Persuasion in compliance-gaining messages in Tshivenda drama texts : A communication theoretic approach to interpersonal interactions

Sadiki, Masindi Francina (2017-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of the study was to explore compliance-gaining messages during interpersonal interactions that garner persuasion by critically analysing discourses excerpts from selected Tshivenḓa drama texts. Although the focus of the study was on discourses extracted from drama texts, analysis of one example from prose texts from literature in the same decade was included to capture the relative linguistic features that fit the theoretical perspective employed. Motivation for the choice of this research study was on grounds of the thematic properties of several drama and prose works which give evidence on how communication with goal attainment intentions occur in Tshivenḓa social-cultural life. The primary considerations in the selection of these texts were exemplification of persuasion communication in the respective texts whereby a range and variation in language-related socio-cultural values and norms can be identified from traditional to more modern society. However, readers and prospective researchers could observe that the study demonstrates interpersonal interaction and the choice of influence messages of participants involved in communication. It reflects how rational conditions dictate compliance or resistance by characters through dialogues in the form of verbal and nonverbal expressions during various discourses. Since the study was focusing on how persuaders and persuadees use linguistic resources, it became evident that human beings are created with the capacity to interact through language which is part of the social structure that defines communities, for, during influence interactions, elements of persuasion are consciously or unconsciously threaded from one individual to the other through compliance-seeking efforts embroiled with social appropriateness to save positive face. Literature reviewed dwelt upon great minds of respective proponents of persuasion in compliance-gaining messages, to name but a few: Dillard (1990, 2004, 2008); Cody, Canary and Smith (1994); Wilson (1997, 2002, 2009, 2010); Schrader and Dillard (1998); O’Keefe (2002); Heller (2004); Koerner and Floyd (2009); Polomares (2009, 2011); Hess and Cofelt (2012); whose arguments were based on theories of persuasion especially the Goal-Plan-Action (GPA) which this research focused upon. The design and methodology adopted for the study is discourse-textual analysis coupled with the mixed method (qualitative-quantitative) which employed purposive sampling that involved an in depth random selection of Tshivenḓa drama and prose texts, as well as cluster sampling whereby sampling of drama and prose texts are clustered in terms of their periods of publication reflecting the thematic properties of the time. Data analysis and interpretation involved identification of compliance-seeking messages excerpts that display the general interpersonal influence goals types namely: primary and secondary goals from all selected drama and prose texts over 1960-2009 in terms of the GPA model in persuasive message production stipulations. The discursive features of messages were examined and analysed following their influence attempts plans scrutinising tactics, strategies and persuasive appeals of message sources generated for compliance-gaining. The study also included analysis of the cognitive compliance-resistance strategies during goal detection, formulation of constraints and obstacles to compliance, including topic-avoidance message features by the goal targets during interpersonal influence attempts. It finally, presented interaction goal categories occurring in Tshivenḓa drama and prose texts from the discourses elaborating on issues of social importance addressed during goal pursuit episodes as thematic properties that propelled persuasive communication in the study. The study attested that the GPA theory applications may be employed to a range and variation in language-related socio-cultural values and norms identified from traditional to more modern society through persuasive communication evolving throughout successive generations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van