Kinship metaphors in Swahili language and culture

Iwona Kraska-Szlenk

Abstract


Swahili kinship terms are highly polysemous and occur in many figurative meanings out of which some are fully conventionalized in language usage. The article focuses on a specific case of such extensions which metaphorically frames an unrelated person as one’s kin. The usage patterns of this “fictive” kinship will be analyzed in various pragmatic contexts demonstrating their illocutionary and perlocutionary effects. In addition, it will be shown that this particular extension, as well as other multiple figurative uses of kinship terms correlate with the Swahili cultural model and the high appreciation of one’s family in the community’s system of values.


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