What is the function of the Igbo words in the novel Things Fall Apart? Provide at least three functions.

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There are many functions to the Igbo words in the novel. In no particular order, one function is to introduce the Igbo culture and language to the reader. Things Fall Apartis written in English, which is not the first language of the author Chinua Achebe . By including...

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There are many functions to the Igbo words in the novel. In no particular order, one function is to introduce the Igbo culture and language to the reader. Things Fall Apart is written in English, which is not the first language of the author Chinua Achebe. By including words and phrases in the Igbo language, he allows the reader to take a closer look at the lives of the people he writes about. The novel is widely popular, and it's quite likely that most of us readers do not speak Igbo. Using Igbo vocabulary helps with world-building and makes the book more realistic.

In addition, it's useful when there are ideas and terms that don't have an exact equivalent in English. For comparison, no translator would ever translate words like "sushi" from Japanese, "rabbi" from Hebrew or "déjà vu" from French. It's not that it's impossible, it's just that something gets lost in the translation. When reading about a different culture, being introduced to it through their language and vocabulary helps to understand them better.

Secondly, the characters themselves think in Igbo terms. It is the basis for how they interpret and interact with the world. Losing the Igbo words would make it harder to convey the framework of ideas and traditions they work in. In a way, having a specific term for something solidifies the notion of its importance. For example, if the novel just said that there were outcasts among the Igbo people, it would remain somewhat fuzzy. As they are introduced to us as Osu, an entirely separate class in the Igbo society, the significance of their exclusion becomes more real somehow. It implies that the Osu are not just chosen at random, that there is a long history to some people not being allowed to partake in the larger society. Here, the function of Igbo words is to remind the reader that the world the characters live in is not the world they know.

Thirdly, there is a literary and philosophical function to consider. Achebe has said that language and the beauty of language is very important to the Igbo people. They like conversing, they enjoy it, they relish in it. Igbo words are a symbol of the power of words and the beauty of storytelling. In every way, it provides a contrast to the novel itself, which explores the topic of colonial expansion and its clash with the Igbo culture.

Achebe was criticized by some for writing his novel in English and defended himself by asking why wouldn't he use a way to introduce the Igbo culture to the world through means the colonists themselves provided. The levels of language therefore go very deep in the novel. It's written by a Nigerian author in English, the Igbo words and phrases emphasize a somewhat lost word. The characters are both barbaric and deeply insightful, they are capable of horrible things and enjoying good conversation, and so on. Igbo words help make Things Fall Apart what it is: an amalgam of or a bridge between worlds.

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Chinua Achebe, who was Igbo, wrote primarily in English. He explained his decision as one that would help his work reach a wider audience throughout Nigeria, Africa, and the world. Achebe became well known as an advocate of the “both not either” perspective, as stated in his 1965 article, “The African Writer and the English Language.”

Achebe was fully aware, however, that translating culture into another language was not a simple prospect. He was committed to including Igbo vocabulary as the best expression of particular concepts. One type of vocabulary pertains to items of material culture, including musical instruments (ekwe). A second important concept is that of religious ceremonies, such as the isa-ifi. Perhaps the most important are unique concepts that have no exact equivalent outside of Igbo culture; notable among these is the ogbanje, a type of child-spirit separated from its true essence.

The question of writing in the language of the colonizer versus that of the author’s indigenous culture was one that was widely debated in the years following the novel’s publication. This debate was stimulated, in part, by the novel’s tremendous international success. In his essay “Decolonising the Mind,” Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o was among those who spoke most eloquently against writing in English and switched to writing in Gikuyu, his native language.

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Chinua Achebe, the author of Things Fall Apart, was raised in an Igbo village himself. In this novel, he utilizes the Igbo language for several different reasons.

First of all, the function of using the Igbo language is to bring the Igbo culture to life. In chapter 5, during the Feast of the New Yam, the women prepare yam foo-foo, a mixture of yam that the women pound with mortar. This food is very important to the Igbo people and their culture. Furthermore, the villagers turn out on the ilo, an open playground area, while the first group of young men dance and get taken over by the spirit of the drums prior to the wrestling match. The use of the Igbo words that describe the culture also function to bring realism to the novel by illustrating the way of life of the Igbo people.

Lastly, the use of the Igbo language functions to describe the people's religion. In chapter 3, Unoka, Okonkwo's father, goes to consult the Oracle Agbala concerning his poor crops. He tells the priestess, Chika, about his sacrifices to the shrine of Ifejioku, the god of yams, and about his sacrifices to Ani. However, these sacrifices do not bring him good crops because he has bad chi (bad fortune). By using the Igbo words, the reader can understand the importance of the Igbo belief in their gods and the importance of consulting oracles to aid them in seeking their livelihood.

The Igbo culture, reality, and religion are all transmitted through the use of the Igbo language.

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