This work examines politeness expressions in Hausa request act, using politeness theory proposed by Brown and Levinson (1987). Every society has certain norms and values which are considered as total way of life, and every individual has a face that needs to be protected when it comes to the issue of communicating. So, in contributing to an utterance, speakers need to consider such norms and values in order to be polite or impolite. Thus, speakers need to speak in a way that is appropriate to the societal norms and values. The aim here is to analyze how the politeness strategies work in Hausa when it comes to issue of request making. Data were collected during conversations among Hausa speakers at various settings. Three sociological variables of social distance, power status and ranking of imposition were used in the analysis (P, D and R) that exist between the interlocutors, using – and +. Findings show that the Hausa socio-cultural norms of politeness play a role in claims common ground between speaker and hearer, and also convey that speaker and hearer are cooperators in request act.  The study concludes that while making request in Hausa, the people use a politeness strategy of common ground of speaker and hearer as cooperators that play a role according to the politeness of Hausa and it is for communication effectiveness in building and maintenance of their social relationship.  

Full Text:



Alba-Juez, L. (2009). Perspectives on Discourse Analysis Theory and Practice. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Bello, A. (1992). The Dialects of Hausa. Fourth Dimension Publishing Co., Ltd. Enugu, Nigeria: New Haven.

Blum-Kulka, S., House, J., & Kasper, G. (Eds). (1989) Cross-cultural pragmatics: Request and apologies. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Brown, P. & Levinson, S.C. (1987) [1978]. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. and Varley, R. (1993) Introduction to Language Pathology. London: Whurr Publishers Limited.

Xantumbishi, M. A. (2003). A study of Hausa Slang in Kano Metropolis: A Sociolinguistic Approach. Unpublished PhD Dissertation Dept. of Nigerian Languages UsmanuXanfodiyo University Sokoto.

Farahat, S. H (2009). Politeness Phenomena in Palestinian Arabic and Australian English: A Cross-Cultural Study of Selected Contemporary Plays. Unpublished PhD. Dissertation. School of Arts and Sciences, Victoria. Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Australian Catholic University

Fraser, B. (1990). Perspectives on Politeness. Journal of Pragmatics 14, 219-236. Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. North-Holland.

Goffman, E. (1967). Interactional ritual: Essays on face-to-face behavior. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books.

Grice, H. P (1975). Logic and Conversation. In Speech Acts, edited by Peter Cole and Jerry L. Morgan, 41-58. Syntax and Semantics 3. New York: Academic Press.

Holmes, J. (1995). Women, men and politeness. London: Longman

Holmes, J (2013). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Fourth edition. Routledge.

House, J. (2012). (Im) politeness in cross-cultural encounters. Language and Intercultural Communication, 12(4), 284-301.

Kraft, C. H and Kirk-Greene, A.H.M (1973). Hausa A Complete Course for Beginners. London: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd.

Lakoff, R. T. (1973/1979). The Logic of politeness, or minding your p's and q's. ' Papers from the Ninth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society 9: 292-305.

Leech, G (1983). Principles of Pragmatics. London: Longmans.

Olutayo, G. (2015). Cooperation and Politeness in Television Discourse. World Journal of English Language. Nigeria: Bowen University. [14].

Searle, J. (1969). Speech acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. London: Cambridge University Press

Searle, J. (1975). Indirect Speech Acts. In Cole, Peter, Morgan, (eds). Syntax and Semantics 3: Speech Acts. Academic Press: New York pp. 59-82

Thomas, J. (1995). Meaning in Interaction: an Introduction to Pragmatics. London and New York: Longman.

Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language (1951): World Publishing Company of Cleveland, Ohio

Yule, G. (1995). The study of Language: Second Edith. Cambridge University Press, international Sales Department.

Yusuf, M. A. (2011) Hausa Grammar: An Introduction. Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press.

Zailani, A. A. (2019). A Study of Communication Strategies in Hausa Request Act. PhD dissertation, Bayero University Kano.


  • There are currently no refbacks.