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Two poems by D. A. Ọbasa


Many words in Yoruba frustrate trans-lingual transportation by the sheer complexity of their polysemic range. Such words are so culture-bound that they do not translate easily to English, especially when their metaphysical polyvalence in Yoruba has no equivalent in English. Therefore, my translation of Ọbasa's poems in the appendices below yields place to mediation, as I am constrained to try out or devise a series of strategies of transposition and transference, which in the words of Ọṣundare leads to ‘kiss and quarrel’ between the concerned languages. According to him, when two languages meet, they achieve a tacit understanding on the common grounds of similarity and convergence, then negotiate, often through strident rivalry and self-preserving altercations, their areas of dissimilarity and divergence.

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K. A. Appiah (1993) ‘Thick translation’, Callaloo 16 (4): 808–19

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  • ISSN: 0001-9720
  • EISSN: 1750-0184
  • URL: /core/journals/africa
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