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SULPHUR AND ITS COMPOUND SULPHUR AND ITS COMPOUND:A.SULPHUR (S) Sulphur is an element in Group VI(Group 16)of the Periodic table . It has atomic number 16...







How to Make Notes

The following tips will come in handy when making notes:

  1. Read the material carefully and thoroughly.
  2. Underline the key sentences as you read. This will help in forming the title.
  3. Make a rough note of the main points in a logical sequence.
  4. Write the final notes.

You should have in mind that a note:

  1. Should be short and to the point.
  2. Contain all the important and relevant information.
  3. Should have information systematically divided and subdivided.
  4. Should have a short title. Avoid long sentences as titles.
  5. Must be written in points only.

Notes Template

TITLE …………………….

(a) …………………………………………. (b) ………………………………………… (c) ………………………………………..

(d) ………………………………………..



Reading for study is a detailed reading that requires the reading speed to be slowed down.

You may have to fracture a single idea or concept in a sentence at a time, and you may need to go back over the text several times.

Some sections of material may require that you understand every sentence and that you know how each sentence, and sometimes each equation, relates to the next..

You could also try the following when reading for study:

  • Mark the text as you go. Highlight key concepts, and try to sort out which information will be critical to the lesson and assignment questions on which you will be working.
  • Use visual images.
    1. When you try to visualize as you read a material you will understand what you read more.
    2. If there are diagrams or illustrations in your study materials, learn to use them to complement the text.
    3. When there is no diagram to illustrate a process or idea, make your own. Your own diagram will stick in your mind long after the descriptive words are forgotten.
  • Note new terms. Trying memorizing and finding their meanings.

SQ3R – Reading/Study System

SQ3R is a reading comprehension technique named for its five steps: survey, question, read, recite/recall, and review.

Follow the steps below to learn how to gather as much information as possible from the text requirements from any class.

    1. Read the title to help your mind prepare to receive the subject matter at hand.
    2. Read the introduction and/or summary..
    3. Observe each boldface heading and subheading. This helps systematize your mind before you begin to read and build a structure for the thoughts and details to come.
    4. Check for any graphics, for example, charts, maps, diagrams, which are meant to make a point. Don’t ignore them.
    5. Notice reading aids like italics, bold face print, chapter objective, and end-of -chapter questions are all included to help you sort, comprehend, and remember.



This is where you assist your mind to engage and concentrate

Turn the boldface heading for each section into as many questions as you think will be answered in that section. The better the questions, the better your comprehension is likely to be. You may always add further questions as you proceed. When your mind is actively searching for answers to questions it becomes engaged in learning.

  • READ

Read one section at a time with your questions in mind and look for the answers. Recognize when you need to make up some new questions.


After each part, stop and recall your questions and see if you can answer them from memory.

If you are unable to remember, look back at the text again , but don’t move to the next section until you can recite the answers from the previous one.


Once you’ve finished the entire chapter using the preceding steps, go back over the questions you create for every heading. See if you can still answer them. If not, look back and refresh your memory and then continue.



Critical reading is an investigative activity.

The reader rereads a text to identify patterns of elements such as information, values, assumptions, and language usage throughout the discussion.

The above elements are tied together in an interpretation, a claim of an underlying meaning of the text as a whole.

Why Critical Reading? 

We critically read so as to:

  • recognize an author’s purpose
  • understand tone and persuasive elements
  • recognize bias


 In Interpretive reading, you read a selection of passages from a book, poem, or other piece of literature that have a similar theme.

One of the objectives is to read with feeling and energy, bringing out the emotion written into the passage. You begin with an intro and intersperse transitions and end with a conclusion.

Read the poem below from America and about an American woman. After it is the interpretation.



Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me hasn’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor — Bare.


But all the time

I’ve been a-climbing’ on,

And reaching’ landings,

And turning’ corners,

And sometimes going’ in the dark Where there hasn’t been no light.


So boy, don’t you turn back. Don’t you set down on the steps ‘Cause you find it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now —

For I’se still going’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.



There are no one escapes in life without challenges that bring sadness and suffering. The woman was obviously poor and not as well educated.  Suffering and perseverance appear to know no boundaries of race or class.

