A Pragmatic Analysis of Language As A Mechanism For Peaceful Interaction: A Case Study of When Women Go Naked

Clara Unoalegie Bola Agbara


Most parts of the world today are enveloped in conflict caused by personal ambitions, selfishness, economic disasters, religious beliefs, gender discrimination, ideologies, unequal distribution of natural resources, and many more daunting causes. The effect of these conflicts has led to several losses of lives and properties, stunted socio- economic growth and development. The question is what can be done so that the world enjoys living that is more peaceful and less conflict prone. The popular adage ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ provides the solution. Pen symbolises the appropriate choice of linguistic codes to communicate messages. Language is not simple an instrument of messaging but also a device for the expression of an individual’s thought and feelings; a reflection of a speaker’s inner sensitivity and mood. This study, using the play When Women Dance Naked as data, sets out to examine the language used during conflict situation and its effect on the relationship between interlocutors. The study, using multifaceted approaches, reveals that when speakers resort to the use of positive words that respect the addressee’s self-esteem, peace is developed and maintained. While the use of negative and downgrading codes fuel hatred and accelerate conflicts. The study concludes that appropriate choice of linguistic codes is essential in order to building, development and maintenance peace. Language can be used not only as a weapon of reconciliation where there is disharmony or conflict but also as an implement to create and deescalate conflict which can wipe out an entire family or society.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jsel.v12i1.22031


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