Journal of Studies in Language, Culture and Society (JSLCS)
Volume 6, Numéro 2, Pages 67-75

Greeting Others: Hermeneutics Of The Greeting Ritual In The Esan And àlago Communities In Nigeria

Authors : Adjeran Moufoutaou . Wetohossou Adignondé Blandine Alice . Akhideno Aidegue . Njoku Sr Elizabeth .


This study analyses the ritual of greetings in two Nigerian linguistic communities: the Esan and the Alágo. Based on in situ observation of greeting rituals and their contexts of application, we have come to the conclusion that the functioning of this social practice stems from politeness and social organisation marked by precise choices and appropriate gestures. The analysis shows that an act of language such as greeting, through discursive and communicative movements, reveals the social relationships existing between the different people involved in this interaction. Thus, we can see that through the use of greetings in these linguistic communities, men and women demonstrate a particular linguistic behaviour with the use of distinct lexical forms. On the one hand, each greeting is closely correlated with the gender of the person using it and, on the other hand, it is also indicative of their marital status. Formulas that facilitate expression: aisan and doejie among the Esan on the one hand, and onogha and ajiga on the other, are used respectively by men and women without distinction of age but in connection with the conjugal situation of the person being greeted. Among the Alágo, on the other hand, we have identified a single generic greeting - nmaje - used exclusively by young single men and women. Marital status is a significant factor in the use and choice of the two categories of greeting in this language community. An analysis of the choices made in line with the different categories of greeting reveals their correlation with gestures that are just as differentiated between men and women.


Greeting ; diagenetic variation ; Esan ; Àlágo ; Nigeria