In this chapter, the focus is on presentation, analysis, discussion of the data collected for this work and findings. In order to achieve this, a sample of responses to interview and audio recordings are gathered and analyzed. These responses to various compliments in Hausa language are divided into 7 themes of admiration, appreciation, feelings, ideophones, reasons, emotions and sincerity. The data gathered will be analyzed using Searle’s Model of Speech Act analysis by identifying the illocutionary (assertives, expressives, commisives or representatives) and perlocutionary force and effects of the compliments.

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4.1 Basic Compliment Strategies

There are several ways through which the Hausas make use of compliment in order to achieve or build relationships. Most compliments depend on a positive evaluation in expression of admiration. However, expressions showing appreciation and feelings were used by the participants.

4.1.1 Expression of Admiration

In this study, explicit expressions of admiration in Hausa were realized by the selection of the following nominals: ‘kyau’-(nice, beauty), ‘kokari’- (praiseworthy effort), ‘sha’awa’- (desire), ‘himma’-(diligence), ‘Ilimi’ (ability or knowledge), ‘bajinta’- (distinguished ability), ‘hazaka’-(quick perception), ‘gwaninta’ (expertise), ‘hikima’- (wisdom), ‘dadi’-(pleasure), ‘kanshi’-(aroma, fragrance), ‘inganci’-(good quality), ‘tsada’- (expensiveness), and ‘gwani’-(expert).

Participants also used the pattern which contains adjectives; these include simple adjectives, unitary adjectives and complex adjectives. These set of adjectives are classified as positive adjectives for the sake of this study, and these positive include: ‘Kyakkyawar’- (handsome, beautiful), ‘haziki’-(one who is quick in perception), ‘ingantatce’-(qualitative), ‘mai’ kyau-(what is fine), ‘mai kokari’-(one who is hardworking), ‘mai tsada’-(what is expensive), and ‘mai inganci’-(one who is reliable/something of good quality). A number of positive verbs were also selectively used which were: ‘so’-(like), ‘sha’awa’-(desire), ‘birge’- (impress) ‘kokarta’-(make effort), and ‘fito/hade’-(informally to look good). However, a response was considered non-specific when the participants expressed admiration without using (Nouns, adjectives, and Verbs) or any of the above semantic carriers. Adverbs and ideophones were used by participants to intensify these semantic carriers, among which were: ‘sosai’-(well, correctly, exactly), ‘kwarai’-(very), ‘ainun’-(greatly), ‘matuka’-(extremely), ‘tsaf’, ‘cif,’ (to fit perfectly) and so on.

From the data gathered through oral interview/recordings, the following expressions were made by the partcipants when asked questions on expressions used for admiration.

Positive Adjectives

– Su na da kyakkyawan hali.

– Audu hazikin dalibi ne.

– Rigar nan ingantacciya ce.

– Tana son jaka mai tsada

Positive Verbs

– Audu na son tafiya

– Ta na shaawar wakokin zamani

– Su na birge iyayen su

– Ginin ta fito sosai

Positive Noun

– Rigar nan ta ka na da kyau

Interrogative Expression, Requests and Encouragement

– Wa yamiki dinkin nan? (interrogative)

– Za ka ba ni rigarka (request)

– Ku ci gaba da kokarin nan

The data in Table (1) indicate that participants used more positive nouns with 198 frequencies which represent 52.5% percent, than verbs, adjectives, and non-specific expression to express admiration. However, verbs were used with the frequency of 141 which also represents 37.4% percent. This makes positive verbs the second most used strategy. On the other hand, positive adjectives and non-specific strategies were less used with the frequencies of 16 which is 4.2% for adjectives and 22 which is 5.8% for non-specific expression respectively.

The pragmatic theme of the data stated in table 1 is admiration. The respondents responded using positive nouns, verbs and adjectives to show their admiration for something or someone. For example, – Tana son jaka mai tsada where son is a positive adjective, – Ta na shaawar wakokin zamani. Here, shaawar is a positive verb. Also there is the use of interrogatives e.g. – Wa ya miki dinkin nan? Interrogatives or requests fall within directives as a speech act. The chief motivation for using indirect requests is politeness.

In the expression of admiration as a compliment, it was observed that the most common illocutionary act used is the expressives because the locutions are mostly expressions of encouragement. The most common effect (perlocutionary effect) that an admiration elicit is the feeling of appereciation.

Table 1- Expression of Admiration


1 Positive


16 4.2

2 Positive


198 52.5

3 Positive


141 37.4

4 Nonspecific

22 5.8

5 Total 377 100%

4.1.3 Expression of Appreciation

Participants expressed their appreciation specifically using the word ‘Ina godiya’- (I’m grateful) and ‘Na gode’-(Thank you) or non-specifically as the examples show below. These expressions occurred when complimenting a teacher’s personality because of the teacher-student relationship. More so, a mother used appreciation to encourage her child, and so on.

