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Title: Influence of religion on language use : a sociopragmatic study on the influence of religion on speech acts performance
Author: Alsohaibani, Ali
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 5597
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2017
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Language and religion have both been considered as distinguishing and influential components of culture that interact with and influence each other. In an attempt to understand the relationship between religion and language, this study aims to examine the influence of religion on language as a communicative means, focusing on the effect of Islam and Islamic values and beliefs on the everyday language of Saudi speakers of Arabic. To explore the extent of religion’s influence on language use, the study focuses on the use of religious expressions in the performance of speech acts. It attempts to answer the following questions, which will in turn demonstrate the extent of religion’s influence on language use: What is the actual presence of religious expressions in the interlocutors’ speech acts? What are the pragmatic and sociopragmatic functions of the religious expressions that are used in the interlocutors’ speech acts? Are there any religious motivations behind the use of religious expressions in the interlocutors’ speech acts? How do different variables (age, gender and religiosity) influence the interlocutors’ use of religious expressions? To answer these questions, this empirical study investigates certain religious expressions and in the daily speech of Saudi speakers of Arabic through analysing specific speech acts (i.e. greeting, responding to greeting, thanking, complimenting and responding to complimenting). This study mainly uses qualitative analysis based on speech act theory (SAT) (Austin, 1962; Searle, 1969) and Brown and Levinson’s (1987) facework approach. The researcher also employs theological and ideological considerations as an additional framework. Quantitative approaches are also used to measure the actual presence and frequency of religious expressions in order to generate statistical representations of the linguistic phenomenon and to consider different variables. The research employs three approaches to collect the data: role plays to elicit linguistic discourse for analysis; ethnographic interviews to probe the perceptions and motivations behind their language use; and the experimental measurement of participants’ linguistic awareness to examine their recognition of the presence and function of certain religious expressions. It has been found that religious expressions play a significant role in the performance of certain speech acts and have great influence in performing the three levels of certain speech acts: locutionary acts, illocutionary acts and perlocutionary acts. In addition, religious expressions have been found to contribute to the degree of the positive facework of specific speech acts. Moreover, the participants’ responses reveal awareness of the religious and ideological (theological) motivations behind the use of religious expressions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available