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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Discourse patterns at social cohesion campaigns
Author:Meiring, BarbaraISNI
Periodical:Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa (ISSN 1022-8195)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:place names
social integration
government policy
Abstract:This article is based on data collected during public hearings which form part of the social cohesion campaigns launched by South Africa's Department of Arts and Culture in May 2008, to promote awareness of the social and economic benefits of the standardization and transformation of geographical names in the country. During sessions held in five of the nine provinces it was clear that in the interaction between the authorities and the public dealing with the process of changing and standardizing names, specific rhetorical expressions were part of the discourse. Valuable examples of discourse were also obtained from other genres, like everyday discussions, media coverage and political speeches about geographical names. The concept of social cohesion as the ideal situation forms a benchmark to test how communities and individuals actually voice their concerns or agreements with regard to the changing of a place name. Social change inevitably results in resistance from a certain sector of the community, as it involves handing over authority - which is not conducive to social cohesion. Because it demands a measure of social restructuring, it not only exposes power relations but also affects the attitudes of people and the credibility of intentions - aspects represented in discourse to be addressed in this discussion as the cognitive interface of discourse analysis. Being a complex matter involving interaction between different role players on various levels, this discussion of the discourse falls into a framework used in pragmatics. Onomastics relate to pragmatics on the level of how people use names; how matters pertaining to names are managed, planned and discussed; and how the semantic aspect of names affects the community and the attitudes of those involved. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]