Forms and functions of “impossibility” expressions in Yoruba informal interactions




impossibility slangy expressions, Yoruba informal interactions, pragmatic acts, impossibility


This study investigates the forms and pragmatic functions of “impossibility” slangy expressions in Yoruba informal interactions, within the framework of Mey’s pragmatic acts (2001). Data comprised ten informal interactions randomly sampled from thirty interactions observed among the Yoruba in different contexts. Findings revealed “impossibility” slangy expressions in Yoruba trifurcate into function‑oriented, structure‑function‑oriented, and danger‑oriented types. They are deployed to express rejection, rejection with warning, caution, discountenance and disapproval, rebuke with dare, challenge and threat in Yoruba informal interactions. Participants in Yoruba informal interactions make recourse to facial expression (physical act), and contextual elements: shared cultural knowledge (SCK), shared experiential knowledge (SEK), voice (VCE), inference (INF) and relevance (REF) to deconstruct the pragmatic imports of impossibility expressions.


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How to Cite

Ajayi, T. M. (2022). Forms and functions of “impossibility” expressions in Yoruba informal interactions. Studies in African Languages and Cultures, (56), 101–126.