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Language, culture and conflict resolution. A case of Kiswahili as a unifying language in Kenya

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Research Paper (undergraduate) from the year 2018 in the subject Communications - Language, Moi University (education), course: m-ed, language: English, abstract: The purpose of this paper is to show that a common language is one of the most important features of a diverse community. Human communication is based on features that describe an ...
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Research Paper (undergraduate) from the year 2018 in the subject Communications - Language, Moi University (education), course: m-ed, language: English, abstract: The purpose of this paper is to show that a common language is one of the most important features of a diverse community. Human communication is based on features that describe an event and capture emotions, needs, interests and fears. Language is used to resolve or escalate dispute. Opara (2016) asserted that People from different culture and social units perceive the world through the lens provided by their distinctive languages. Meaning that language provides a repertoire of words that name the categories into which the language users have divided their world. In fact, definitions of words are linguistically, culturally and contextually bound. Words carry meanings that make sense to members of a shared social environment. Conflict resolution relies heavily on word choices. Here language is key to dispute resolution because it is the words human beings in the world use as an accelerator to harmonious living or existential war fronts. There is an assumption in Kenya that conflict is best resolved when people can speak in one “nativity”, for instance, the kikuyu when faced with conflict can best sort out the issue in their native language because of the semiotics of the conflict. There is linguistic consistency where all the words used add value to the discourse.The researcher posits that in a country like Kenya, were national conflicts build from local dialectics, Kiswahili can be the unifying factor and a conflict resolution tool. Kiswahili as a trade language in Eastern Africa does accommodate the diversity of culture and language use. The paper explores the strengths of Kiswahili language in intercultural conflict resolution, and emphasizes the need to consider the uses of the language in national and transnational conflict resolution.
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