Now try interpreting the message in the poem that follow.

SEE IT THROUGH by Edgar Guest 

When you’re up against a trouble,

Meet it squarely, face to face;

Lift your chin and set your shoulders,       Plant your feet and take a brace.

When it’s vain to try to dodge it,

Do the best that you can do; You may fail, but you may conquer,       See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you

And your future may seem grim, But don’t let your nerve desert you;      Keep yourself in fighting trim. If the worst is bound to happen,

Spite of all that you can do, Running from it will not save you,      See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,

When with troubles you’re beset, But remember you are facing

Just what other men have met.

You may fail, but fall still fighting;     Don’t give up, whate’er you do; Eyes front, head high to the finish.     See it through!


Attitude is the author’s personal feelings about a subject.

Tone refers to how the author, narrator or speaker feels or conveys information about the subject  Tone is the use of stylistic devices to reveal that personal feeling.

Whether it is for the analysis of literature or historical essays, recognition of tone and its associated words is vital for effective understanding of the text.

Tone is the key to understanding the author’s attitude and developing the intended mood. All students respond to the tone of the text, whether they realize it or not.  Tone/Attitude Words

They can be categorized as:          




•               amiable

•               brave

•               calm

•               cheery

•               complimentary

•               confident NEGATIVE

considerate consoling diplomatic ecstatic elated elevated

encouraging enthusiastic grand helpful joyful kind

learned loving optimistic passionate soothing
•               aggravated

•               agitated

•               angry

•               apprehensive

•               bitter

•               brash

•               caustic

•               disgusted NEUTRAL

flippant foreboding

furious gloomy grave hopeless indignant inflammatory

insolent insulting

irritated malicious melancholy morose mournful obnoxious

quarrelsome resigned sad sardonic surly testy threatening wrathful
•       authoritative

•       candid

•       clinical

•       conventional


didactic factual formal forthright

informative instructive objective restrained

sincere standard typical usual
•       caustic

•       condescending

•       contemptuous

droll facetious indifferently

insolent irreverent patronizing

petty whimsical wry


Sample Passage

“Fifteen years ago I came here with Lily,” he thought. “We sat somewhere over there by a lake and I begged her to marry me all through the hot afternoon. How the dragonfly kept circling round us: how clearly I see the dragonfly and her shoe with the square silver buckle at the toe. All the time I spoke I saw her shoe and when it moved impatiently I knew without looking up what she was going to say: the whole of her seemed to be in her shoe. And my love, my desire, were in the dragonfly; for some reason I thought that if it settled there, on that leaf, she would say ‘Yes’ at once. But the dragonfly went round and round: it never settled anywhere — of course not, happily not, or I shouldn’t be walking here with Eleanor and the children.”

The speaker’s attitude may be described as nostalgic. The speaker looks at the past, remembering an afternoon when he “begged” a woman to accept his marriage proposal. He has nostalgic –feeling pleasure and longing for something in the past.


  • Facts are statements that can be checked or proved.
  • Opinions are statements that cannot be proved. They tell what someone thinks or feels.
  • Opinions often contain clue words such as think, feel, believe, and Other common clue words are always, never, all, none, most, least, greatest, best, and worst.
  • A fact is something that is true.
  • An opinion tells how a person feels about something.
  • Facts can be proven. Opinions cannot.   

Are the following statements opinions or facts?

  1. Giraffe is the tallest animal.
  2. Uhuru Kenyatta is the best president ever.
  3. We use pens to write.



Oral poetry refers to the verbal expression of feelings, ideas and thoughts using words arranged in their best possible order.  If sung, it is a song.

Features of Oral Poetry

Oral poetry has the following features:

  • It is composed and delivered by word of mouth.
  • Linguistic aspects such as tone and pitch are crucial in oral poetry in varying the meaning and the mood .
  • There is often solo and chorus pattern especially in sung poetry.
  • Accompanied with movement and dance.
  • The performer dresses in costumes in some sung poetry.
  • Musical instruments such as drums, horn can accompany the performance of poetry.
  • Rhythm or beat. It is a regular repeated pattern of sounds. It can be slow, fast, moderate, monotonous, or disjointed.
  • This refers to whether the song/poetry should be loud or soft. A lullaby should be sung softly while war song should be sung loudly as it engenders courage and aggression.


