The speech act of complaining in isiXhosa

Manjiya, Monelwa Precious (2001-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigates the speech act of complaining in Xhosa. It is organized into six chapters. Chapter 1 states the aim of the study. The method, design and the organization of the study are also presented. In Chapter 2 the speech acts and politeness theories are presented as the basic framework of this study. It is clear that people do not only produce utterances, which contain grammatical structures and words when attempting to express themselves, but they always perform actions via those utterances. The actions people perform via their utterances are done in accordance within a certain area of linguistic pragmatics. Chapter 3 deals with the speech act of complaining as discussed by various theorists. Chapter 4 is concerned with complaints strategies. Here it is revealed that one must be able to voice one's annoyance or anger while at the same time it is important to avoid embarrassment by creating a situation in which it becomes impossible for him/her to face the aversiveness of taking the blame. Chapter 5 deals with complaint situations in Xhosa. In order to make sense of what is said during an interaction, various factors have been examined, which relate to social distance and closeness. The relative status of the participants is based on social values. Complaint situations are divided into three social groups: power relations, friendship and strangers. Power relations involve people of superior and low status. This group is divided into two subgroups: people with superior status to people with low status and vice versa; those speakers with a lower status in a Xhosa speaking context tend to mark social distance between themselves and higher status speakers. Among friends, there is no social distance because people tend to treat one another as equals. The same is true of strangers, although they don't know each other; they tend to treat one another with mutual respect. Most of the time complaints in Xhosa express disapproval or negative feelings towards the source of the complaint. Complaints sometimes can be impolite. They can lead to conflict as they are sometimes very threatening, accusing and cursing. That is why a number of strategies have been introduced to a complainant who wants to avoid direct confrontation with the complainee. The indirect accusation strategy is the number one tool, which is always used by the complainers to avoid conflict, unlike annoyance, direct accusation and explicit blame of the accused's action or of the accused as a person. People who use indirect accusations do not want to run the risk of losing face, unlike the direct accusation, which is face-threatening. Responding to a complaint is also an important factor as it promotes further interaction. Response serves as a way of displaying interest in what the speaker is saying. It has been noticed that response gives the speakers the opportunity to voice their feelings. Finally, Chapter 6 presents the conclusions of the investigation and the main findings of the study are summarized.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die spraakhandeling van klagte in Xhosa. Dit is georganiseer in ses hoofstukke. Hoofstuk 1 bied die doelstelling van die studie. Die metode, ontwerp en organisasie van die studie word ook bespreek. In Hoofstuk2 word die spraakhandelinge en beleefdheidsteorieë bespreek as die raamwerk van die studie. Dit word duidelik gemaak dat mense nie slegs uitinge produseer wat grammatikale strukture en woorde bevat nie, maar hulle voer altyd aksies uit via die uitinge. Hierdie aksies wat mense uitvoer via hulle uitinge word gedoen in ooreenstemming in bepaalde area van linguistiese pragmatiek. Hoofstuk 3 behandel in die besonder die spraakhandeling van klagte soos ondersoek deur verskillende navorsers. Hoofstuk 4 behandel klagte-strategieë. Hier word aangedui dat 'n spreker in staat moet wees om hy/sy se ontevredenheid of woede te lug terwyl dit terselfdertyd belangrik is om verleentheid te vermy deur die skep van 'n situasie waar dit vir hom/haar onmoontlik maak om te staan te kom voor die neem van die blaam. Hoofstuk 5 ondersoek klagte-situasies in Xhosa. Ten einde sin te maak oor wat gesê word en 'n interaksie, is verskeie faktore ondersoek wat verband hou met sosiale opstand en nabyheid. Die realtiewe status van die deelnemers word gebaseer op sosiale waardes. Klagte-situasies kan verdeel word in terme van drie sosiale groepe: magsverhoudinge, vriendskap en vreemdelingskap. Magsverhoudinge hou verband met die verhoudinge tussen mense met hoë en lae status. Hierdie groep word verdeel in twee sub-groepe: mense met superieuse status en mense met lae status en omgekeerd. Persone met 'n laer status in 'n Xhosasprekende konteks is geneig om sosiale afstand te markeer tussen hulleself en hoër status sprekers. Daar is geen sosiale opstand tussen vriende nie, omdat sulke persone geneig is om mekaar as gelykes te behandel. Dieselfde is waar van vreemdelinge, want alhoewel hulle mekaar nie ken nie, is hulle geneig om mekaar met respek te behandel. Die meeste van die klagtes oor tyd in Xhosa gee druk misnoeë of negatiewe gevoelens uit met betrekking tot die bron van die klagte. Klagtes kan soms onbeleefd wees. Hulle kan lei tot konflik, aangesien hulle soms baie bedreigend aantygend en beledigend kan wees. Daarom is 'n aantal strategieë beskikbaar vir 'n klaer wat direkte konfrontasie wil vermy teenoor die persoon waarteen gekla word. Die indirekte aantyging strategie is die voorkeur strategie wat deur die klaers gebruik word kom konflik te vermy, in teenstelling met kwaad word direkte aantyging en eksplisiete blaam van die aangetygde persoon se aksie of die persoon self. Persone wat indirekte aantygings gebruik, wil nie die risiko loop om "gesig" (face) te verloor nie, in teenstelling met die direkte aantyging, wat gesig-bedreiging is. Om te reageer op 'n klagte, is ook 'n belangrike faktor, aangesien dit verdere interaksie aanmoedig. Die gee van 'n reaksie is 'n wyse om aan te toon dat daar belangstelling is in wat die spreker sê. Daar is aangetoon dat 'n reaksie vir sprekers die geleentheid gee om hulle gevoelens te lug. Laastens, gee Hoofstuk 6 die gevolgtrekkings van die ondersoek, en die belangrikste bevindinge van die studie word opgesom.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52579
This item appears in the following collections: