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Thematic Cluster: Black African Literatures and Cultures

Abstract

In his article "Sound Semiotics of Osundare's Poetry" Christopher Anyokwu postulates that in our increasingly chirographically and typographically oriented culture and society, we often forget how tenacious and over-arching the oral continues to be. Semiotics, the science of signs, highlights among others how speech acts and speech sounds are deployed in everyday human interactions to convey meaning and communicate humanity's need for understanding and fulfillment. This meaning-signaling potential of the tonality of language is even more pronounced in most African languages which are, unlike English, syllable timed and tonal in nature. This tonal nature of African languages is appropriated by Niyi Osundare who uses the sound imagery and symbolism of the Yoruba language to convey meaning in his poetry.