Forms of politeness in Ekegusii: A sociolinguistic perspective
Maisiba, Joseph Ombasa
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This dissertation is a study focusing on the nature of talk in Ekegusii. It specifically analyzed the forms of politeness in Ekegusii, examining how Ekegusii varies depending on power relations and the context of usage. Samples of spoken Ekegusii, collected from at least four contexts were tape recorded, transcribed and analyzed in order to meet the following objectives: To identify the turns from the spoken excerpts, to describe the forms of politeness in the spoken excerpts, and to assess the effect of age and role relations of participants on the use of politeness in Ekegusii. The study was motivated by the fact that there exist scanty studies on the forms of politeness in African languages, specifically in Ekegusii. The study used as its data spoken Ekegusii excerpts drawn from a variety of contexts namely, meetings to resolve disputes, across the shop counter, work and the street contexts. The target sample included individuals with perceived power differences such as father and child, husband and wife, young brother and elder brother; the young and the old; and also those with differing role relations. The location for the research was Kisii County, Sameta District, Sameta Division. Data were collected using tape recording and participant observation. A content analysis of the data was done employing both qualitative and quantitative methods of data analysis, basing on Brown and Levinson‟s (1978) Politeness theory; Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, (1974) Conversational Analysis theory; and Grice‟s (1975) Cooperative Principle. It is hoped that the findings of this study will help teachers, counselors, and peace mediators in applying the concept of politeness in various real-life situations. It is also hoped that this research will help preserve our indigenous languages and also be an important contribution to the pool of knowledge on the importance of face in any interaction in our African languages.