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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Death and dying: an analysis of the language used in coping with death in the Shona society
Author:Kaguda, Darmarris
Periodical:Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (ISSN 2026-7215)
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Shona language
language usage
Abstract:From March 2011 to March 2012, participatory observations were carried out at 15 Shona funerals to analyse the language that the Shona speaking people in Zimbabwe use in naming death and dying, describing the dead, and consoling the bereaved. To spare the feelings of the bereaved, subsequent interviews were carried out with relatives outside the funeral context. The analysis drew on the perspectives of the politeness principle, conceptual metaphor theory and the Shona concept of death. It was shown that the Shona people are inclined to create, package and re-package their language use in euphemistic words or phrases, idiomatic and metaphorical expressions. Thus, a person who dies is (no longer with us) 'watsisiya,' or (has gone ahead of us) 'watungamira.' In the Shona context, people pass over, pass on, pass away, are carried to rest, rest, fall asleep and do not die. Yet, in some instances people can make direct references to the taboo, using use the words for death ('rufu') and dying ('kufa'). Bibliogr., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]