die studie is om boodskappe vir die bereiking van voldoening te ondersoek gedurende interpersoonlike interaksies wat van oorreding gebruik maak. Hiervoor word diskoersuittreksels uit ’n groep uitgesoekte Venda-dramatekste krities ontleed. Hoewel die klem van die studie op diskoerse in dramatekste val, word ’n ontleding van een prosateksvoorbeeld uit literatuur van dieselfde dekade ook ingesluit om die relatiewe taalkenmerke te bepaal wat met die gekose teoretiese perspektief verband hou. Die keuse van hierdie navorsingstudie was gegrond op die tematiese eienskappe van verskeie drama- en prosawerke wat toon hoe kommunikasie in die strewe na ’n bepaalde doel in die Venda- sosiokulturele lewe plaasvind. Die bepaalde tekste is gekies omdat dit as voorbeelde dien van oorredingskommunikasie waarin ’n hele aantal verskillende taalverwante sosiokulturele waardes en norme in tradisionele tot meer moderne samelewings uitgewys kan word. Lesers en voornemende navorsers sal egter opmerk dat die studie interpersoonlike interaksie demonstreer, sowel as kommunikasiedeelnemers se keuse van beïnvloedingsboodskappe. Dit weerspieël hoe rasionele omstandighede tot karakters se voldoening of weerstand lei deur dialoë in die vorm van verbale en nieverbale uitdrukking gedurende verskillende diskoerse. Aangesien die studie konsentreer op hoe diegene wat oorreed en diegene wat oorreed wórd van taalhulpbronne gebruik maak, word dit algaande duidelik dat mense geskep word met die vermoë om deur taal met mekaar om te gaan, wat deel is van die sosiale struktuur wat gemeenskappe definieer. Gedurende beïnvloedingsinteraksies word elemente van oorreding bewustelik sowel as onbewustelik van die een individu na die ander oorgedra in die poging om voldoening te bereik, wat ten nouste verband hou met sosiale gepastheid om aansien te red. Die literatuur wat vir hierdie navorsing bestudeer is, handel oor van die voorste denkers en voorstanders van oorreding in boodskappe vir die bereiking van voldoening. Dit sluit onder meer in Dillard (1990, 2004, 2008), Cody, Canary en Smith (1994), Wilson (1997, 2002, 2009, 2010), Schrader en Dillard (1998), O’Keefe (2002), Heller (2004), Koerner en Floyd (2009), Polomares (2009, 2011) en Hess en Cofelt (2012), wie se argumente berus op oorredingsteorieë, veral die teorie van doel-plan-aksie (“GPA”) waarop hierdie navorsing konsentreer. Die studieontwerp en -metodologie behels diskoersteksontleding en ’n gemengde metode (kwalitatief-kwantitatief). Doelgerigte steekproefneming is gebruik, d.w.s. ’n noukeurige, lukrake seleksie van Venda-drama- en -prosatekste, sowel as trossteekproefneming, waarin ’n steekproef drama- en prosatekste saamgegroepeer is op grond van publikasietydperk, wat die tematiese eienskappe van die betrokke tyd duidelik na vore bring. Vir dataontleding en -vertolking is uittreksels uit alle gekose drama- en prosatekste van die tydperk 1960-2009 geïdentifiseer waarin boodskappe vir die bereiking van voldoening voorkom, en wat die algemene tipes interpersoonlike beïnvloedingsdoelwitte, naamlik primêre en sekondêre doelwitte, toon ingevolge die bepalings oor die produksie van oorredingsboodskappe van die GPA-model. Die diskursiewe kenmerke van boodskappe is ondersoek en ontleed deur die beïnvloedingspogings en -planne daarvan te bestudeer, met bepaalde klem op die taktieke, strategieë en oorredingsversoeke wat boodskapbronne inspan om voldoening te bereik. Die studie behels ook ’n ontleding van die kognitiewe voldoeningsweerstandstrategieë by doelbespeuring, en die formulering van beperkinge en hindernisse vir voldoening, onder meer die kenmerke van onderwerpvermydingsboodskappe deur doelteikens gedurende interpersoonlike beïnvloedings-pogings. Laastens bied die studie ’n beskrywing van die interaksiedoelkategorieë wat uit die diskoerse in die Venda-drama- en -prosatekste na vore kom, met bepaalde klem op kwessies van sosiale belang wat gedurende doelnastrewingsepisodes ter sprake kom as tematiese eienskappe wat oorredingskommunikasie voortdryf. Die studie bevestig dat die GPA-teorie toegepas kan word op ’n aantal verskillende taalverwante sosiokulturele waardes en norme in tradisionele tot meer moderne samelewings wat blyk uit oorredingskommunikasie oor generasies heen.

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