The paper explores the language style deployed by Ogundare Foyanmu in his Ijala poetry. Ijala chant is an aspect of traditional oral literature known among the hunters and Ogun worshippers popular among the Yoruba of the Southwestern part of Nigeria. The paper examines how linguistic-stylistic elements are deployed to foreground the chanter’s preoccupation, which is to criticize and correct the mores within his indigenous society. Relying on data derived from Foyanmu’s Ijala chant; Obinrin Obun (Filthy woman), in the collection of recorded oral poetry and downloaded from the internet (YouTube), the paper reveals that the poet deploys his Yoruba linguistic prowess to show that dirtiness is not only inimical to woman status in the society, but also unacceptable in the Yoruba cultural ethos. Through a close reading of the selected chant, the paper identifies cohesion, Yoruba abuse as manifested in simile, metaphor, as well as hyperbole as stylistic devices engaged to achieve the above. The paper concludes that Foyanmu’s work is not only meant to entertain his audience but also to attain social reform in a postcolonial society where dirt/dirtiness has metaphorically defined its fabrics.
Keywords: Foyanmu, Ijala, Oral poetry, Social reform advocacy, Yoruba