A socio-pragmatic analysis of some Lozi linquistic avoidance strategies in relation to Lozi taboo language

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Kayangula, Manyando
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University of Zambia
The current study examined the socio-pragmatic aspect of linguistic avoidance strategies in relation to Silozi taboo language.A socio-pragmatic study deals with communication in its sociocultural context. Linguistic avoidance strategies refer to goal- oriented communicative behaviour where individuals keep their conversation away from words termed as taboo words. Silozi linguistic avoidance strategies are a reflection ot the socio-culture life of the Lozi. The aim of this study was to present Silozi linguistic avoidance strategies in relation to Silozi taboo language and to define their societal significance. The objectives of the study were (a) to identify and describe the types of taboo words avoided by Lozi speakers (b) to identify and describe a range of Lozi avoidance strategies in relation to taboo language (c) to establish the significance of identified Lozi linguistic avoidance strategies which are used by speakers of Silozi language. Brown and Levinson’s theory of politeness (1978), Grice’s cooperative principle(1975 ) and Stella Ting’s face negotiating theory ( 1988) were employed. The study was framed under the qualitative approachin regard to data collection and analysis. Using purposive sampling and snowball sampling, the researcher carried out semi-structured individual interviews and focus group semi- structured interviews. Twenty- five (25) key informants were purposively sampled to elicit information for this research.And forty-three (43) were in focus groups. The focus groups were as follows: Group A ( 8 members ), Group B ( 9 members ), Group C ( 6 members ), Group D ( 6 members ), Group E ( 8 members ). The study also employed observations ( participant observations, non- participant observations, unobstrusive measures) and introspection to collect data. The study revealed that Silozi taboo language is a reality to Silozi speakers, and in order to mitigate the effect of taboo language, the Lozi always use Silozi linguistic avoidance strategies. Therefore ,Silozi speakers employ euphemisms, circumlocution, understatements, tales, name avoidance, avoidance register attributed to the Litunga, in order to eliminate the impact of facethreatening speech acts ( taboo language ). The study concluded that Silozi linguistic avoidance strategies are an iceberg to Silozi culture. They are a compass to Silozi way of life. They portray a socio- pragmatic function and are not haphazardly employed. Each linguistic avoidance strategy constitutes a function. The Lozi people try to maintain and negotiate face in all communication situations, and throughout their communication , politeness takes a central role. The implication of the findings is that Silozi linguistic avoidance strategies reflect communicative competence; that is, the ability to produce and understand utterances which are not so much grammatical but, more importantly, appropriate in the context in which they are made. Therefore the study recommends that the Ministry of Education and curriculum specialists review the Silozi syllabus to include much of the stated linguistic avoidance strategies, e.g metaphors, euphemisms, proverbs and language related to the Monarch. The study also recommends that future research on linguistic avoidance could be explored using other theories.
Master of Arts in Linguistic Science
Lozi(African People)-Social life and customs , Silozi Literature