Morpho-syntactic Analysis of Sex-related Euphemisms and the Stretch of Dysphemism in Swahili


  • Nichodamus Robinson Sokoine University of Agriculture


This paper analysed the morpho-syntax of sex-related euphemisms and their role in stretching dysphemism in Swahili. Euphemism formation mechanisms are reliant upon societal cultural values, which are not universal. Data were collected in Morogoro through observations, interviews, and Informal Focus Group Discussions (IFGDs). Findings indicate that the morpho-syntax of the noun and verb determines the formation of sex-related euphemisms and the extent of dysphemism. In terms of noun morphosyntax, sex-related euphemisms do not belong to the same class as taboos, amounting to 14 for male and 12 for female sexual body parts. Additionally, the class 9 agreement property -i is intentionally used to form sex-related euphemisms, which can create humour but also stretch dysphemism when uttered unintentionally. Regarding the morphosyntax of verbs, 40.9% of those tested signify sex-related euphemisms in Swahili, depending on speakers' morpho-syntactic manipulations. In conclusion, ignorance of Swahili morpho-syntactic structures may contribute significantly to sex-related dysphemism. Therefore, this paper recommends further study into how Swahili learners' morpho-syntactic structures may lead to sex-related dysphemism.



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Author Biography

Nichodamus Robinson, Sokoine University of Agriculture

Nichodamus Robinson is a lecturer in the Department of Language Studies, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania. His research areas of interest include morphology, morphophonology, stylistics and language teaching.




How to Cite

Robinson, N. (2024). Morpho-syntactic Analysis of Sex-related Euphemisms and the Stretch of Dysphemism in Swahili. JULACE: Journal of the University of Namibia Language Centre, 8(1 and 2), 11–27. Retrieved from