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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Socio-Linguistic Interpretation of the Social Meanings of Kinship Terms in Shona Urban Interactions
Author:Mashiri, Pedzisai
Periodical:Zambezia (ISSN 0379-0622)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Zimbabwe
Southern Africa
Shona language
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Urbanization and Migration
Anthropology, Folklore, Culture
Native language
Social interaction
Abstract:This article provides an interpretive analysis of Shona native speakers' use of kinship terms of address as forms of communicative resources to invoke social meanings in non-kin relations. Two types of data were used for the analysis of social meanings: field notes from participant observation of naturally occurring interactions in public and private spheres over an 8-month period (September 2001 to May 2002) in and around Harare, Zimbabwe, and transcriptions of semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted with 40 Shona native speakers of varying ages, gender, educational status, occupation and religious affiliation. Kinship terms may be used in non-kin interactions to express age, adulthood, affection, respect, politeness, friendship, intimacy, solidarity, knowing other, an associative relationship, a spiritual relationship, status, power, distance or patronage. The author demonstrates that the current explanatory address system models are apparently inadequate in their representation of both the complexity and distinctiveness of social meanings, and advocates the use of more interpretive, ethnographic approaches for the discovery of social meaning. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]