A Pragmatic Analysis of Impoliteness Forms and Strategies in Ekegusii Arbitration Discourse, Kenya
Dr. Nyakoe, G. Damaris
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Politeness is a pragmatic concept that assumes mutually co-orperative behavior considerateness for others and polished behaviour in verbal interactions. Politeness guards against harming the hearer and speaker’s self-esteem (face) during conversation. However, some speakers may intentionally attack the target’s face by being impolite. The purpose of this study was to analyze the linguistic impoliteness forms and strategies employed in EkeGusii arbitration discourse. The study adopted an analytical research design and was guided by The Theory of Impoliteness by Jonathan Culpeper. Naturally occurring data was collected through tape recording of actual arbitration conversations, semi-structured interviews and the researcher’s native speaker intuitions. The study population constituted the utterances from participants of the arbitration sessions held. The sample population constituted the actual impolite words and utterances spoken during arbitration conversations. The study was carried out in Bonchari and south Mugirango Constituencies in Kisii County in Kenya since speakers in the two constituencies belong to the two dialects of EkeGusii; Ekerogoro and Ekemaate dialects With permission from Rongo University, NACOSTI and the county Government, data collection was done through tape recording of the actual arbitration discourse, oral interviews after the arbitration sessions were conducted and through non-participant observation. Data analysis was done in line with Culpeper’s Theory of Impoliteness. The findings of this study revealed that most arbitrators attacked the face of those whose cases they arbitrated over. The face attacks made those in conflict dissatisfied with the resolutions reached by the arbitrators often leading to discontentment among those who were not favoured by the verdicts reached. The findings of this study may contribute to the study of impoliteness in Eke Gusii as one of the languages of the world hence enriching research on etiquette and communicative competence. Findings of this study, if availed to arbitrators, may enlighten and even render them better users of language in arbitration.
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