The Palm Oil

I was thinking about the richness of proverbs. “The palm oil with which words are eaten” certainly sounds delicious. There is something not very European or at least not very anglo about this notions. Should language be simple and direct, perhaps more efficient? Or should it be more decorated and fruitful. Certain people would prefer a simple and direct language, it depends who you are. If you have a lot to say it might be better to simply say it. However I do find that this richness in language can be useful. We can speak with beauty even in simple ways.

Certain languages tend to be more circular in their way of speaking, spanish or italian, while others are more direct and efficient like english. If we were to extend the metaphor of eating words I think everyone would rather eat fruit or meat with palm oil or wine than simply eating bread with water.

One of the main points in Things Fall Apart is language. This richness and simple elegance in Ibo speech gives the African people a sophistication which they don’t have in Heart of Darkness. It fills their world with complexity and the intricacies of social norms and behaviors. Simply through language African “primitive” societies are shown to be equally complex and sophisticated as any other.

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