A linguistic relativity appraisal of an African drama : the lion and the jewel
Adekunle, Oluwakemi Temitope
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This research is designed to assess the validity of the Sapir Whorf hypothesis in relation to the linguistic and cultural notions of the Yoruba and Zulu language speakers’ via the evaluation of the culture enriched drama text The Lion and The Jewel by Wole Soyinka. The study, which uses both questionnaires and interviews to derive responses from participants, engages both the primary and secondary data throughout the chapters. The study queried both the hypothesis’ strong version, (language governs thought: linguistic classifications restrain and influence mental classifications); and its weak version, (linguistic classifications and their use influence thought as well as some other classes of non-linguistic activities) and their possible reliability. Participants’ ages were between 16 and 46 years old who all speak both English and isiZulu (isiZulu-speaking participants) and English and Yoruba (Yoruba-speaking participants). Questionnaires were used and interviews were conducted, the research questions were answered and the findings provided support for validity of the linguistic relativity hypothesis, that is, languages indeed influence thought. The findings also revealed that linguistic influence on cognition is not limited to different language speakers alone, but also same language speakers per level of exposure to other languages and concepts. Based on these findings, recommendations have been made. Among which is the soliciting more research on language and culture (acculturation and enculturation) such that societal peace, love, unity and development can be maintained and promoted in any monolingual, bilingual or multilingual society. Also, educators should be aware of the possibility of a psycholinguistic influence on thought and assimilate it into schools’ curriculum so that multiculturation is fully adopted and promoted in the schools.