Classification of Oral Poetry

For purposes of study, oral poetry can be classified based on criteria that follow:

  1. The performer of the poetry, for example, children’s songs
  2. The theme, examples

Love poetry

Play songs

War songs

Initiation songs

  1. Context of performance, examples


Wedding songs

War poetry

  1. Function, examples,

Praise songs/poetry  Teasing songs  lullabies


they are sung by a nanny, sibling, aunty, order to:

  1. Send the baby to sleep.
  2. Calm the crying baby.
  3. Give promise to the crying baby. The promise can be that one of the parents is coming back.

They are normally sung softly so as to lull the baby.

If you have to clap, or hum, or whistle to the rhythm, do it softly and slowly.

In the case where a child cries, rock the baby as you sing.

You can also gently tap the back of the baby.

They are normally short.

They are also repetitive.

Read the song below and then attempt the questions that follow.

Sleep baby sleep

Sleep baby sleep

Your father tends the sheep

Your mother shakes the dreamland tree.

  1. Identify two features of lullabies in the above song.
  2. Give the main reason for singing the above song. iii. How would you do the following as you sing the song:
    1. Clap to the rhythm of the song.
    2. Rock the baby as you sing.


(b) children songs

They are sung by children during their playtime.

Also referred to as play songs.

Features of Children Songs

  1. Repetition is used. A word, sentence, and even a whole stanza can be repeated.
  2. They are often short.

Functions of Children’s  Songs

  1. They help in developing children’s language skills as they listen to familiar words in the songs.
  2. Help develop children’s listen skills, thus concentrate.
  3. Encourage creativity in children. At times you find children adding words that were not initially mentioned in the original versions of the songs.
  4. Some teaching counting of numbers.

Now read the song below. You can practice singing it.

In and out the bamboo forest

In and out the bamboo forest

In and out the bamboo forest You are my partner.

Beat a beat on my shoulder

Beat a beat on my shoulder

Beat a beat on my shoulder You are my partner

  • Teasing Songs

Sung to make fun of someone.

  • Religious Poetry

Sung and performed during religious occasions.

Sung mostly at places considered holy grounds.

Sung softly and slowly.

  • Love Poetry/Songs

They are based on romance.

Sung by one to the loved one.

They are sung softly and slowly as they should present romantic elements.

They are sung to:

  1. Express romance.
  2. Mend the damaged relationship between lovers.
  • Cradle Songs/Poetry

Performed to mark the birth of  a child.

In most cases, a child is wished a successful life in future.

Mostly performed by women and girls.

During this time, a child or child’s mother is presented with gifts.

  • War Poetry

Performed by warriors during war.

Sung loudly to show bravery.

During the singing, weapons are held in the hands of the performers.


  • Hunting Songs

Hunters perform hunting songs.

Sung on the way to and from hunting trip.

Hunting tools carried in the process.

Just like war songs, they are sung loudly.

They are on the way to hunt to encourage themselves on the possibility of killing fatter and enough animals.

Also to pass time on their way.

  • Satirical Poetry

One’s folly is criticized in this song.

They are meant to help the wicked in some areas to change.

  • Epics/Heroic Poetry

They are elaborate and talk about the lives of heroes known to the community.

The heroic deeds of the heroes are mentioned.

  • Dirges

Also referred to as funeral songs or funeral poems.

They are sung after learning about the death of someone.

Can also be sung during the funeral ceremony.

Should also be sung softly to show the sadness that result from losing someone’s beloved one.

In some cases, weapons are held during the performance.

There is the use of apostrophe. This is style of addressing an object or a death as if it is alive and can respond.

While women sing, men chant.

  • Panegyrics

In its specialized form panegyric is a type of oral poetry and one meant to praise someone.

The praise song can be sung by someone else or sung by one for self praises. Sometimes these are self-praises

Formalized praises are directed publicly to kings, chiefs, and leaders, composed and recited by members of a king’s official entourage.

