1.0 Background of the Study
Generally, language is a distinctive code of communication. Language according to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English is a system of communication by written or spoken words which is used by the people of a particular country or area. Agbedo (2003) puts it that language is the pivot on which all human activities, ranging from the most prosaic to the most profound revolve. What he meant is that language touches the entire aspect of an individual’s life
Language provides the unique medium through which the belief system, world view, moral values and virtually all the basic ingredients of any given society are passed on from generation to generation.
Every society has a set of values and norms that governs the behaviour of the members and their languages and as well ensure peace and order in the society. These values and norms are cultural to the people. Culture which is the people’s way of life provides order and guidance for social behaviour and stability among changes.
Ohaozara Community in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, has a unique and rich cultural heritage which direct and guide the life and language of Ohaozara people. Culture influence on the people of Ohaozara can be appreciated in the tradition of the people’s taboos as moral restraints. This is because their ancestors are too religious.
The people of Ohaozara believe that the custodian of morality and the ancestors as the agents of maintaining the moral laws is the earth goddess “Ala”. The moral codes make known the do’s and don’ts of the community. The don’ts are known as the “taboos or “Nso ala” by the people.
There are things that are forbidden by the Ohaozara people. Therefore the community hates and frowns at those things in order to live peacefully among the community members.
One has to seriously observe those don’ts because breaking them attracts punishments from the earth goddess and their cohorts.
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CULTURAL INFLUENCE ON LANGUAGE: A CASE STUDY OF TABOOS AND SEXISM IN OHAOZARA DIALECT OF IGBO