An analysis of account on love affairs in IsiZulu

Shabalala, Brian Christian Thamsanqa (2009-03)

Thesis (MA (African Languages))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


This study explores the theoretical work in the articulation of the motivations and conditions for account-giving in isiZulu. In this context, accounts are similar to narratives and can be retained at the level of private reflections or written diary entries or for others to read and refer to from time to time. The account-giving process, according to Waldron (1997), is like a “life in motion” in which individual characters are portrayed as moving through their experiences, dealing with conflicts or problems in their lives and, at the same time, searching for resolutions. It is the quest to understand the major stresses in each individual’s mind that is at the core of this study. The why-questions that are the result of the daily experiences of destitution, depression, death, disability, etc. are also addressed here. Narrative accounts form the basis of moral and social events and, as such, stories have two elements through which they are explored. They are explored from the point of view of, firstly, the way in which they are told and, secondly, the way in which they are lived within a social context. These stories follow a historically or culturally based format and, to this effect, Gergen (1994) suggests narrative criteria that constitute a historically contingent narrative form. Narrative forms are linguistic tools that have important social functions to fulfil satisfactorily, such as stability narrative, progressive narrative and regressive narrative. According to Gergen (1994), self-narratives are social processes in which individuals are realised on the personal perspective or experience and, as such, their emotions are viewed as constitutive features of relationship. The self-narratives used and analysed in this study portray the contemporary culture-based elements or segments of a well-formed narrative.

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