Language in African Social Interaction: Indirectness in Akan Communication
In African societies, much as plain or direct language is cherished and highly appreciated because of the pragmatic clarity it offers, implicitness, indirectness, vagueness, prolixity, ambiguity and even avoidance are even more cherished and preferred especially when the subject matter of what is being communicated is difficult or face-threatening. Verbal indirection, the communicational strategy in which interactants abstain from directness in order to avoid crises or in order to communicate 'difficulty', and thus make their utterances consistent with face and politeness, is pervasive in African (Akan) social interaction. This groundbreaking book explores various linguistic and discursive devices speakers employ when engaged in indirectness. Among the linguistic and discursive strategies discussed are the use of: pronoun mismatching, nouns (especially proverbial names and other names with indirect meanings), evasions, hedges and various forms of pre sequences (which help to eliminate perceived obstacles to making such speech acts as announcements, requests, or invitations), acknowledgement of imposition, proverbs, metaphors, innuendoes, euphemisms, circumlocution, riddles, tales, hyperbolas, and communication through intermediaries or proxies.
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Indirection in Informal Conversation
Indirection in Apologies
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accept action address form agya Akan ethnic group Akan language Akan names Akan proverbs Akan society anaa anka anthroponyms apology event apology recipient argues as-for asEm behavior Brown and Levinson chief circumlocution cited communicative situations communicative strategies context conversation conversational maxims court cultural deferential direct discourse participants discussion elders EnyE example excerpt face-threatening act face-work fact Ghana Ghanaian Gricean maxim hearer hypocoristic imposition indirect apology indirect requests indirectly indirectness strategies innuendo interactants involves it-be KO's Kwadwo Kwaku Ananse language lineage linguistic litigants maxims mede metaphors mitigator mpaninfoO name-givers Nana National Democratic Congress negative face Nzema Obeng offense one's onomasiology person singular pronoun politeness strategies political actors political discourse pragmatic pronoun switches reference response riddle s/he social groups speak speaker Specifically speech acts speech forms status string subordinate talk third person utterance verbal indirection Yankah