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POETRY, CHANT AND INCANTATION

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1.0 INTRODUCTION

This unit focuses on poetry, chant and incantation, as demonstrative communication channel.

2.0 OBJECTIVES

At the end of this unit of study, students should be able to:

  1. define poetry, chant and incantation 
  2. outline usage occasions for poetry, chant and incantation 
  3. explain the communication functions of poetry, chant and incantation 
  4. distinguish between chants and incantation 

3.0 MAIN CONTENT

3.1 Poetry, Chant and Incantations

3.1.1 Poetry Poetry in whatever language is a respected literary genre. Poetry is an important mode of communication in Africa. Poetry is mostly used for entertainment. This does not presuppose that all poetry in traditional African societies is sung, although Mython (1983:86) erroneously believes that “poetry tends to be chanted or sung” in Zambia where he conducted his study.

Poetry is usually regarded as “emotions recollected in tranquillity [tranquil moment]” because of its “high order” as demanded of the poet and audience. According to Ibagere (1994:85), poetry is language with the most connotative meaning. He asserted:

This is a beautiful construction of spoken words about something, an experience, people or the society itself in the best ways. This rendered in the most concise and most connotative of ways. Poetry is usually in verse and the words used are arranged differently from ordinary everyday usage. Most times, emphasis is on sound of words as well as the connotative meaning as distinct from the denotative meaning

3.1.2 The Usage Occasion and Communication functions of Poetry

In Africa, poetry is used at different occasions, especially those of social significance. Poetry is mostly used for entertainment. It could be rendered in form of praise singing as in Hausa/Fulani culture. Among the Yorubas Ewi (oral poetry) is often used to inform, eulogise achievements, guide individuals through the murky waters of the world’s hazardous terrain, to celebrate the inexorable link between life and death and to satirise unacceptable behaviours and practices. Again, because of its entertainment, intellectual and instructional values, oral poetry can be laden with and used to convey development information.

]3.2 Chants and Incantations

According to Ibagere (1994:86), chants and incantations are closely related to poetry.
Chants are special kinds of songs. The difference between a song and a chant is that while a song is usually done articulately in musical succession, a chant may not. Incantations (emphasis mine) are rendered significantly in praise or worship. Incantation, like poetry, is a specially constructed language, also having connotative meaning

3.2.1 The Usage Occasions and Communication functions of Chants and Incantations

Chants and incantations could be used at occasions of social significance, like occasions designed to provide entertainment and during worship. Depending on the circumstance, incantation could be used to serve different purposes. In religious worship, it could be used as an inducement to get into character or used to commune with extra-terrestrial forces. In this regard, it falls under the esoteric mode of communication (Ibagere, 1994:86)

4.0 CONCLUSION

This unit has focused on poetry, chants and incantations as channels of demonstrative communication. It stated that they can be used at occasions of social significance.

5.0 SUMMARY

This unit discussed poetry, chants and incantations as channels of demonstrative communication. It delved into the usage occasion and communication functions.

SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE

What is poetry?

6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT

Distinguish between chants and incantations.

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