Accepted Paper:

"-KO" THE ONLY WAY TO POLITENESS: A CASE OF BORROWINGS FROM LUHYA TO KISWAHILI  

Author:

Christine Atemo (Pwani University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will look at how the morpheme “-kho” is borrowed and put into use in the language of the town dwellers to reduce the impact of requests and offers on addressee and increase the relative level of indirectness and in so doing lessen any negative effects associated with the illocution.

Paper long abstract:

"-KO" THE ONLY WAY TO POLITENESS: A CASE OF BORROWINGS FROM LUHYA TO KISWAHILI

Kiswahili is the national language of Kenya and a Lingua franca. Though a lingua franca it is perceived as a difficult language and therefore the majority of Kenyans end up speaking in Sheng a Kiswahili patois which has been influenced by many languages (Githiora, 2002). Kakamega town located on the Western part of Kenya has a large population that speaks Luhya as the native language. Luhya language is spoken in the outskirts of Kakamega and the dwellers of the town originate from the local villages. Luhya employs the use of "-Kho" as a morpheme that marks for politeness. "-kho" has found itself in the Kiswahili used by the urban dwellers as they avoid the long and difficult vocabulary in Kiswahili that is used to denote politeness. Thus cases of "-kho" being borrowed from Luhya and reduced to "-ko" which sounds more like Kiswahili are prevalent among the town dwellers. This paper looks at how the morpheme "-kho" is borrowed and put into use in the language of the town dwellers to reduce the impact of requests and offers on addressee, increase the relative level of indirectness, to provide the hearer with much freedom of will and in so doing lessen any negative effects associated with the illocution. This paper will therefore show how lack of "-ko" in the Kiswahili utterances may not foster compliance to a request, but instead lead to misunderstanding and possibly cause annoyance.

Panel P172
African indigenous languages as urban youth languages: the rural-urban exchange