Manifestation of stereotypes through Gikuyu figurative language: a lexical prgmatics perspective
Njuguna, Zipporah W
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Language is a very powerful tool and the most common method of communication. Through language the prejudices that people harbor within themselves are reflected. This study is an examination on how stereotypes are manifested through the various elements of figurative language in G1kilyii. The study focus on how a speaker expresses a particular stereotype by choosing one given expression and not any other. The hearer has the responsibility of interpreting the speakers intended meaning. The study uses the lexical pragmatics theory which has several processes that explain how the human cognitive faculty operates in order to arrive at the speakers intended meaning in using a particular expression that bears a given stereotype. To achieve our objectives data was elicited from known G1k.i1yi1 texts particularly, 1000 Kikuyu Proverbs by G. Barra and the INTERNET. The researcher has also drawn a lot of data from her native speaker's knowledge and competence in G1kilyi11anguage. Data was then analysed taking a pragmatic approach. It is evident from the study that there are several stereotypes accorded to different categories of people in the G1kilyi1 society, which reflect on the various bias that people have towards fellow members of the society. These biases are influenced to a large extent by the culture of these people. The thesis is presented in five chapters. Chapter one gives a general framework of the study focusing on the problem statement, the study's objectives and hypothesis. The theoretical framework and methodology, as well as the literature related to the study, are covered in the chapter. Chapter two focuses on stereotypes as mental representations or concepts of the mind. Chapter three presents the various stereotypes as expressed by the elements of figurative language while chapter four looks at how our theory applies to the study. The summary of findings, conclusions, and recommendations are presented in chapter five.