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Transforming HIV and AIDS Perceptions: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Zimbabwean AIDS Campaign Posters

Clemenciana Mukenge


This paper seeks to analyze the language used to talk about HIV and AIDS in selected previous and current Zimbabwean campaign posters. The analysis is guided by Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). An in-depth textual analysis of the posters is carried out focusing on linguistic features such as vocabulary, grammar, cohesion and text structure. This is followed by a comparative analysis of the linguistic features used in earlier and later messages to ascertain whether and how the HIV and AIDS conceptualization has transformed. It is argued that the language used to refer to HIV and AIDS is gradually shifting from the fatal and pessimistic view of the pandemic to acceptance, tolerance and optimism. It is concluded that language is double edged; it is socially constitutive and socially constituted. This means that it is shaped by and reflects social reality and its structures, and in turn it influences the construction of that very reality by shaping people’s perceptions of and reactions to their world.

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eISSN: 2546-2164