The Therapeutic Role of Language in HIV/AIDS Diagnostic Counselling: A Pragmatic Appraisal

  • CJ Ezekulie
  • KJ Pam


This paper evaluates the pragmatic relevance of counsellor-client interaction in pre and post HIV/AIDS diagnostic counselling. The study establishes to what extent the observation of pragmatic principles either improves or impairs the diagnosis and treatment of this dreadful disease. The analyses reveal that participants involved in counselling flout or uphold the interpersonal rhetoric as well as employ speech acts and implicature in encoding and decoding utterance meaning as the case may be. However, the obliquity arising from hedged performatives does not undermine meaning due to contextual factors. The language employed by the participants is, to a large extent, pragmatically adequate and therapeutic as it disposes both the HIV positive and negative clients counselled to respond to the perlocutionary effects of the utterances. This pragmatic appraisal becomes imperative given that “a mere knowledge of technical vocabulary, and even the ability to use that knowledge correctly, are worth nothing, as long as the pragmatic conditions governing the use
of that knowledge are not met” (Mey, 1993, p.300).

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-0083
print ISSN: 1994-9057