Im/politeness in Muslim Discourse: A Study of Nigerian Friday Sermons
Sharafudeen Kareem, PhD

This paper investigated the use of im/politeness in Muslim sermons or Khutbahs. The study attempts to show that the Muslim sermon, in its aim to impart various types of religious information to the congregation, is a communicative event that is capable of generating ill-feelings among its various audiences. The Imam is thus expected to make strategic use of politeness elements in his delivery or risk compromising the efficacy of the sermon. To identify these elements, a modified version of Brown and Levinson‘s (1987) model of politeness was used as an analytical framework. Using naturally occurring data collected from Friday sermons, the study shows that the Imams used several politeness strategies identified in the Brown and Levinson model. Furthermore, the inclusion of data comprising sermons delivered in Yorùbá adduced evidence of the influence of the Yorùbá culture in the linguistic politeness practices of the Imams. In addition, it is shown that although the Imams used the traditional Face Threatening Acts (FTAs), these largely amount to ‗conventional aggression‘ (Harris, 2001)or ‗unmarked FTAs‘ (Dynel 2015). The study concluded that the Imams were characteristically polite in their delivery, and politeness is an important feature in a religious discourse such as the Friday sermon.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijlc.v6n2a3