One can be praised in case of:

  1. personal achievement in war
  2.   Achievement in hunting.


What else is praised in a Panegyric?

  1. In eastern and southern Africa cattle form a popular subject in praise poetry, and inanimate things like divining implements or even a train or bicycle are also praised.
  2. In West Africa, apparently unlike other areas, formal praises are addressed to supernatural beings.

Look at the panegyric below.

Ogun kills on the right and destroys on the right.

Ogun kills on the left and destroys on the left.

Ogun kills suddenly in the house and suddenly in the field.

Ogun kills the child with the iron with which it plays.

Ogun kills in silence.

Ogun kills the thief and the owner of the stolen goods.

Ogun-kills the owner of the slave—and the slave runs away.

Ogun kills the owner of thirty ’iwofa’ [pawns]—and his money, wealth and children disappear.

Ogun kills the owner of the house and paints the hearth with his blood.

Ogun is the death who pursues a child until it runs into the bush.


Ogun is the needle that pricks at both ends.

Ogun has water but he washes in blood.

Ogun do not fight me. I belong only to you.

The wife of Ogun is like a tim tim [decorated leather cushion].

She does not like two people to rest on her.

Ogun has many gowns. He gives them all to the beggars.

He gives one to the woodcock—the woodcock dyes it indigo.

He gives one to the coucal—the coucal dyes it in camwood.

He gives one to the cattle egret—the cattle egret leaves it white.

Ogun is not like pounded yam:

Do you think you can knead him in your hand And eat of him until you are satisfied?

Ogun is not like maize gruel:

Do you think you can knead him in your hand And eat of him until you are satisfied?

Ogun is not like something you can throw in your cap:

Do you think you can put on your cap and walk away with him?

Ogun scatters his enemies.

When the butterflies arrive at the place where the cheetah excretes, They scatter in all directions.

The light shining on Ogun’s face is not easy to behold.

Ogun, let me not see the red of your eye.

Ogun sacrifices an elephant to his head.

Master of iron, head of warriors, Ogun, great chief of robbers.

Ogun wears a bloody cap.

Ogun has four hundred wives and one thousand four hundred children.

Ogun, the fire that sweeps the forest.

Ogun’s laughter is no joke.

Ogun eats two hundred earthworms and does not vomit.

Ogun is a crazy orisha [deity] who still asks questions after 780 years.

Whether I can reply, or whether I cannot reply, Ogun please don’t ask me anything.

The lion never allows anybody to play with his cub.


Ogun will never allow his child to be punished.

Ogun do not reject me!

Does the woman who spins ever reject a spindle?

Does the woman who dyes ever reject a cloth?

Does the eye that sees ever reject a sight?

Ogun, do not reject me! [Ogun needs his worshippers]. (Gbadamosi and Beier 1959: 21–2)

, like the personal recitations of the Hima noble class of Ankole in which a man celebrates his military achievements, building his poem on a sequence of praise names:

I Who Am Praised thus held out in battle among foreigners along with The Overthrower;

I Who Ravish Spear In Each Hand stood resplendent in my cotton cloth;

I Who Am Quick was drawn from afar by lust for the fight … (Morris 1964: 42)

5Praises of kings are the most formal and public of all, ranging from the relatively simple Ganda praise of the powerful nineteenth-century king Mutesa cited by the Chadwicks:

Thy feet are hammers,

Son of the forest [a comparison with a lion]

Great is the fear of thee;

Great is thy wrath;

Great is thy peace;

Great is thy power

Look not with too friendly eyes upon the world,

Pass your hand over your face in meditation, Not from the heat of the sun.

The bull elephant is wise and lives long.


Stylistic Devices in Oral Poetry/Songs

Here, we shall discuss two areas of performance:

  1. The context of performance. Key here are:

Where the song is performed.

The occasion when the song is performed.

Target audience.

The performer of the poetry.

