An exploration of the nature, functions and subcategories of the discourse functional category, Interactive, in spoken Xhosa

  • A.P. Hendrikse
  • N Nomdebevana
  • Jens Allwood


It is a generally accepted view among discourse analysts that the so-called ‘discourse particles’ are extremely variable in meaning and multi-functional, and consequently highly context-dependent for their understanding. As a result of this view no generally accepted view of the systematisation of the range of discourse particles, words and other expressions exists within the discourse analytical framework. Not all functionalist linguists agree with this viewpoint. Some of them, in fact, suggest that discourse particles belong to a single word class. Research done at Gothenburg University on a corpus of spoken language interactions in Swedish show that there is a range of communicative interactive functions around which interactive function expressions cluster. In this article we take these views further by attempting to systematise and classify Xhosa interactive functional expressions into functional subcategories of an overarching functional category which we call Interactive. This article is therefore an attempt to develop a taxonomy of functional expressions in Xhosa.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117