A PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF POLITENESS STRATEGIES IN SELECTED YORUBA PROVERBS

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Department of Arts

ABSTRACT
This study is titled A Pragmatic Analysis of Politeness Strategies in Selected Yoruba Proverbs.The focus of the study is to analyse the elements of politeness in selected Yoruba proverbsusing Brown and Levinson's (1987) politeness strategies and Austin's (1962) Speech Act Theory. It explains how politeness strategies are used in language in general and proverbs in particular.The aim of this study is to examine the pragmatic politeness of selected Yoruba proverbs and their use.The proverbs analysed were collected from relevant texts written by Yoruba native speakers.Fifty proverbs were selected forthe analysis of this study. The proverbs was written and translated to the target language, which is English language. The types of translation employed in the data are literal and free translation.The researcher analysed the fifty (50) proverbs based on five themes each representing the situational use for the analysis. The themes are hard work/laziness, wisdom/foolishness,truth/untruth and decency/indecency.The proverbs analysed show how proverbs are important and how Yoruba make use of proverbs with politeness strategies in discourse. Proverbs should be used appropriately and correctly because it is important in Yoruba life. The findings show that Yoruba proverbs are used with bald on-record politeness strategy, positive politeness strategy, negative politeness strategy and off-record (indirect) politeness strategyso as to promote peace. The use of politeness strategies in Yoruba proverbs give people less chances of developing enemies and politeness eases tension along the rough road of life.They are important in conversations and proverb usage because politeness makes communication run smoothly. Proverbs cannot be stated bluntly, therefore, politeness strategies are employed so that the level of communication will not break down.The findings also show that in Pragmatics, face is one's public self-image which everyone tries to protect so as to avoid Face Threatening Act. Proverbs have been theoretically discussed byresearchers such as ethnographers, anthropologists, historians, philosophers and linguists but they are silent on the aspects ofpoliteness strategies. This study will therefore update their understanding in the use of politeness strategies in Yoruba proverbs.






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