Verbal Art and Identity Construct: A Study of Humour in the Songs and Poetry of the Ham of Nigeria
Keywords:Ham; humour; identity; poetry; songs; verbal art
This study asserts that humour, primarily a verbal art, is a domain for identity construct among the Ham of the Nok culture from north-central Nigeria. To validate the idea that humour is linked to identity, we offer the context which illustrates how hilarity is orally deployed and provide examples of a variety of humour typical in the discourses of the Ham; their songs and poetry, all spoken art forms, engage with and embrace joviality as a field. Accordingly, the postulation is that humour, usually a fusion of subversion, puns, and context, is a potent tool for social and personal affirmation as it permits speakers to express views and ideas which could be viewed as “unsuitable” within everyday interaction. The view is that the Ham, by way of a verbal construct, could poetically signify humour through an enunciated joke, irony, anecdote, sarcasm, parody, or by direct insult. Yet, the humour is not aimed at scorn in the real sense of the word but is a stratagem to construct identity. In the end, the study exemplifies that every spoken language coherently organises its meanings, embedded in the verbal-linguistic features intrinsic to it, to represent the worldview of the speakers. Moreover, such an exemplification demonstrates how the Ham distinguish between contempt and a spoken humorous anecdote and that humour, in that way, generates expressions which indicate identity.
How to Cite
Copyright will be vested in Unisa Press. However, as long as you do not use the article in ways which would directly conflict with the publisherâ€™s business interests, you retain the right to use your own article (provided you acknowledge the published version of the article) as follows:
- to make further copies of all or part of the published article for your use in classroom teaching;
- to make copies of the final accepted version of the article for internal distribution within your institution, or to place it on your own or your institutionâ€™s website or repository, or on a site that does not charge for access to the article, but you must arrange not to make the final accepted version of the article available to the public until 18 months after the date of acceptance;
- to reâ€use all or part of this material in a compilation of your own works or in a textbook of which you are the author, or as the basis for a conference presentation.