The Word as Event in Oral Discourse: The Meaning and Importance of Story Telling Performance Contexts in Bakor Society

The Word as Event in Oral Discourse: The Meaning and Importance of Story Telling Performance Contexts in Bakor Society

Author(s) by Francis Mowang Ganyi
Pages 76-90
Keywords Word, Event, Oral discourse, Performance context, Bakor, Storytelling, Cultural Identity.
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Abstract


Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines ethnopoetics as the ―recording of text versions of oral poetry or narrative performances that use poetic lines, verses and stanzas to capture the formal, poetic performance elements which would otherwise be lost in the written texts‖. With the preponderance of emphasis on writing as a major mode of communication in today’s world, verbal and extra verbal or non- verbal modes of communication are gradually suffering relegation and possible obliteration in favour of writing. Despite this relegation however, pre or semi- literate cultures like the Bakor in Nigeria still largely depend on orality as a formal means of encoding and decoding knowledge and experiences for educational purposes as well as the transfer of culture along generational lines. Storytelling, therefore, has a prominent place in the lives of the people as a means for the transfer of knowledge and for other educational objectives, yet, it is observed that the influx of modern multimedia forms like home videos, Mass television viewing centers and GSM phones have drastically impacted on storytelling as a formal traditional means of achieving these educational objectives. As a result, traditional communities have lost their reliance on storytelling with the consequent debasement of storytelling sessions which occupied the pride of place in the field of entertainment in Bakor society. This write up is therefore an attempt to call attention to the need for the revival and repositioning storytelling as a veritable past time in Bakor. It examinesthe importance of the performance context of storytelling as an event in oral discourse, which emphasizes not just the word but also other non verbal or extra verbal accompaniments for the effective transfer of cognitive experience. The findings are that the word and all its associations, in the context of storytelling performance, is very vital as a record of culture and identity, not only in Bakor community but also in most other African societies who depend on oral performances as a record of culture and folk life. The performance contexts become invaluable as records of the creative indulgences of traditional communities like the Bakor in Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State in Nigeria. Through them, one can better glimpse the narrator’s complex presentation of the BakorHero-protagonist in his many faces of portrayal of the communal experiences of the people.

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