An Analytic Study of three Rhetorical Devices: Metaphor, Simile and Antithesis in Siswati Proverbs

Jozi Joseph Thwala, Nandi Cedrol Mthethwa, Nkosinathi Macdonald Lusenga


The objectives of this study are to give broader knowledge and fundamental truth of Siswati proverbs that are classified according to selected figures of speech, namely: metaphor, simile, and antithesis. They further establish their structures and functions in rhetoric discourse. Proverbs arise from a conversational context and are of considerable benefit to those who use them often. Their regular usage in society with a deeper understanding, instill morals in people and are employed for educational purposes. They are relevant in the modern world if integrated into people’s everyday lives to achieve a better life to enrich their culture and social relations. Proverbs are meeting these challenges because of their authoritarian and persuasive nature. In Siswati language, a proverb is called saga in singular form and taga in plural form. Proverbs are complete, simple, complex or compound sentences that comprise all syntactic modalities. They are, however, rigid in structural formation but flexible in interpretive and applied dimensions. The moral and educative ideals and ideas are embedded in proverbs as they mirror the community pursuits in a broader manner. They cover various themes, structural forms, and figurative language. They reflect cultural and social life in the broader sense. The rhetoric approach is adopted for explicit exploration and interpretation.

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