  1. What the performer is doing as he/she performs the song.

The singer/performer can do the following as he/she performs the song/oral poetry:

  1. Use facial expressions to depict the emotion in the poem or song.
  2. Vary the tone to show the enotion in the poem. Also to show the speed of events.
  3. Use gestures to reinforce the what is being said.
  4. Accompanying instruments and costume.

Stylistic Devices in Oral Poetry

An oral poetry can have textual poetic techniques like:

  1. Satire
  2. Irony
  3. Sarcasm
  4. Figures of speech such as imagery, symbolism, etc.
  5. Humour
  6. Suspense
  7. Allusion
  8. Mnemonic features such as rhyme, assonance, alliteration, consonance, etc,



A proverb is a brief statement full of hidden meaning and which expresses wisdom and truth.

The term adage, or wise saying, is sometimes used to mean the same thing as a proverb.

It is one of the short forms of oral literature. Other short forms are tongue twisters, riddles, and puns.

Classification of Proverbs

There are three approaches to classifying proverbs.

Proverbs are classified according to:

(a) The theme (b) Alphabetical letters (c) Function served.

(d) Styles used

  • According to the Theme

Thematically, proverbs can be classified as:

  1. Proverbs on fate
  2. Proverbs on authority
  3. Proverbs on greed
  4. Proverbs on love
  5. Proverbs on marriage
  6. Proverbs on co-operation
  7. Proverbs on arrogance
  8. Proverbs on communal life, etc.
  • According to the Alphabetical Letters Alphabetically, proverbs can be categorized as:
    1. “A” proverbs if the first words begin with letter “A”.
    2. “B” proverbs iii. “K” proverbs, etc.
  • According to the Function served by the Proverb Functionally, proverbs can be classified as:
    1. Cautionary proverbs, which warn against what is undesirable.
    2. Normative proverbs, which reinforce what the community considers acceptable and desirable.
  • Summative proverbs. They summarize issues and even narratives.
  • According to Styles Used

Stylistically, classify proverbs as:

  1. Alliterative proverbs
  2. Onomatopoeic proverbs
  3. Repetitive proverbs
  4. Epigrammatic proverbs if they are longer, and consist of two parts.


Proverb Classified

Wajua tamu yaua sumu umenipiani?

You know that sweetness kills, why have you given me poison?

Classifying the Proverb

Alphabetically  Stylistically   Thematically  Functionally 
“W” Proverb Interrogative love Normative 

 Features of Proverbs

Proverbs have  features such as:

  1. They are brief.
  2. They contain wisdom
  3. Proverbs also have stylistic qualities.

Stylistic Qualities of Proverbs

Proverbs possess unique stylitic qualities like:

  • Mnemonic features such as alliteration, assonance and consonance.
  • Personifictation
  • Parallesism
  • Hyperbole
  • Paradox
  • Ellipsis

Let’s learn these from the example of proverbs :

  • Alliteration, example

Forgive and forget

  • Consonance, example, Practice makes perfect.
  • Assonance, for example,

Upendapo, uendapo.

Where you like it, is where you must go.

  • Parallesism

This is a balance between two similar words, phrases, or clauses. Examples

  1.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  2. Easy come, easy go.


  • Ellipsis

Some words are omitted.

  1. Unneeded words are left out in order for us to fill what is missing. Examples            Once bitten, twice shy.
  2. Penny wise, pound foolish.
  • Hyperbole

An idea is exaggerated in order to evoke strong feelings, or to create a strong impression. Example

The half is more than the whole.

  • Paradox

It is an apparently true statement that leads to, or intentionally expresses a contradiction or situation, which defies intuition. Examples iii.      The longest way is the shortest way home. iv.     Absence make the heart grow fonder.

  • Personification , examples,
  1. Hunger is the best cook.
  2. Love is blind.

Functions of Proverbs

Proverbs play the following roles:

  1. Normative functions. Proverbs:
  2. Congratulate ii. Give suggestions iii. Warn iv. Advise
  3. Request, etc
  4. Aesthetic functions. When we use proverbs in speech, we make it more appealing.
  5. Convey wisdom.
  6. Summarize experiences.


The following are Swahili proverbs. Classify them according to the criteria learnt earlier.

Adui mpende, kumchukia ni kumchukia ndugu yako.

