This unit focuses on demonstrative communication. Demonstrative devices are part of items used for communication in traditional African society. They are part of the socio-cultural heritage of Africa.
At the end of this unit of study, students should be able to:
- list the various types of demonstrative communication devices discuss the types of demonstrative communication drawing from their culture
- ‘ discuss the communication functions of demonstrative communication devices
3.1 Demonstrative Communication: Types and Examples
Although, Akpabio (2003) stated that there are two main types of demonstrative communication – music and signals, this author is of the view that dance should be included. As certain dance steps communicate as well. So, for our classification, we should adopt music and dance. The examples would now include music, dance and songs.
Again, this author is of the view that instead of signals alone, signs should be included as certain signs communicate as well. So, for our classification, we adopted Signals and symbolography. Hence, we have three classifications.
It is important to state here that Wilson (1998:27) grouped symbolography under instrumentals, but this author differs on that hence it has been grouped under demonstratives. Also some examples Wilson (1998) gave include decorated bamboo rino nsibidi, tattoo, and chalk marks. This author tends to differ also. She sees tattoo and chalk marks as visual forms of communication. Furthermore, the list of what constitutes symbolography here was based on Ibagere (1994) grouping. However, this author also differs with Ibagere (1994) grouping and accepted smoke, flames, ashes, and knots under symbolography, but transferred the rest of Ibagere (1994) list under symbolography to floral a sub-group under iconographic communication.
- Songs/ Coral and entertainment music
- Poetry, Chant and Incantations
Signal and Signs-examples
- Canon/Gun shots
- Whistle call
- Camp fire
- Road Blocks
- Mark on roads
- Marks on trees
- Grasses and leaves tied in certain ways
- Plantain sucker planted upside down
- Destruction of growing crops
- Palm filled with sand
3.2 Functions of Demonstrative Communication
Demonstrative communication devices used in Africa perform different functions depending on the cultural context. This would be discussed in detail in subsequent units in this module.
3.3 Music, Dance and Symbolography Differentiated
There are differences between music and symbolography; and dance and symbolography. Although dance and music can be used to symbolise things and events, symbolography is different from dance because dance is human construct, done by human beings. Similarly it is different from music in that music is instantaneous, but symbolography sometimes might register the message at a later period after it has been conveyed (Ibagere, 1994).
This unit has focused on demonstrative communication and argued that signs should be included in the category of signals in African communication devices; and also added a third group – symbolography. So, it explored the three types of demonstrative communication.
This unit discussed demonstrative communication, types and examples. Essentially three types were discussed. A differentiation of music, dance and symbolography wrapped up the unit.
SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE
List the types of demonstrative communication discussed in this unit.
- Drawing examples from what obtains in your culture, list ten types of demonstrative communication devices.
- Discuss any two of them.