A Pragma-Semiotic Analysis of Ịkụ Aka n’ụzọ (Knocking-on-the-Door) Traditional Marriage Ceremony of Awgbu in Igboland
Studies on the linguistic imports of the traditional ceremony Ịkụ Aka n’ụzọ (Knocking-on-the-door) among the Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria are rare. This paper attempts a pragma-semiotic analysis of the ceremony among the Awgbu people of Orunba North Local Government Area of Anambra in Igboland. Data for the analysis was gathered through participant observation and informal questioning technique during one of such ceremony. Mey’s pragmatic acts theory and Peirce symbolic sign in semiotic theory are employed for the analysis. The study reveals that Ịkụ Aka n’ụzọ is performed in traditionally motivated contexts characterized by practs of questions, denials, reporting and responses that project issues of culture, humour, and pretence. These are indirect acts which exploit contextual features such as reference, voice, inference, shared situational and cultural knowledge, and relevance. The semiotic analysis reveals that the signage (i.e. kolanuts, palm wine, sheep and agụụ ‘hunger’) that feature in the ceremony are quite significant. Considering the real-life samples, the paper concludes that the significance of communication in the cultural context of the knocking-on-the-door ceremony based on its indirectness and symbolism is central to the overall understanding of this traditional practice among the Igbo.