Love [your] enemy, your hating is like having your own brother.

Adui mpende leo, yawezekana mkawa rafiki kesho.

Love an enemy today; it is possible that you might become friends tomorrow.

Aliyekunyoa shungi kakupunguzia kuchana.

The one who cut your curls took away your need of combing.

Nampenda mtu pindi anipendapo.

I love someone when that person loves me.

Asio adui si mtu.

A person who has no enemies is not a human being.

 Asiyekuridhi mridhi.

Please the one who does not please you.

Aliyekuridhi nawe umridhi.

The one who agrees with you, agree with that person.

Chako kikioza hakikunukii.

Even if your sore is putrefied, you don’t smell the bad odor.

You don’t see your own bad behavior or that of your family and if you see it you don’t hate is as other people do.


Mkono wenye uchafu husafishwa, haukatwi.   A dirty hand is cleaned, not cut.

 Chozi la akupendaye hutoka kwenye chongo.

The tears of one who loves you will come even from a bad eye.

 Chuki humchoma anayeihifadhi.

Hate burns its preserver.

Do not nurse hatred, it will hurt you.

Dawa ya meno ni meno.

The remedy for teeth is teeth. Tit for tat; a tooth for a tooth

Sumu ya neno ni neno.

The poison of a word is

Dawa ya moto ni moto.

The cure against fire is fire. Fight fire with fire.

 Fitina ikidhihiri ubaya hukithiri.

When the quarrel gets in the open, evil will grow.

Hasikii la mwadhini wala la mtia maji msikitini.

So and So does not listen to the muezzin nor to the one who puts water [for the ritual ablutions] in the mosque.

Heri moyo mkubwa kuliko akili kubwa.

A big heart is better than a big brain.

Heshima ni moyo.

Respect is of the heart.

Humpendaje mtu kwa kwambiwa penda?

How is one to love a person by being told [to] love someone.

Huwezi kurudisha mahaba na maisha.

You cannot bring back love or life. Understood: Once they have gone.

 Inyeshapo mvua, aliye ndani hajali.

When it rains, the one inside does not worry.


Ikiwa unawapenda watoto wa wengine, utawapenda wako zaidi.

If you love other people’s children, you will love your own even more.

Kipendacho moyo ni dawa.

What the heart desires is like medicine to it.

Mkono wako ukichafuka, huukati.

If your hand gets soiled, you do not cut it off.

Wema hauwezi kuepuka meno ya kusudi.   Goodness cannot escape the teeth of envy.

 Ya kale hayapo.

The ancient things are with us no longer.  Let bygones be bygones.

 Ya mahaba ndio maradhi upeo.

The intoxication of love is the worst disease.


A riddle is a short saying intended to make one to use his wits in discovering the hidden meaning.

Familiar objects or situations are referred to in a figurative terms for us to figure out what is meant.

Classification of Riddles

Riddles are classified according to the criteria below:

  1. Simplicity or complexity of the riddle
  2. Objects mentioned in the riddle
  3. Style and structure of the riddle

(a) Simplicity or Complexity

A simple riddle is brief and straightforward.

A riddle is complex when it is long and is presented in a series of puzzles.


(b) According to Objects Mentioned

A riddle can be classified according to the object referred to in that riddle.

A riddle can therefore be classified as:

Riddle on people

Riddle on waste product, e.g. human waste

Riddles on cultural objects

Natural phenomena, like rocks

Domestic animals



Parts of the body

And others

(c) Style and Structure 

A style is also crucial in classifying riddles.

According to the style and structure, riddles can be classified as:

  • Declarative riddles are presented as direct descriptions.
  • Epigrammatic riddles, which are presented as series of puzzles.
  • Idiophonic riddles use idiophones.
  • Interrogative riddles are posed as questions.

