Chasu Euphemisms: An Ethnolinguistic Descriptive Account

Erasmus Akiley Msuya


The current study is an ethnographic descriptive account of use of euphuisms among the Chasu speaking community in their attempts to avoid impolite words. The study was conducted in Mwanga district, Kilimanjaro Region, in a remote rural ward known as Ngujini. 20 elderly people (13 men and 7 women) took part in the study, having been purposively sampled to be key informants. This was complimented by the researcher’s introspection since he belongs to the same speech community as a native speaker. Data were gathered through spontaneous elicitation and were sound-recorded and later transcribed and then classified into their respective categories. The categories in focus were reference to sexual and excretory organs, reference to sexual and excretory processes, references to diseases and deaths and reference to pregnancy, births and deaths. The findings indicated that euphemisms referring to sexual activity were most dominant and picturesque while those referring to burial were the fewest. Most euphemisms were semantic extensions of existing Chasu words while a few were borrowings from other languages, notably Kiswahili. It has been concluded that Chasu people have crafty way of communicating whatever is unpleasant or impolite but also there are times their euphemistic expressions had attitudinal overtones leading to some pejorative expressions.

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