A Pragmatic analysis of requests in Bemba

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Mukonde, Eunice
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The present study explores the nature of making requests in Bemba from a pragmatic point of view. It attempts to discuss the various strategies used for making requests in Bemba. Four major aspects of requesting in Bemba were examined: the linguistic forms used, the categories of request strategies based on Blum-Kulka's classification of request strategies, the frequency of these categories of request strategies, and how request strategies in Bemba relate to social parameters such as age, gender, status, social distance, and authority. The sample consisted of 150 informants. Data in the present survey was collected using the triangulation method. This involved using a variety of methods such as: recording, observation, questionnaire and interviews. The data was studied and analysed following Austin's (1962), and Searle's (1967) concep-ts of Speech Act Theory, Leech's conversation principles, and Brown and Levinson's (1987) notion of politeness and face-threatening acts. The results of the study show that social distance in relation to age and status, and the relative power of speaker and hearer determines the strategies used for making requests. It is also evident that some requests are understood better and appreciated by people sharing the same social-cultural background. It is recommended that further study be undertaken to identify other factors that may affect the making of requests in Bemba. Also that the information gleaned from this study should be made available to researchers concerned with other speech acts and politeness formulae.
Pragmatic-Bemba , Linguistics-Bemba