Critical Discourse Analysis: The paradox of Topoi in Chichewa Proverbs in Malawi

Authors : Liston Mpheza

Volume/Issue : Volume 8 - 2023, Issue 1 - January

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This article examines the use of Chichewa proverbs as sources of argumentation (topoi) in Malawi from the standpoint of critical discourse analysis. This article illustrates how Chichewa proverbs spark diametrically opposed topoi in various oral and written dialogues. Proverbs are essential because they are utilised in a variety of contexts, including education, entertainment, justice, and behaviour modification, that have an impact on the wellbeing of residents of different communities. Proverbs are used by different speakers to make their views more obvious, offer advice, and caution others about various elements of life, administer justice in legal proceedings, critique the behaviour of others, settle disputes, and enliven speeches. Because Malawians are accustomed to employing Chichewa proverbs as the foundation of a topos in everyday communication, they are more likely to utilise Chichewa proverbs to persuade others of their points of view. Speakers use proverbs to persuade people that what they are arguing is supported by folk wisdom from adults, they employ diverse proverbs in a variety of ways. This paper examines how arguments in Malawi are derived from oral literature, particularly from Chichewa proverbs, one of the types of oral literature. The results show that majority of Chichewa proverbs contain counter proverbs. Because of this, relying on them is inappropriate for someone who wishes to win a debate. The Discourse Historical Approach, a subset of Critical Discourse Analysis, was employed in this paper.

Keywords : Topoi, Proverb. Discourse Historical Approach.


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29 - February - 2024

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