Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Adisa A. Alkebulan
In West Africa, the Dogon people of Mali believe that the African concept of Nommo, the power of the spoken word, carries an energy that produces all life and influences everything from destiny to the naming of children. By human utterance or through the spoken word, human beings can invoke a kind of spiritual power. Nommo, the generative power of the spoken word, is the force that gives life to everything. It is present everywhere, and it brings into existence all that is seen and unseen. Furthermore, the Dogon believe that humans have power over the word and thereby can direct the life force. All human creation and natural phenomena emanate from the productive power of the word, that is, Nommo, which is a life force. Nothing happens in human society without Nommo. It is like magic in one way, but that is not strange to the Dogon because, in ...