International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)

International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)
Call for Papers | Fully Refereed | Open Access | Double Blind Peer Reviewed

ISSN: 2319-7064

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Research Paper | Linguistics | Kenya | Volume 3 Issue 11, November 2014

Pragmatic and Linguistic Etiquette of Greeting in Gikuyu Language Speakers in Kenya


Abstract: This paper investigates the sociolinguistic politeness of greeting followed by Gikuyu people in day-to-day social interactions. Politeness is one of the most important aspects of human communication in which human beings have to observe the basic conventions of politeness if they want to exist in peace together. Gikuyu speakers genuinely tend to oil the wheels of social interaction by adhering to a set of long-standing conventions. They do this not merely to make life easy for themselves, but out of respect, consideration and affection for their fellows. This study examines the different types of Gikuyu greeting sequences and the sociolinguistic factors that account for their structuring. Gikuyu adhere to strict conventions of polite behavior which are derived from their culture and traditions to keep channels open and keep peaceful relations with others. Greetings in Gikuyu are very essential for the establishment of interpersonal relationships and for the introduction of a business or a social topic. The study suggests that deference to age, sex, context of situation and time are important factors in the structuring of greetings in Gikuyu people. There are some socio-cultural and socio-religious rules of initiating greetings in general. The most common and most polite greeting term is Thayu (peace be upon you). Traditions explain that this greeting was the greeting of Gikuyu (the founder of the tribe) and of his offspring. Therefore, this term is considered the most polite greeting. There are other time-specific greetings and context or situation-specific terms which denote the social Competency of their users.

Keywords: Pragmatics, Linguistic, Etiquette, Greeting, Gikuyu, Kiambu, Nyeri

Edition: Volume 3 Issue 11, November 2014,

Pages: 982 - 987

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