociolinguistics is a veritable tool in the analyzing and understanding of oral traditions to people of various cultures.




Language is both an individual and a social possession. It is said to serve interactive and integrative functions. We would expect, therefore, that certain individuals would behave linguistically like other individuals; they might be said to speak the same language or the same dialect or the same variety. Language is what the members of a particular society speak. When two or more people communicate with each other in speech, we can call the system of communication a code. In most cases, that code will be something we may also want to call “a language”. Every culture codifies its values in its own language. Through systems of myths, anecdotes, stories, proverbs and others, values are defined and good-bad differentiations are specified. More formal systems are also evolved and are represented by ethical codes and religious institutions. Communication, including communication through language, can be classified into different modes. That aspect of communication in which comment on behaviour, that is to say, which modifies or makes some definitions of other behaviours, is called “meta-communication” and the aggregate of its forms “meta-systems”. Meta-systems are the carriers of values and as an individual in any culture develops, he learns sets of meta-systems. In this way, the culture passes along its values systems and continuity in the values of the culture is thereby maintained(Alger,1970,p.51).

Sociolinguistics is concerned with investigating the relationship between language and the society with the goal being a better understanding of the structure of language and of how language functions in communication. The equivalent goal in the sociology of language is trying to discover how social structures can be better understood through the study of language.
As observed generally, the use of proverbs, other folklores and songs are dwindling amongst cultures in our day-to-day interaction and even literary works as observed in the 90s. Research works on sociolinguistics will help bring back the cultural values of story- telling, parables, riddles, folklore and so on.


This research work aims at anaslyzing the power of the language of proverbs and their values on the traditions, beliefs and norms in any given society. It will, through the analysis of language as it affects the society, look into how Adimora- Ezeigbo has used proverbs in her novel, Trafficked to achieve some foregrounded effects on the characters therein.
Proverbs analyzed in this research work will indicate the various functions they perform or/and used for. It will also expose the readers of this work to the various classifications of proverbs there are and their ability to transfer African cultural values and heritage.


Across centuries, researchers have studied the relationship that exists between language and the society. Since no speech community can exist without ‘a code’ of communication, a Sociolinguistic analysis will remain a significant area of study. Various aspects have been researched upon. These areas include daily extinction of languages, the effect of social variables such as age, sex, status, role- relation and so on, on language use among users. Various theories have been developed to give the study of Sociolinguistics a sound back-up. Among the famous exponents of Sociolinguistics are Dell Hymes, J.K. Chambers, Sapir-Whorf, Basil Bernstein, etc.
This research work looks into the analysis of proverbs under Sociolinguistics and brings out the moral and social values. It will contribute to humanity and other research studies with the numerous functions proverbs perform.


The research embarked upon in this project will look into the interaction that exists between the society and how it affects language use. It will only analyze the Sociolinguistic levels of language with a view of identifying only some theories that have emanated from the studies those scholars had undertaken. The research will analyze the twenty- five proverbs in Adimora- Ezeigbo’s Trafficked using Dell Hymes’ Ethnography of speaking model.


In carrying out a Sociolinguistic analysis of proverbs, the data that will be used will be collected from Adimora-Ezeigbo’s Trafficked using the Ethnography model of Dell Hyme. The twenty- five proverbs will be picked out and worked with the ‘SPEAKING’ acronym. Elements and variables such as code-mixing and switching, taboo, euphemisms and so on will also be considered in the analysis.


The data analyzed are collated and collected from Adimora- Ezeigbo’s Trafficked, publisged in 2008. The novel discusses the adventure of Nneoma who goes in search of greener pastures but who is tricked and trafficked (the title is deduced from this) in Italy and London. She is deported back home after six years but cannot return home due to shame. The novel discusses the hardship in the family and the society and its consequences.


The author, Adimora- Ezeigbo was born and raised in Eastern Nigeria, but now lives in Lagos. Raised partially in a rural environment and partially in the city, she combines these two factors as background and setting for her children’s stories and adult fictions. A lecturer, writer, novelist, critic, essayist, journalist and administrator; she was appointed a professor of English at the university of Lagos in 1999. She is married to Professor Chris Ezeigbo and is blessed with three children.

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