THE PLACE OF TRADITIONAL MODES OF COMMUNICATION IN THE ERA OF MODERN / NEW COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
In this examination of communication and society, it is necessary to have an idea of what the two basic terms means by way of definition and explanation. Communication has been defined by the Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary of current English as the process of imparting thought, knowledge or intelligence verbal or written form from a source to a receiver. Edward Sapir also recognized “communication as a fundamental social process”.
Another definition of communication is that communication is the passing on or transmission of message with the use of language to heterogeneous audience.
From the above definitions, it is seen that the two concepts have something in common; that holds them is the relationship that exist between them.
Communication generally is a fundamental social process which essentially has to do with any discipline or activity that is concerned with human society and behavior.
Therefore, it has been identified as “the basis of human existence, for it is at the heat of all society intercourse.
In our day-to-day life, we interact with one another by way of communication. This society cannot exist without communication for it is the only mechanism through which human interaction exists.
Living generally also depend on communication for even our body system cannot function without communication with one another through contact.
Communication also takes place when an individual talks to a follow individual, when an idea is made known to a group and when a concept is disclosed.
There is also a need for communication among human groups, as this is the Chief factor for creation of unity and continuity for the society and the vehicle for the conveyance of the culture. But it does not suffice to say that communication itself can be meaningful and effective without its association with other thing and other processes.
This is because, communication does not exist on its own in a vacuum, rather it exist in the society and function among persons.
It emanates from members of the society and assumes a social network. Going form one person to another and linking itself to means of its transmission through a channel, which is the mass media. This leads to a chain of process. Thus “through communication which exist between two persons or one person as the source to a group of person, ideas, needs information is conveyed through the channel. This message is decoded at the society who is the audience. By way of this life in the communication process, the channels of communication contributes tremendously to the propagation of information and the continued existence of the society.
It is pertinent to point out at this juncture, that every communication or message has its targeted audience to whom it is directed to. And when such a message gets to the audience an aim has been achieved. Also, when the audience is able to decode the encoded message as the effect compliance, another aim which is the ultimate aim is equally achieved in the face of these, what then is the essence of communication.
The aim of communication is to create awareness, education or enlightenment and through such awareness created, to elicit response, compliance, a change of attitude in respect or re-enforce them.
Traditional Communication in Igbo Land
Before the white man came in Igbo land, the oral communication was the system of interaction in the area. The town crier performed a very important function by collecting and spreading very important information among his people, he served as an intermediary between the heads of the people and report their feelings to them.
Most of the time, the town criers had to embellish whatever message they had for the villages with riddles, idioms and proverbs or may even code the message in order to drive home the news in the light of this, the town carier were and are very popular among the village-folks, who are always ready to listen to them so as to be abreast with current news and events even today. In spite of the numerous electronic, broadcast stations with their educative and informative program, most villages still enjoy the functions of the tradition town carriers which are often more effective.
The main instrument of communication used by the town caries in Igbo land is the gong and flute. In addition to this there are other instruments used in non-herbal communication in Igbo land. Among these are the metallic and wooden instruments, signs and symbols. Wooden gong (Ekwe) metallic gong and xylophone (ngelegwu) etc are metallic and wooden instrument used for communication while the palm fruit at its tender stage (omu) is also an instrument of communication.
The notes from this communication instrument signs and symbols are interpreted very well by the people, to whom they are directed. The sounding of the wooden gong (ekwe) and the valorous gong (ikoro) in the night normally depicts dangers in Ngwo. This could be that, thieves or armed robbers are around and they are used to keep everybody at alert.
Much importance is attached by the village folk to non-verbal means of communication. Achebe attested this in “Things fall Apart”, when he wrote that …Umohia was still swallowed up in sleep and silence when the Ekwe began to talk, men stirred on their bamboo beds and listen anxiously.
Equally writing on the important characteristics the place of traditional mode of communication, Ugboajah (1979) pointed that “communication in traditional Nigeria communicates is mainly a matter of human inter.-relationship so to accept action will effect established relationship that is what said is as important as who said it.
He referred to traditional mode of communication as “traditional Media” it is however to juxtapose the mode in terms of their effectiveness.
There is no gain saying that fact that the various mass media get to their targeted audience spontaneously within a twinkle of an eye, reading wider spectrum of human being of heterogeneous background and in a very sizeable number.
This ability of mass media to but across ethnic geographic and social background is really the strength of the mass media over the traditional mode of communication.
