Assessing politeness, language and gender in hlonipha.
Luthuli, Thobekile Patience.
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The aim of this study is to investigate the politeness phenomena (particularly isiHlonipho) within the isiZulu speaking community in KwaZulu Natal. The study focuses on the understanding of isiHlonipho within the isiZulu speaking community and whether males and females from the urban and rural areas share a similar or different understanding of isiHlonipho. Furthermore the thesis investigates which of the existing Western/non-Western models of politeness are relevant for describing the politeness phenomena in the target community. In order to achieve triangulation, qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used. These comprised of interviews with cultural/religious leaders, discourse completion tasks, and interviews with males and females from urban and rural areas in Mdumezulu and Umlazi Township. My findings reveal that the understanding of politeness phenomena within the target community is more in keeping with that in other non-Western cultures than in Western cultures. Females from the rural area are found to utilize isiHlonipho more than those females from the urban area. On the basis of this limited sample, it is argued that females from the urban area may be beginning to reject traditional Zulu femininity in favour of more westernized identities.