An analysis of the comprehension of ki-embu idioms: a relevance theoretic approach
This study offers an analysis of the comprehension of Ki-Embu idioms. The study looks at how the hearer arrives at the figurative meaning of Ki-Embu idioms. The significant fact about idioms is that its comprehension cannot rely on the compositional meaning of the idiom. More contextual material has to be used to understand idioms. So, different idioms like transparent, semi-transparent, semiopaque and opaque idioms need different activation of contextual information. In transparent idioms the hearer gets a clue from the words and can easily built the metaphor. In the interpretation of semi-transparent idioms the hearer finds fewer clues from words in the idioms and more activation of context is required. With the comprehension of semi-opaque idioms the hearer can rely on minimal clues from the actual words and more context is required. There is also need for cultural references of some terms. For the comprehension of opaque idioms the hearer does not get any clues from the words in the idioms. Opaque idioms are learnt like concepts. The study uses Relevance Theory as a framework. Chapter one provides the background of the study. It represents a brief description of the language under study, the statement of the problem, the objectives, significance of the study and the methodology used for data collection and analysis. In chapter two the study has discussed general information on idioms, definition of idioms and classification of idioms.Chapter three classifies the data that is the Ki-Embu idioms into the four categories discussed earlier. It also discusses the meanings of the idioms. Chapter four discusses the application of the Relevance Theory in interpretation of Ki-Embu idioms. It analyses the Ki-Embu idioms using the relevance theoretic procedure and lexical pragmatics and specifically broadening.Finally, chapter five gives a brief summary of the study.