Isenzo senkulumo yokwenqaba ezimweni zemfundo yesiZulu

Ndlovu, Nompumelelo Priscilla (2005-12)

Thesis (MA (African Languages))--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.


This study examines data from communication-theoretic refusal in isiZulu, relating to pragmatic theorists’ argument that every human interaction to a large extent carries with it an element of threatening one or both participants’ face. The speech act of refusal has been identified as one of the most effective speech acts to be employed for this phenomenon in this study. Every speech act is influenced by contextual, cultural and many other background factors associated to age, gender and rank, to mention a few, which contribute towards the composition of speech act. The issues relating to the theory of politeness prompted this study in the extent to which politeness plays a role in refusals in educational contexts of Zulu speaking students. The study has evaluated Brown and Levinson’s (1987) theory of politeness as a universal phenomenon against the findings of my data, in that the universality advanced by these theorists does not quite fit with this study. The variable percentages in this data, especially in refusals, indicate that politeness does not always exist in terms of positive and negative face in the participants’ mind but other considerations related to the goal of the speech act are the main source of the speech act. In this study, refusal in the Zulu context has demonstrated that politeness has been employed as a strategy for encoding distance between speaker and solicitor.

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