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“Uzowulu’s body, I salute you,” he said. Spirits always addressed humans as “bodies.” Uzowulu bent down and touched the earth with his right hand as a sign of submission. (10.17)
To emphasize their superiority and true spirituality, the egwugwu address humans with the inferior term “bodies,” implying that their spirits are not really strong, perhaps because they are trapped inside mortal vessels.
“Umuofia kwenu!” shouted the leading egwugwu, pushing the air with his raffia arms. The elders of the clan replied, “Yaa!”
The egwugwu use the same phrases and call-and-response format as orators getting the attention of a large crowd. This might mean that the egwugwu are stooping to human language so that their subjects can understand them. Or, from a more skeptical viewpoint, this could be proof that the egwugwu are simply masked men – not gods – because they use the same language as men.
The egwugwu house was now a pandemonium of quavering voices: Aru oyim de de de dei! Filled the air as the spirits of the ancestors, just emerged from the earth, greeted themselves in their esoteric language. (10.4)
The egwugwu spirits have their own unintelligible language that sets them apart from the inferior mortal counterparts.