Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Lodz Papers in Pragmatics

Founded by Cap, Piotr

Editor-in-Chief: Chilton, Paul / Kopytowska, Monika

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.197
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.787

See all formats and pricing
More options …

The covert language in Kenyan hip hop lyrics

Beatrice Ochoki, / Helga Schroeder,
Published Online: 2012-11-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lpp-2012-0013


This article discusses the covert language of Kenyan hip hop lyrics. It will show that it has two interacting factors for its covertness, one is the uniqueness of Sheng and the other is the lexical adjustment processes that involve the construction of ad hoc concepts based on the interrelation between the encoded concepts, contextual information and the pragmatic processes of narrowing and broadening. This article will also show that Kenyan hip hop lyrics are prone to misinterpretation as a result of the lexical manipulation processes and the figurative language used. It will also prove that the misunderstanding of Kenyan hip hop lyrics is triggered intentionally by the speakers� abilities and preferences to exploit covert language, which is intended to lock out outsiders and create a new identity for the Kenyan urban youth. Hidden in the figurative language is a demeaning understanding of women as sex objects.

Keywords: covert language; Sheng; cognitive effects; processing effort; narrowing; broadening

About the article

Beatrice Ochoki,

Beatrice Ochoki is assistant lecturer at St. Augustine University of Tanzania with a specialisation in pragmatics which can be traced back to her M.A. research �Pragmatic constraints in Kenyan Hip hop Lyrics� in which she used lexical pragmatics as her theoretical framework. Besides teaching, she is engaged in academic research and supervises undergraduate research students. She is currently working on her Ph.D., which also uses the framework of Relevance Theory.

Helga Schroeder,

Helga Schroeder received her Ph.D. from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, where she is currently senior lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and Languages. She is also a member of SIL International, an organisation for which she is doing extensive consulting and conducts workshops in the area of morpho-syntax and discourse of African languages. Her research interest revolves around the morpho-syntax-discourse features of African languages and their interface with pragmatics. She has published internationally in linguistic journals and volumes and is right now working on ergativity in Africa and the syntax of clause chaining and its pragmatics in Nilotic languages.

Published Online: 2012-11-01

Published in Print: 2012-11-01

Citation Information: Lodz Papers in Pragmatics, Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 233–263, ISSN (Online) 1898-4436, ISSN (Print) 1895-6106, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lpp-2012-0013.

Export Citation

©[2012] by De Gruyter Mouton Berlin.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in