A Socio-pragmatic analysis of Silozi Euphemisms
Mwanambuyu, Christine Lubasi
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The current study examined Silozi euphemisms from a socio-pragmatic perspective within the framework of theories of Sociolinguistics and Pragmatics. Precisely, the study applied speech act theory, politeness theory, face theory and conversational analysis theories. This exercise was done in order to prove or test the theoretical position that in instances of language use in context, euphemisms perform functions as espoused under speech act theory. Limulunga and Mongu confines of the western province of Zambia were the principle study areas. Primary data was elicited from twenty informants who are native speakers of Silozi by interviewing them using structured interviews and most of this corpus was recorded. A word and sentence completion task was administered to school pupils who were given ten ordinary Silozi words for them to supply the equivalent euphemisms and using these euphemisms to construct meaningful sentences appropriately. Observation of language use in domains such as court, church, girl in seclusion, home, hospital, school, local electronic media (Oblate Radio Liseli and Lyambai) was done by Check listing, that is, ticking the Silozi euphemisms used there in and to establish the direction, degree and causality of such use of euphemisms. The method used to gather data was qualitative but due to the fact that a variety of instruments were used, we may safely say that the actual method used was triangulation.Though the researcher is a native speaker of the language under investigation, she decided to collect the bulk of the corpus from various sorts of texts on Silozi, such as novels, readers, bibles, and other grammars. Furthermore, the collected corpus had to be validated by using other speakers and informants using structured interviews, observations taken from various (domains) accurring interactions in public and private spheres, word and sentence compilation task and recording. Through careful analysis of euphemisms, the outcome of the study revealed that Silozi euphemisms occur in a wide array of relastionships and age groups, although it happens more frequently among elders than the young. In this regard it may be true to state that the forms euphemisms take and the euphemistic patterns depend on the social distance between the participants, their relative social statuses, age, occupation, gender and even power of the speaker and hearer which determines the strategies applied in using Silozi euphemisms. The other aspect to bear in mind is the context of euphemisms and the speaker’s intention. Some euphemisms are better understood and appreciated by people who share the same social cultural background or context. It is recommended that further studies be carried out to identify other factors that may affect the use of Silozi euphemisms from other dimensions.