Pragmatics of letter writing in Setswana
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Using a corpus of about 200 letters written during the time that Botswana was a British protectorate (1885–1966) by and to the British administrators on one hand, and letters written to and by Batswana (natives of Botswana) on the other hand, this paper explores the main differences and similarities between letter writing by Batswana and by the British. The study found that in the letters written by the British there is directness in presenting the point, very little stylistic ornamentation, and emphasis on information or content of the letters. The letters are more formal with shorter salutations and signatures. Letters written by Batswana on the other hand reveal that the conventions of letter writing in Setswana require greetings and an employment of address forms that convey respect and politeness in the Setswana culture. Letters written by Botswana thus have longer introductions and salutations which involve greetings and best wishes.