Social Importance Of Proverbs
Though not all cultures practice the use of the proverb, those that do find that it is a excellent tool for social influence. Proverbs provide a means of alluding to values and norms accepted by society without offending the beliefs of others. When a proverb is used, it is situated in a hierarchy of respect and tradition. The wisdom contained in these works passes from the wiser elders to the more incorrigible youth in a system that values age as a means of telling ones intelligence.
Proper application of a proverb in a given situation is a skill that is developed through time and experience. Storytellers rely upon their knowledge of many proverbs as well as their ability to read a social situation to provide the wisdom these proverbs contain. In addition, storytellers must be respectful and reverent to create an environment of humility when addressing social concerns. It is important that even the storytellers see that no person has all the knowledge of the culture.
Once the proverbs have been used, it is important to understand why they were used in the first place. Generally the Akan use proverbs " 1) to persuade, 2) for social prestige, and 3) to embellish discourse." (Yankah, 109)
Proverbs reflect the language and culture of the social context. They are intended to be fascinating, and provocative while still acting as a channel of social wisdom. "a mature participant in a dialogue or public discussion always strives to use vivid language because his audience is continually making folk-literary analysis of his speech. The importance attached to brilliance and imaginativeness in public speech leads those who aspire to enter traditional public life and hope to exert influence, especially in the courts and in politics, to cultivate the use of striking images." (Boadi,186)