The appreciation is either specific or non-specific. For example:

Specific Appreciation

– Mu na murna da wannan sakamakon. ( we are delighted with this development)

– Na gode da wannan karramar da a ka yi mun. ( thanks for the hospitality )


– Kun fidda mu kunya (you saved us from an imminent disgrace)

Table 2 below shows that 60% of the respondents express their appreciation in a specific way while 40% uses the non-specific way to appreciate someone or something.

The respondents used expressives is showing appreciation to an honor given. Example of an expressive act is – Mu na murna da wannan sakamakon. (We are delighted with this development). Expressives are used by Hausa interlocutors in order to express their thankfulness or appreciation for something done to them. This illocutionary act is also polite (positive politeness). The specific appreciation also obeys the maxim of quality because the statement is clear and precise without any form of ambiguity.

In expressing appreciation, expressives are used as the speech acts to encourage the person being complimented. The expected perlocutionary effect on the person is appreciation and elation.

Table 2- Expression of Appreciation

S/No Semantic Component Frequency Percentage

1 Specific 15 60%

2 Non-Specific 10 40%

3 TOTAL 25 100%


4.1.4 Expression of Feeling

Expression of feelings is a preferable strategy to maintain solidarity particularly among the people or speakers of Hausa language. This strategy was manifested in various semantic components: (Kindness, pride, jest, longing, happiness and prayer). Examples below illustrate the realizations used to express these feelings.


– Ku sauka lafiya ( safe journey)

– Ku huta gajiya ( have a good rest)

– Allah ya sawwake ( wishing you well)


– Mu na ji da kai ( We depend on you)

– Ya na alfahari da matarsa ( He is proud of his wife)


– Su na kewar yayansu ( They miss their kids)

– Na kosa su zo ( I am anxious for their arrival)


– Allah ya saka da alheri ( may Allah reward you)

– Allah ya sauke ku lafiya ( journey mercies)

– Allah yaba da zaman lafiya ( wish you peaceful stay)

The show of kindness occurred most often in the expression of feelings (27.5%) due to the fact that the typical Hausa speaker always show a form of kindness to anyone like a traveller, someone in distress, etc. other expressions of feelings can be rendered using kind words and expressions. Also, expressions showing happiness comes next in terms of frequency followed by prayer and jest with 17.2%. The least expression in this category is the expression of pride with 15 expressions which is about 8.6% of the total respondents.

The show of feelings among the Hausa speaking people is realized through the expression of kindness, pride, longing and prayers etc. The most common speech acts used here is the expressives. This expresses a psychological state (e.g. thanking) or show of feelings. This aspect of compliment is realized using prayers, show of kindness, pride and longing. As shown in the examples given, in showing solidarity, the expected effect is the feeling of being appreciated.


S/NO SEMANTIC COMPONENT Frequency percentage

1 KINDNESS 48 27.5

2 BEING PROUD 15 8.6

3 JEST 30 17.2

4 LONGING 16 9.19

5 HAPPINESS 35 20.1

6 PRAYER 30 17.2

7 TOTAL 174 100%

4.2.1 Intensifiers and Ideophones

The data reveal that intensifiers were used with nouns, and verbs. The examples below indicate the realization of intensifiers in the forms of adverbs of degree, adverbial complex and ideophones. The data showed that participants gave preference for adverbs of degree like ‘sosai’ (so much), ‘matuka’ (very), and ‘kwarai’ (indeed).

Adverb of Degree

– Sun birge ni sosai ( I am quite impressed)

– Ya na matukar son ta ( he loves her dearly)

– Ta yi kokari kwarai da gaske

Exaggerative intensifiers

– Dan wasan ya na da mugun kyau ( the player is too good)

– Ta na da masifar kyau ( she is extremely beautiful)

Double intensifiers

– Ka iya lissafi kwarai da gaske (you know maths quite well)

– Mun gode sosai sosai ( thank you very much)

Ideophones: Ideophones are adverbials used by the participants to intensify the compliment

expressions offered, particularly by modifying the verbs.

– Kudin sun cika cif cif ( the money is complete)

– Ya sanya riga baki kirin ( he wore a very black shirt)

The data reveal that intensifiers were used with nouns, and verbs. Table (5) indicates the realization of intensifiers in the forms of adverbs of degree, adverbial complex and ideophones. The data showed that participants gave preference for adverbs of degree like ‘sosai’ (so much), ‘matuka’ (very), and ‘kwarai’ (indeed) with the frequency of 95 representing 42.5%. This was followed by exaggerative adjectives with 29.9%. Double intensifiers were also used with 16%, and ideophones having 10.9%. Adverbial complex was also employed, however with less frequency 0.08%.

