The pragmatics of the persuasion in bemba with special reference to bride price negotiations

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Chalwe, Abigail Nachilima
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University of Zambia
ABSTRACT The current study examined the pragmatics of persuasion in Bemba with special reference to Bride price negotiations within the framework of the Pragmatic theories. The study applied Austin’s(1962), and Searle’s (1969) speech act theory, Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness theory and the notion of face and Grice’s (1975) Conversational analysis theories. The study attempted to discuss the various linguistic expressions that suggest persuasion, some categories of persuasion and carry out an analysis of how the various implications of the persuasive expressions function as strategies of persuasion. Data in the current study was collected qualitatively. The researcher used a variety of methods. Primary data was collected through twenty (20) recordings of bride price negotiations as and when the negotiations took place. These recordings enabled the researcher to make a collection of various linguistic expressions used during the negotiations. Having collected the recordings, the researcher carried out interviews. These interviews were done by means of a structured interview guide as the researcher aimed at verifying the pragmatic significance of the expressions used and to verify the perlocutionary force of the expressions. Interviews were carried out on individuals that had vast knowledge on bride price negotiations. The researcher observed language use during the negotiations and kept notes on the various linguistic expressions that were used. Observation of facial expressions and gestures enabled the researcher deduce how the hearers perceived the locutions. Recordings, interviews and observations enabled the researcher to establish pragmatic strategies interactants applied in order to achieve persuasion. The findings of the study suggest that there are indeed various linguistic expressions that are used during bride price negotiations that stir the emotions of the hearer to the extent of changing their attitude towards a previously held belief. During the negotiations the speaker presents information to the hearer in such a way that it appeals to their emotions and in a way that the hearer is able to reason and eventually become persuaded. These linguistic expressions are usually understood by people sharing similar cultural background and context. The study further revealed that when uttered, linguistic expressions must be perceived by the hearer as relevant to the conversation in order to make the correct inferences. It is recommended that further studies be carried out to examine the pragmatics of persuasion in different social situations. Further studies can also be undertaken to examine the pragmatics of persuasion in Bantu languages in general and Zambian languages in particular.