Sociolinguistic Differences in the Use of Polite Forms by Standard Seven Pupils in Machakos Municipality
Mburu, Christine Wahu
MetadataShow full item record
This study examined the differences in the use of politeness formulas by standard seven pupils in Machakos Municipality, which is in Machakos County, Kenya. It sought to identify the verbal, written and non- verbal formulas that they use for various functions related to face work (that is, the ritual of preserving the public image of self and others in social interaction) as well as to establish whether boys and girls use polite forms differently. The study used the politeness theory by Brown and Levinson (1987) and the language and gender theory by Deborah Tannen (2006). A total of 30 pupils and 12 teachers drawn from three primary schools participated in the study. The three schools are: Machakos Academy, Machakos Primary School, and Katoloni primary School. Purposive sampling method was used to select these schools and the teachers who participated in the study. Pupils were selected using interval sampling method. The research adopted survey design involving administering a questionnaire and interview method. The pupils also wrote a language test. The questionnaire was administered to teachers and was aimed at eliciting information on non-verbal cues that show politeness. The language test was in the form of a letter of apology. Data on politeness in spoken language was obtained by interviewing the pupils. The data was analyzed using content analysis method. Each boy and girl was assigned a score depending on how many polite formulas they used and the total scores for members of each , sex was established. The results for boys and girls were then contrasted. The findings form this study were expressed in scores and percentages. Tables, pie- charts and graphs were also drawn where applicable. To a large extent, the study was qualitative though a few aspects of quantitative analysis of data were used in order to make the process of data analysis easier.