Riddling, Word-Play and Language Growth
Gulere, Cornelius Wambi
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Word-play and/or riddling are sometimes castigated as a diversionary use of language. While some are fascinated by it and would go miles to appreciate such entertainment, others feel it is insincere and nonsensical. This paper posits that riddling and / or word-play creates additional meaning with words in order to entertain or make a comment. Riddling and word-play are genres where the language is seen to overfly its boundaries (rules). In this way, it finds fertile grounds to grow, especially when it comes to using certain words considered as taboo in society. It is also used in coded communication used by the forces like the army and police. By examining the street comedy shows of Diikuula and selected radio shows, songs and riddling events in targeted locations, we have come to the conclusion that through word-play and riddling, the actors are able to coin words and euphemisms that bear double or sometimes triple meanings relevant to a cause. By so doing, they help the language users to realize another side of words and phrases in common use and to reconsider their statements, before making them. In this way, language acquires new semantic and morphological dimensions.