Power relations– a case study of proverbs in Ki-Embu
This study focuses on the analysis of Ki-Embu proverbs that express power relations between genders and between ages. It seeks to investigate how the proverbs express power relations in the language in question and also examines their meaning. Moreover, the study investigates whether proverbs reinforce and perpetuates the subjugation of one gender or age group as opposed to dominance and exaltation of the other. Together with this, the study seeks to find out if proverbial language in Ki-Embu is a medium of expressing power relations between genders and ages and the role of context in expressing power relations. The study has based the analysis on Critical Discourse Analysis Theory to show that power is indexed and expressed in Ki-Embu proverbs. It is an exploration of how opaque relationships are a subtle factor in securing power which ultimately creates power imbalances. The study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one provides the background of the study by presenting a brief description of the language under study and also on proverbs which are the linguistic features to be analyzed. It goes further to present the statement of the problem, the objectives, the hypotheses, the scope and limitation, the theoretical framework, literature review, significance of the study and the methodology used for data collection and analysis. Critical Discourse Analysis Theory which is used as the framework of the data analysis has been discussed in detail in this chapter. It guides into the unraveling of the hidden meaning of proverbs to bring out the manner in which power relations are expressed. Language and reality are closely related and they interact with each other. Reality influences and shapes language while language reflects and affects reality. Hence, language is a social tool. Chapter two of this study highlights some of elements of language that are closely linked to this study. Some of which include men and power, language, age and power, and language and culture. It also looks at the form and functions of proverbs and types of proverbial meaning to review more literature on the linguistic features of the study. It is also in this chapter that we have discussed the basic concepts of CDA and its methodology. Chapter three and four which are the core parts of the study provide an analysis of proverbs that demonstrate proverbial men dominance, women subjugation and dominance of the old using proverbial metaphors, ellipsis, negative structures and words in Embu culture. The discussion in these chapters focuses on figurative language, figures of diction and linguistic devices such as syntactic structures and vocabulary and how they are used to proverbially express power between genders and ages. Context from CDA point of view in relation to the proverbs analyzed has also been discussed. Finally, chapter five gives a brief summary of the study. It outlines the findings of the study in relation to the objectives and the hypothesis of the study and gives recommendations. It also confirms that the Critical Discourse Analysis Theory is adequate in unraveling hidden meaning in proverbial language.