‘Be ambiguous!’ The African canon of communication

Talk by Felix Ameka, Leiden University

2017.09.04 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Date Thu 12 Oct
Time 15:00 17:00
Location IMC Meeting Room, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, Building 1483 - 312


The Gricean Manner maxim of “Be perspicuous” with its submaxims apply very well to western academic writing. I will argue in this talk that they do not apply to African modes of everyday communication. I will draw on cultural keywords for behavioural codes as well as ways of speaking from different communities of practice on the continent to substantiate the claim that the key communicative rule is that one should not be clear, nor orderly and above all one should not avoid ambiguity in communicative interaction.


Felix Ameka, Senior University Lecturer
Leiden University