An analysis of the style and social significance of the Abanyore children's oral poetry
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This study focuses on the Abanyole children's oral poetry. Data used was derived from both children and adults. The study elucidates the context within which the poems are performed. It classifies the collected poems into two broad categories: lullabies and singing games; explores the stylistic components of the poems and synthesizes the social significance of the poems to both the Munyore child and the Abanyole community. The main contention of the study is that, firstly, the nature of the social milieu influences the content and form of the Abanyole children's oral poetry and hence such poetry is bound to be dynamic. Secondly, the older generation in the Abanyole community is central in the teaching and conceptualisation of the content and form of the children's oral poetry thereby endowing the poems with a pragmatic value. The poems analysed were collected through recording of performances on twenty-one primary schools while making relevant notes on the context of such performances. Children and adults were interviewed in order to assess the degree of involvement and the meaning of the poems to the children and for the children. In relation to the context of performance, the study has shown that: the poems are mainly sung during different games in a playful environment; the games are performed in a social context as expressed through various formations such as circles, lines and groups which are characterised by order and beauty; the poems are tools for cultural education as well as entertainment; and the poems are employed in work situations as a tool for motivation or emotional appeal. The analysis of style has revealed that these poems are rich in repetition, imagery, personification, sound of words, and that these words are carefully chosen to appeal to the emotions of the children. In terms of social significance, the study shows that the poems teach the children to face the realities of adult life. The study also shows that these poems act as tools for cultural identity and the style of its presentation. In view of these findings, the validity of the two contentions is established. Suggestions of avenues for follow up research as well as the literary significance of the children's oral poetry is outlined.