Semiotic study of idioms related to the royal court of Danxome in Benin Republic (ex Dahomey)
Keywords:context, historical, idioms, semiotics, sociolinguistics
This paper undertook a semiotic analysis and interpretation of idiomatic expressions that were used in the former royal court of Danxome in Republic of Benin (Ex Dahomey). The qualitative analysis based on the Saussurian and Piercian views on semiotics was applied on a corpus of idioms collected from primary sources with close links with descendants of the kingdom. The results achieved were forceful in disclosing three main patterns of the analysed idioms. First, they uncovered the presence of culturally loaded idiomatic centres that represent the keys to unlocking the intended meanings therein contained. Secondly, the very phrasing of some of the idioms displayed the hierarchical organisation that was intrinsic to the royal court. Thirdly, a further investigation into their intended content disclosed an association of both spoken and sign language in the delivery of the message conveyed through some specific idiomatic expressions of the royal court of Danxome. These results led to the conclusion that the idioms used in this royal court were more than mere language for daily ordinary interactions. Rather, they represented real artefacts, encapsulating the culture, the history and the social relationships that best represent and portray such a restricted social and linguistic community.
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