Complaints in Kewa letters

Date Created:
1968
Part Of Series:
Oceanic Linguistics, 51 (1): 33-57
Extent:
30 pages
Abstract:
In this study we examine 63 letters written to Karl Franklin and his family over a period of fifteen years by a Papua New Guinea man (called Yombo throughout) in his Kewa language. We first discuss the ways complaints have been handled by various authors. We then provide a brief background to the Kewa culture before analyzing the pragmatic context of speech acts that disclose various complaints in a sampling of the letters. The classification and modification of the complaints has benefitted in particular from the theories of Trosborg (1995) and House and Kasper (1981). We relate the complaints to various cultural scenarios and scripts to show how Yombo complains and what he is complaining about. He often avoids direct confrontation and mitigates the offense. The study also demonstrates how a newly literate man uses various styles and features from his language (West Kewa=WK) to discuss the events happening in his life—and to complain about some of them.
Publication Status:
Published
Country:
Papua New Guinea
Subject Languages:
Content Language:
Field:
Work Type:
Subject:
Pragmatics
Semantics
Nature of Work:
Entry Number:
50863