The Significance of Body Language: The case of Mukamba Dance
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This study aimed at looking at the significance of body language in the case of Mukamba dance. In order to achieve this aim, the following hypotheses were tested through observation and interview. It was discovered that body language has not been neglected.
Based on the finding of the study, it is a recommendation that the youths should get involved in the “Mukamba Dance”.
Besides entertainment, body movement has a language to pass across to the world. Language has evolved from a system of manual gestures and to have been only subsequently associated with vocalization. Paralinguistic is the manner of speaking to communicate particular meanings.
Paralinguistic have non-verbal elements of communication used to modify meaning and convey emotions, it may be expressed consciously or unconsciously. Paralinguistic signals both vocal and non-vocal which, are essential parts of all normal language behaviour. Abercrombie, (1987: 95-110) puts it “we speak with our entire bodies”.
If one wishes to speak a language correctly and fluently and to avoid being misunderstood, one must be able to control, not only the linguistic but also the paralinguistic that is communication using signs. Therefore, one can say that the non-verbal component is closely associated with the social and expressive function of language.
Body language is a form of mental and physical ability of human and non-verbal communication which consist of body posture, gestures, facial expressions and eye movements. James Borg (1958:123) states that human communication consists of 93% body language and paralinguistic cues while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves.
There has been a growing realization in the past years that “language”, be it first or second, should not be understood as referring merely to the oral (or written) medium, but that body language, its structure, and evolution is also an important avenue to the study of language.
The Background of the Study
Malende – Muyuka is one of the villages which make up the Balong tribe. It is found in the South West Region of Cameroon. Their main traditional dance is Mukamba.
The Mukamba dance originated from the North of Congo where the Balong people copied this dance and it became part of their culture and tradition.
Furthermore, the dance became an aspect of ritual whereby the villagers use it to consult the gods. It became known as the “Mukamba” which means “Joy”. But today this dance serves a lot of purposes, it is not only used to invoke the ancestors, but it is also used to entertain in “born houses”, and to welcome important visitors like the chief, governor or any
an outstanding member of the community, so it is worthwhile researching this dance because it is out to look at the body significance and not the incantations.
Statement of the Problem
The Mukamba dance has nothing written on it but the origin of the Balong culture has been written on. This dance which is an aspect of the Balong culture has been neglected, the reason being that people tend to get involved with the exciting and entertaining aspect of the dance rather than its linguistic significance.
Since this very important aspect has been kept aside, this work, therefore, sets out to show through the Mukamba dance how body language has been undermined by many. It will thereafter show the relationship between body language and communication.
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to show the significance of body language through the Mukamba dance as will be seen in the following ways.
- To show the importance of body language
- To bring out the meaning in the communicative aspects (signs and gestures) that are made during the Mukamba dance.
- To tickle interest in the Mukamba dance as an aspect of culture.
- To show that body movement in dance is communicative.
- Is body language neglected?
- Is there any message in body movement?
- Does body movement have a language of its own?