Characteristics of Riddles

  1. They are short and brief.
  2. Use personification.
  3. Use of metaphor.
  4. Use of idiophones.
  5. Use of onomatopoeic words.
  6. Use repetition


Riddling Process

There are two parties involved: the audience (respondents) and the challenger(or the riddler).  There are basically four stages of a riddling process, but at times six.  The parts of the riddling process are:

  • The riddler challenges the audience. The challenge differs from community to community. Some phrases used here include: riddle riddle!, I have a riddle! Etc.
  • The respondents accept the challenge. The invitations include: riddle come! Throw it! Etc.
  • The riddler then poses the riddle.
  • The guess or guesses. The audience tries to come up with the solution. If they are unable, then the next part follows.
  • The challenger asks for a prize. The prize can be a town or city, or any other thing. The challenger accepts the prize.
  • Then the solution is given by the challenger.

Functions of Riddles

  1. They entertain. Entertainment arises from the objects they refer to.
  2. They educate. Language is taught. The environment is also understood better.
  3. They teach values.
  4. Help develop the ability to think faster.
  5. Logical reasoning of participants are improved.
Sample Maasai Riddles




Kidung’ ang’ata bkira aare nimiking’amaro?

The two of us cross the wilderness without talking to each other.

Iyie oloip lino

You and your shadow.

Edung’ ng’utunyi olosinko erumisho Enkeju enkerai


Anaa ipi nabaa o nabaa nimintieu atakedo Eremet
enkashe e kikoris enkoriong?

Why are you so brave yet you cannot sit on the back of the heifer from Kilgoris?

Because it is a spear. (there may have been some blacksmiths who lived at Kilgoris in the old days, so the spear may have been made and brought from there).
Mugie ai naten ilasho?

My brown one with speedy calves?

Enkawuo o mbaa

The bow and arrows

Ting’iria maaishaki?

Will you observe while I put it all inside you?

Olalem opiki enchashur

The sword that is being put into the sheath

(an obvious sexual pun)

Anaa ipi nabaa o nabaa nimitonie enetonie entito nayok?

Why are you so brave yet you cannot sit at the place where the little black girl sits?


Because it is the fire

(the little black girl is the pot which has turned black with soot)

Anaa keidurraki neini nanyokie?

They moved homes and the red one was born?


The fire

(the Maasai often burn up the old village when they move)

Tamanai teidia alo oldoinyio matamanu tena nimikitumo aikata

Go round one side of the mountain while I go round the other side, but we shall never meet.


The ears

(ears do not move)

Or nememanyi, ore pee emanyi neishiri? There is a bare place where no one ever settles, and if one did so, there would be crying. What is it? Enkong’u The eye
Olkiteng’ lai otii erishata oolmang’ati? I have an ox that lives in the midst of enemies? Olng’ejep The tongue

Your mother walks across the village with something issuing out (of her body)?

The leg of a baby

(you’ll often see a baby’s leg protruding from the cloth sling or swaddle with whichmothers tie their young children to their back)


Anaa iten nabaa o nabaa niminepu kapironto etagore? Why are you such a fast runner yet you cannot catch up with the Kavirondo (Luo) when he is annoyed?

Olojong’ani Because he is the fly

Anaa aidorrop enkanashe ino nemeeta          Entaritiki olng’anayioi oing’ataa? A bird

Why is your sister so very short yet there is no fruit that is beyond her reach?


A pun is a form of word play that suggests several meanings, by either exploiting the multiple meanings of a word, or substituting a word for another similar sounding word, the result of which is humorous.

A pun is also known as paronomasia.

There are two main types of puns:

  • Homophonic puns

This is where a word is substituted for another similar sounding word or word pronounced almost in the same way . For example,

Fishermen are reel men.

Explanation: There is a twist on the word ‘reel’ which is originally supposed to be spelt ‘real’.

Can you now explain the pun in the following homophonic puns?

  1. What do sea monsters eat for lunch? Fish and ships.
  2. I am on a seafood diet. Every time I see food, I eat it.
  3. Did you about the Italian chef with terminal illness? He past away.
  4. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
  5. What tea do hockey players drink? Penalttea
  6. What do ghosts serve for dessert? I scream.
  7. What did the tree sya to the autumn? Leaf me alone.
  8. What did the boy cat say to the girl cat on valentine’s day? You’re purr-fect for me.
  9. What day does an Easter egg hate the most? Fry-days.
  10. Why did the scientist install a knocker on his door? He wanted to win the No-bell prize!
  • Homographic puns

Homographic pun is formed by using a word that has multiple meanings. You might not tell what exactly what the speaker means.

