A Conceptual Blending Analysis of Yorùbá Riddles

Hezekiah Olufẹmi Adeosun Prof, Mufuliat Iyabọde Ajibade


Riddle, as a genre in Yorùbá oral literature, explains many thoughts about the activities of the people, their culture, customs and natural phenomena. Studies have been carried out on Yorùbá riddles using different approaches for their analyses. However, the application of conceptual blending theory with the knowledge of cultural context has not been given adequate attention, hence, the desirability of this study. The objectives of the study were to: (i) explore the cultural context and mental spaces embedded in the selected riddles and (ii) analyse how the cultural contexts are accurately blended to arrive at the correct answer in the process of meaning negotiation in the selected Yorùbá riddles The study was a descriptive research.  The descriptive methods used included: translation, explanation and use of diagrams. The data were purposively obtained from two published texts on Yorùbá riddles. A total number of ten Yorùbá riddles were analysed. The findings of the study were that; (i) the cultural context embedded covers the Yorùbá people’s value system, belief system, lifestyles, habits, religion, marriage, food, clothing, traditions, behaviours, factual, and personal experiences and logical-semantic domain and (ii) different items of cultural context are accurately blended with a great range of background conceptual structures which assist to make the search for the optimal relevant context with least effort easier. The study concluded that the knowledge of cultural context, logical semantic and personal experience paved the way for a meaningful interpretation of Yorùbá riddles, thereby making riddle more easily soluble. The study recommended, among other things, the application of conceptual blending theory to other literary genres to assess their potential for achieving results and ability to deliver their social messages since the theory is cognitive-context sensitive.


Yorùbá riddles, conceptual blending, folklores, mental spaces

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