Semantic shifts in Gikuyu lexemes: a lexical pragmatics approach
Wambugu, Mary W
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The focus of this study is to analyse semantic shifts in Gikiiyii lexemes. The analysis was based on lexical pragmatics as proposed by Blutner Reinhard in 1990. This study at aimed at establishing the causes of the shift in meaning of Gikiiyii words. The investigation was done to test if lexical broadening through metaphorical extensions have resulted in the semantic shift of Gikfiyii lexemes. The study took into account the fact that semantic shift leads to ambiguity of lexical items. Lexical narrowing, which is also a process in lexical pragmatics was tested to establish its ability to disambiguate the concepts encoded by a lexeme. Chapter two discusses types of semantic shifts by first highlighting various ways in which different scholars have classified them. Emphasis rests on pragmatics processes and how they result in the shift in meaning. Gikfiyii data has been analyzed using these processes to establish if they have resulted in the meaning shift of chosen Gikfiyfi lexemes. The processes used are lexical broadening and metaphorical extensions. Conditions for semantic shift have also been analyzed to check their credibility in sanctioning shifts in meaning. Chapter three gives an analysis on disambiguation owing to the fact that the Gikilytl words analyzed have acquired new meanings. Information about concepts has been in detail. Lexical narrowing, a pragmatic process, has been tested to establish if it can help in disambiguation of concepts encoded by a lexeine. Details about how the process works have been discussed in this chapter. Chapter four analyzes the data elicited through questionnaires and oral interviews. In the analysis views about the respondents on semantic shift of Giktlyll Iexemes are tabulated and conclusions made. Views about the informants during oral interviews are also highlighted. Chapter five concludes the study, pointing out that lexical pragmatic theory processes of broadening through metaphorical extensions have proved to be adequate in the analysis of data used in this study. Lexical narrowing also proves adequate in the disambiguation of ambiguous lexemes during inference.