A Cognitive Linguistic Analysis of Sexual Dysphemisms and Euphemisms in South Nyanza Dholuo
Awino N. Cellyne
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In all cultures of the world, the subject of sex is a major concern in life and is likely to elicit embarrassment. Sexual language is subject to censoring and a potent source of euphemisms for people from all walks of life. Therefore, it is a worthy subject of observation and research. Notably significant is the role of dysphemisms in any society without which euphemisms become very ordinary words. This paper is part of an empirical study that examined sexual dysphemisms and euphemisms in the Kenyan Dholuo using Cognitive Linguistics Approach. This paper aims at identifying and explaining the sex- related dysphemistic words and phrases in Dholuo, as well as accounting for the cognitive processes in the creation of sex- related euphemisms. It also discusses the relationship between age and gender in the usage of euphemisms. The study used both purposive and simple random sampling techniques to obtain a sample of eighteen native Dholuo speakers for the study (nine were males and the other nine females). The researcher used an interview schedule and a tape recorder to collect data which was transcribed, categorized, quantified and then processed after which suitable methods of statistical representations were used to display the emergent patterns. The findings of this study indicate that men use more taboo words than women, a typical characteristic of the aggressive nature of men. When a man uses taboo words, he is viewed by the Luo society as a dignified individual while if the same words are used by a woman she is considered uncultured and is thus castigated. This finding brings to the fore the patriarchal nature of the Luo that values men over women and this hinders the women’s socio-economic development. This paper recommends a comprehensive research be carried on all native languages in a bid compile native language dictionaries in the attainment of the cultural pillar in line with vision 2030.