Linguistic Politeness Forms in English among Igbo Bilinguals in Nigeria: The Case of Reprimand

Abstract

The study examined Igbo perception and expression of reprimand speech act in line with politeness as a conversation strategy in the conversational English of Igbo native speakers which is unexplored. Through a purposive sampling process, 3 000 questionnaires in the form of Discourse Completion Task depicting ten scenarios of imagined role-play between interlocutors written in English were distributed to undergraduates of Igbo extraction at seven universities systematically selected from  South-East and South-South zones in Nigeria. Results showed that reprimands were conversational norms of Igbo bilinguals and were evident in their English language conversations as participants engaged in reprimanding occasioned by forms of misconduct. Findings also revealed that to achieve the conversational demands of reprimand speech act across horizontal, vertical and diagonal relationships as the case may be, the Igbo culture reflected observance of context, social status, social distance and severity of offence variables a consideration of which at the instance of a conversation underlies the choice/use of a particular strategy or another. The study concluded that speech act is culture-bound hence the need to incorporate pragmatics in language teaching

Keywords: : linguistic politeness, Culture, Igbo bilinguals, Nigeria, Social variables, reprimand


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 33-47 (Download PDF)

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