A communicative and stylistic adaptability of new idioms and idiomatic expressions in Yorùbá literary texts


Dayo Akanmu


School of Languages, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Lagos, Nigeria


New idioms and idiomatic expressions are quintessentially modern stock expressions that constitute communicative clogs in Yorùbá routine discourses because of their semantic complexity and deviant nature. Existing studies have established their scope of usage in Yorùbá music but have hardly addressed their communicative and stylistic adaptability in literary texts. This paper investigated the issues expressed with these idioms and strategies for using them in selected literary works in Yorùbá. This is undertaken with a view to establishing their communicative and stylistic relevance in Yorùbá discourses. The paper adopted Mukarovsky’s theory of Standard Language for its capability to explain ‘differential specifica’ between the language of everyday conversation and literary language. Five Yorùbá literary texts were purposely selected across the genres of literature. In all the texts, five issues were expressed: corruption, politics, entertainment, transportation, and abuse. Corruption was prominent in virtually all the texts and contextualized in bribery and fraud. Politics occurred in one text and was contextualized in embezzlement. Entertainment was found in two texts and was contextualized in eroticism, pornography, and vulgarity. Transportation appeared in one text revealing the context of bus conducting. Abuse occurred in one text within the context of social misalignment. Linguistic strategies involved in their formation were derived from nominalization, compounding, and phonaesthetic coinages. New idioms and idiomatic expressions, used to express socio-economic, traditional and emotive issues in Yorùbá literary texts occurred in mediated and non-mediated contexts and were conveyed through metaphorization. These idioms reflect the dynamism and modernity-constrained stylistic choices in Yorùbá discourses.


new idioms; idiomatic expressions; Yorùbá literary texts; communication strategy

Publication Date

October 1, 2014


Volume 4, Issue 1

Citation information

Akanmu, Dayo. 2014. “A communicative and stylistic adaptability of new idioms and idiomatic expressions in Yorùbá literary texts.” Language. Text. Society 4 (1): e1-e16. https://ltsj.online/2014-04-1-akanmu. (Journal title at the time of publication: SamaraAltLinguo E-Journal.)


author = {Akanmu, Dayo},
title = {{A communicative and stylistic adaptability of new idioms and idiomatic expressions in Yorùbá literary texts}},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
year = {2014},
volume = {4},
number = {1},
pages = {1–16},
url = {https://ltsj.online/2014-04-1-akanmu/},


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