Intensifiers are used here with adverbs, exaggeration and ideophones. The illocutionary act used here is the assertives in that interlocutors made use of words and phrases in order to emphasize on certain qualities seen in a person or something. For example:

– Sun birge ni sosai. ( adverb of degree)

– Ta na da mugun kyau. (exaggeration)

– Mun gode sosai sosai. (double intensifier)

The examples above perform the illocutionary acts of asserting by describing the qualities seen and complimented while the other examples are indicated by the appropriate use of assertive verbs while others are inferred from the meaning of the sentences through the use of exaggeration.

The most common illocution used here are the assertives intensifiers make use of exaggeration, adverbs of degree and ideophones for the sake of emphasis. The expected effect on the person being appreciated is joy and appreciation.

Table 5- Intensifiers and Ideophones

S/No Semantic Component Freq. Percentage

1 Adverb of Degree 95 42.4%

2 Exaggerative Intensifier 67 29.9%

3 Adverbial Complex 2 0.08%

4 Double Intensifiers 36 16%

5 Ideophones 24 10.9%

6 Total 224 100%

4.2.2 Intensity of Sincerity

Participants modified their expression of admiration in different realizations as examples below show. For instance, to admire a friend after losing some weight, participants showed their admiration by notifying the change. Participants also used exaggeration more frequently. To admire a friend’s performance though she/he was complaining about it, participants employed the use of assurance by swearing. The data further revealed that to




2 ASSURING 24 13.8%


4 SIMILE 10 5.7%

5 METAPHOR 8 4.6%



8 TOTAL 174 100%

4.2.3 Emotional Devices

The data shown below illustrates an emotion signaled by the speakers’ sentiment to intensify their expressions. For example, tirkashi (wonderful), wai-wai-wai (Oh, my goodness), Kai! (You!), and Allah (God) are interjections, exclamations and also greetings.


– Babban Magana! Ku zo mu je yanzu.( wonderful! Let us go now.)

– Tirkashi! Ai ko kin yi kyau. (Wonderful! You look beautiful)


– Haba! Ke ki ka wanke duk kayan ( haba! You are the one that washed all the cloth.)

– Tabdi! Na ka ta fi tawa tsada. (wow! Yours costs more than mine)


– Barkan ku da hutawa ( wishing you a nice rest)

– Sannu da kokari (well done)

The data in table 7 show that emotional devices were realized through the use of interjections, invocation, exclamation, and greetings. Out of the total, 46.6% of interjection was used by the participants. Invocation was used 10.3% of the frequency which is the least.

The focus here is on compliments using emotional devices like interjection, exclamation, greeting, etc. the intention of the respondents here is to use inference in order to understand the illocutionary force of the compliments made. The speakers used compliments like babban Magana (wonderful), tirkashi (unbelievable), tabdi (no way) to intensify their compliments.

The participants used compliment structure that contains interjection, invocation, exclamation and greetings in order to show emotions. Male interlocutors used more emotional devices in complimenting female than they do when complimenting fellow male interlocutors. By contrast, female interlocutors used more emotional devices in their compliment to fellow females than when complimenting male interlocutors.

Table 7: Emotional Devices

S/No Semantic Component Freq. Percentage


2 INVOCATION 6 10.3%

3 EXCLAMATION 16 27.6%

4 GREETING 9 15.5%

5 TOTAL 58 100%

4.4 Basic Compliment Response Strategies

The data gathered from recordings and interviews reveal 3 basic strategies of responding to compliments, each of these strategies is examined below using the following headings:

i. Acceptance Strategy

ii. Rejection Strategy

iii. Mitigation Strategy

4.4.1 Analysis of Acceptance Strategy

The data revealed that acceptance strategy was used more often than any strategy. Participants expressed their acceptance in different realizations as the examples below show. Appreciation was realized using the expressions “na gode” (thank you), or “Na yi godiya” (I’m grateful). This conventional response in Hausa was intensified by the adjectives “sosai” (well) and “Kwarai” (very). Participants used appreciation token alone and in combination with other strategies when accepting, mitigating, and rejecting the Compliments.

Comment acceptance strategy was realised either explicitly or implicitly. Participants avoided agreeing with the speaker because accepting the compliment might be interpreted as arrogance, which violates modesty maxim, Leech, (1983). However, participants agreed when a teacher complimented their achievement since they believed that they deserved admiration. Expressing gladness was realised by the use of the expressions “Na yi murna” (I’m happy) or “Na ji dadi” (I am delighted). Examples of realisations and English Translations are given below:

– Na gode / ina godiya (thank you) – Appreciation.

– Na yi murnan ganin ka/ muna maku maraba da zuwa (I am happy to see you/ you are all welcome)- Expression of gladness.

– Ina ba ka shawara ka ba ta hakuri. / idan haka ne mu je yanzu. (I am advising you to appologise to her/ if that is the case we should go now.)- Advice.

Most Hausa reply to an advice, gladness, praise and acceptance through appreciation such as na gode/ ina godiya, hence its frequent occurrence than the other semantic components (85%) while comment acceptance occurred 20 times which represents 6.3%.

6 Total 315 100%




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