Discursive Construction of Conflict Resolution: An Appraisal Analysis of Selected Igbo-Based Proverbs

Authors: Chito Ezike (Covenant University, Nigeria)
Lily Chimuanya (Covenant University, Nigeria)
Speakers: Chito Ezike, Lily Chimuanya
Topic: Linguistic Anthropology
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session


This study explores the cultural and linguistic significance of Igbo proverbs as a conveyer of moral lessons and cultural norms through metaphorical language. Hence, the study of the context and origin of proverbs contributes to understanding proverbs as valuable conflict resolution tools with implications for broader African oral traditions. Using insights from Lazarus’ (1991) Appraisal theory and responses from structured interviews and focus group discussions with members from four Igbo communities, the study examines the impacts of Igbo-based proverbs in diffusing crises and promoting peace.

Findings reveal that proverbs are frequently used in conversational discourse to provide guidance. Also, during disputes, elders invoke proverbs to reframe issues and reinforce shared values like cooperation. The study also finds that Igbo-based proverbs that promote non-retaliation and forgiveness have been used to resolve youth conflicts. Moreover, proverbs shape societal norms by transmitting concepts of restorative justice and reconciliation. The quantitative analysis shows the strategic importance of Igbo-based proverbs in mediation, education, and awareness efforts. The study argues that incorporating proverbs’ persuasive messaging could enhance peacebuilding initiatives. Overall, findings underscore Igbo proverbs’ significance in diffusing crises, fostering cooperative attitudes, and reinforcing cultural wisdom. The study concludes that there is need for further diverse research and longitudinal studies to comprehensively understand transformative impact of proverbs.


Ajakor, E., & Ewepu, E. (2020). The Dynamics of Moral Formation in the Modern Igbo Society: The Nnewi Experience. Journal of Religion and Human Relations, 8(2), 120-138.
Aleke, C. E. (2021). A feminist critical discourse analysis of gender prejudice in selected Igbo proverbs. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Gender Studies, 9(1), 181-194.
Egenti, M. C., & Okpaleke, O. (2016). On the role of Igbo proverbs in conflict resolution and reconciliation. Journal of Religion and Human Relations, 4(1), 102-118.
Isidienu, I. C. (2016). Philosophy of Igbo proverbs: The logic, ethics, and aesthetics in Igbo culture. Journal of Religion and Human Relations, 4(1), 119-135.
Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press
Monye, F. N. (2020). The proverbs as verbal extension of Igbo culture and tradition. International Journal of Literature and Arts, 4(1), 1-7.
Oboko, U., & Nwajiaku-Ugwu, L. O. (2020). A Pragmemic Analysis of Igbo Postproverbials: Identity Creation, Negotiation, and Signification. Matatu, 51(1), 84-101.
Olajuyin, O. A. (2019). Congruent proverbs: The concept and roles in conflict resolution. AFRREV LALIGE: An International Journal of Language, Literature and Gender Studies, 8(3), 80-94.

Keywords: Igbo-based proverbs, discursive frames, conflict resolution, peace promotion, cultural norms, oral traditions.