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An Analysis of the Pragmatic Functions of Vague Language in Ekegusii

Hellen Kwamboka Ondari
Martha Moraa Michieka


This paper provides an analysis of the pragmatic function of vague language use in everyday interactions in Ekegusii. The paper analyses the types of meanings conveyed by referring expressions such as: The plural “you” for singular reference, The inclusive “we”, The pronoun “they”, Down toners and Placeholders. The analysis applies Grice’s (1975) Cooperative Principle and Brown and Levinson’s (1987) Politeness Principle. The paper maintains that vague language is not a deviation from precision and clarity, but that it has a critical role that cannot be achieved through precise language.

Key words: Vague language, pragmatics, meaning, Ekegusii