Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Sorani Kurdish Address Forms: Case of Northwest Iran

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Sorani Kurdish Address Forms: Case of Northwest Iran

Article excerpt


Our study aims at ascertaining and formulating a framework that would account for the Kurdish data. We scrutinize all the dyads that occur in the selected corpus, and describe how they usually work on the basis of the two following variables: power and intimacy. According to our investigation, the use of terms of address in Kurdish is affected by the age, sex, occupation, ideology, political and social position of the interlocutors which can be stated as a result of the investigation of older material -such as qualitative analysis of observation followed by unobtrusive note taking of contemporary use, a corpus of several plays, accounts of travel, interviews, TV, radio and the careful observation of the use of terms of address of today. Kurdish culture is title + first-name and title + family name oriented. Titles like 'doctor,' 'professor,' and 'teacher' are used, with title and family names. First names in Kurdish culture are restricted in use. They are used most commonly among peer groups of young generation, and by an older person addressing a child or a younger person in the family. Cognitively, Kurdish tends toward a holistic style and it puts the group, family, and country before the individual.

Keywords: Address terms, Critical discourse analysis, Politeness, Power semantics, Solidarity semantics, Kurdish

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

1. Introduction

Halliday distinguished three main functions for language: ideational, textual and interpersonal. The interpersonal function is to indicate and establish social relationships between people in a society; it includes terms of address, speech functions, etc. (Halliday, 1978). Fasold (1990) believes that in no area of sociolinguistics this function of language is more highlighted than in address forms.

The study of address terms investigates social attitudes, social structures and group ideology (Lee-Wong, 1994). In addition, cultural norms and values are reflected in the address system. For example, if in a language a number of variants in the address system refer to religious terms like 'mollâ' and 'feix' (Arabic loan words in Persian, Kurdish, and other Iranian Languages denoting 'clergyman'), this shows the important status of religion in the respective culture (Braun, 1988).

2. Review of the Literature

Researchers in the field of sociolinguistics have long been interested in investigating both the process by which people are socialized into cultural practices and the meanings that are associated with such practices (Sandel, 2002). The study of address terms is associated with the names of Brown & Ford: Address in American English (1961), Brown & Gilman: The Pronouns of Power and Solidarity (1960), Brown & Gilman: The Pronouns of Solidarity and Power (1972), and Brown & Levinson: Universals in Language Useage: Politeness Phenomena (1978). These scholars found two forces triggering the use of address terms: power and solidarity. Some instances exhibit the FN vs. TLN distribution or the T/V distinction in older cE, that is, "thou" and "you" respectively, but in standard contemporary English, there is only one pronoun of address, namely "you".

Bates and Benigni (1975) examined the pronouns of address in Italy as a function of sociological parameters of age, sex and social class. They used a modified version of the Brown and Gilman's questionnaire in interviewing 117 Italian adults. Their results indicate a powerful age-class interaction in overall degrees of formality. They found out that there are three pronouns of address in the Italian address system: 'tu' (T), 'voi' (V1) and 'lei' (V2). So it has a threefold distinction which is not considered by Brown and Gilman (Bates & Benigni, 1975, p. 271). According to them young upper class Ss are the least formal of the social groups; ic youths are the most formal, while older Ss fall in between. Regarding the relationship between politics and address forms, Bates and Benigni (1975, p. …

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