Socio-pragmatics of language use in selected Pentecostal churches

Research Article

Socio-pragmatics of language use in selected Pentecostal churches

DOI: 10.2989/16073614.2022.2120028
Author(s): Devet Goodness Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE), Tanzania


This article surveys the pragmatic and sociolinguistic functions of common expressions used in Pentecostalism. Data for this study were collected from three selected Pentecostal churches found in two districts of Dar es Salaam. Data were collected through observation and interviews with the selected Pentecostal believers who expressed their views on the choice and function of certain expressions used in Pentecostal churches. The study findings indicate that Pentecostal churches make great use of phrases and expressions found in the bible and common words used in ordinary conversation. These common words carry different tones and connotations such as fear and joy when they are adopted in the religious context. The study has noted some common expressions and structures. The common functions of these expressions and structures include, but are not limited to: attracting attention, comforting, identifying believers as belonging to the same faith, directing the congregants to perform certain acts, rebuking the devil, blessing, praising and exalting God. The article notes that the language style used in Pentecostalism conforms to norms found in this denomination, and this is manifested in the way its members select expressions, which mark their identity. Such expressions can be noted in prayers, preaching and announcements.

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