In other words, the traditional mode of communication is delimited in its scope of coverage as capable of reaching a wider size of the population at a time unlike the media which blast everything open to all sundry spontaneously. This delimitation also affected the traditional mates in the scene that it cannot be used to heterogeneous audience, consisting of various geographical ethics, social political and lingual backgrounds.
Despite the afore-stated differences, the traditional mode of communication could be ranked the same with the mass media in terms of its places to bring about desired results expected from the audience. In fact, in some cases where the mass media fail as a result of some inherent barriers, the traditional mode of communication is applied and the expected result is obtained. It is therefore logical to assert the traditional mode despite it shortcomings as mentioned above, are very effective as a means of communication. This assertion finds support in the facts of the ultimate in communication is the creation of awareness, to reinforce erode existing response (which the traditional mode do) they are therefore very effective on the other hand, if the traditional mode can be effective, where the mass media fails it follow that the traditional mode of communication are complementing or supplementing to mass media effective role.
However viewed from another perspective, the most communication that made use of the traditional mode are never intended to be so wide or limited in it scope, its targeted audience.
By their nature, traditional modes are often used within and about confined geographical location like a town or district. It therefore follows that message come through traditional mode of communication are intentionally traditional mode to be two persuasive and wide in scope, it became improper to fault it own that score or carry a comparative analysis on it in the same premises of coverage with mass media.
1.2 Background of the Study
In any given society that is developed, there must be a mode of communication in which they interact with each other example internet service, mobile phone, radio, television, email etc.
The traditional mode of communication in Awka South play a positive role in communication they are:
The town carriers and other signs and symbols, town carriers performs a very important function by collecting and spreading information among his people.
He serves as an intermediary between the heads of the communities and the villagers. This is because he conveyed the message of the community’s head to the people and reported their feeling to them. The main instrument of communication used by the town carrier in Awka South is the gong and flute.
Other signs and symbols are wooden gong, metallic gong, xylophone are metallic and wooden instruments of communication while the palm frond at its tender stage is also an instrument of communication.
The sounding of wooden gong and the various gong in the night normally depicts danger.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
The issue that inspired or motivated the researcher to carry out this study is to understand the place of traditional mode of communication in the era of modem / new communication technology in Awka South.
To know the benefits of communication also the traditional modes of communication in Awka South.
The second issue of the problem is to know whether modern communication has been able to influence the people of Awka South than traditional mode of communication. To also know if the people of Awka South prefer traditional mode of communication to modern communication.
1.4 Research Objectives
Generally, this research work is focused on traditional mode of communication and its aimed at examining its place in modern communication era at Awka South. This work intends to find out the followings.
1. The relevance of traditional mode of communication.
2. To find out whether Awka South people still make use of this traditional mode of communication.
3. To find out if the people of Awka South are abreast with modern communication technology.
4. To find out the extent at which the traditional modern of communication has effectively help in mobilizing the people into action.
1.5 Research Questions
1. Is there any relevance of traditional mode of communication?
2. Do people of Awka South still make use of this traditional mode of communication?
3. Are people of Awka South abreast with modern communication technology?
4. Is the traditional mode of communication effective in mobilizing the people?
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study has the following significance
1. The traditional mode of communication help to transform the people’s way of life that is their custom and culture this extends to non-Awka South people.
2. To enlighten the people of Awka South to know the benefits of traditional mode of communication.
3. To promote and elevate the traditional mode of communication as well as its relevance to people residing in rural communities like Nibo.
1.7 Scope of Study
The scope of this study is delimitated to the place of traditional mode of communication in the era of modern / new communication technology in Awka South
1.8 Limitations of the Study
Throughout the research of this study the author encountered many difficulties in other to make this research a credible one.
Also, time factor was another challenges but be it as it may, the researcher took time to go into many places in the community to get the real fact in other to make this study a credible one as well.
In line was financial constraints this occurred during the time of gathering information for this project, also, it extended to the typing printing and binding but by God’s grace all these challenges were surmounted and the work was successfully produced to the best.
Operational Definition of Terms
The under listed assertion signifies the general ideas on experimentation of this study general ideas on experimentation of the study.
1. Traditional: The native belief and way of doing things according to ancestors.
2. Mode: The process through which information is conveyed
3. communication: The interactive transmission of a message from the source to the targeted audience.
4 Culture: The general belief or moral principle and laws of a native area.
5 Traditional Mode of Communication:- These various channel through which native or Africa institution or way of life is being transmitted.
6 Modern / New Communication Technologies: The new medium through which information is disseminated in a easier and faster channel.