For example;

Rose is the flower of my life.

Explanation: The word ‘Rose’ is a female name. it could be the person the speaker loves.

It  is also a type of flower.

The other examples are;

  1. My math teacher called me average. How mean!
  2. What do prisoners use to call each other? Cell phones.
  3. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll remain stationery.
  4. Have you ever tried to eat a clock? It’s very time consuming.
  5. A waist is a terrible thing to mind.
  6. I am reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down.
  7. What part of football ground is never the same? The changing room.
  8. I want to tell you a chemistry joke but I know I will not get a reaction.
  9. Why did the bee get married? Because he found his honey.
  10. Did you hear about the guy who got hit in the head with a can of soda? He was


    lucky it was a soft drink.

Features of Puns Puns are characterized by;

  1. They are short.
  2. They are humorous.

Functions of Puns

They serve functions such as:

  • Teaching pronunciation. For example, homophones.
  • Enhancing creativity. One has to think in order to form their puns.
  • When said one wonders what the speaker intends, the audience will laugh.


Explain the pun in:

  • I used to be a banker but I lost interest.
  • A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two-tired.
  • I don’t trust these stairs because they are always up to something.
  • Santa’s helpers are known as subordinate clauses.
  • The man who drank battery acid got charged.


A phrase or a sentence which is hard to speak fast because of alliteration or a sequence of nearly similar sounds is the tongue twister.

It is worth noting that there is usually the use of mnemonic feature (sound devices or sound patterns) in the tongue twisters.

Let us read the following tongue twisters fast.

  • She sells sea shells on the sea shore.
  • Any noise annoys an oyster but noisy noise annoys an oyster more.
  • Kindly kittens knitting mittens keep kazooing in the king’s kitchen.

Sound Patterns in Tongue Twisters

  1. Read the tongue twister below fast.

She saw a fish on the seashore and I am sure the fish she saw on the sea shore was a saw-fish.

In the words: she, shore and sure, there is the repetition of the consonant sound /ᶴ/ at the beginning of the words. This is alliteration.

Alliteration is the repetition of the initial consonant sound in the nearby words.

Can you identify any other instance of alliteration in the above tongue twister? 2. Read this other tongue twister and take note of the highlighted letters.

A skunk sat on a stump and thank the stump stunk, but the stump thank the skunk stunk. The sound pattern here is consonance.

Consonance is the repetition of the inner consonant sound in the nearby words. An inner sound is that which comes after the first.

There is another instance of consonance. Can you illustrate it? 3. Repetition

In most tongue twisters, there is repetition of words or phrases. In (1) above, the words ‘saw’, ‘fish’, etc. have been repeated.

Now pick out the words and phrases repeated in these tongue twisters.

  • If you tell Tom to tell a tongue twister, his tongue will be twisted as tongue twister twists tongues.
  • The sixth sick Sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.


  1. Assonance

Let’s look at:

How much wood could a wood chopper chop, if a wood chopper could chop wood?

There is repetition of the /u:/ in the words; wood,could. This is assonance. Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the nearby words.

Features of Tongue Twisters

A tongue twister will have the following features:

  • it is short and brief.
  • It is alliterative.

Functions of Tongue Twisters

  1. They entertain. When one confuses the pronunciation of sounds, the audience will laugh.
  2. They teach pronunciation. We can, for example, learn the pronunciation of the sounds /f/ and /v/, /s/ and /ᶴ/ etc.
  3. Enhance creativity.

Exercise 1

With illustrations, identify the sound patterns in:

  • It’s not the cough that carries you off, it’s the coffin they carry you off in!
  • If two witches were watching two watches, which witch would watch which watch? (c) If a black bug bleeds black blood, what colour of blood does a blue bug bleed?

(d) I wish to wash my Irish watch.

Exercise 2

Read the item below and then answer questions after it:

We surely shall see the sun shine soon.

  • Identify the genre.
  • Which two sounds has the item been used to teach?