Analysing the Discourse of Tour Guiding Communication: The Case of Lalibela Rockhewn Churches

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Addis Ababa University


This study has aimed to analyse the discourse of tour guiding communication. Specifically, an attempt has been made to describe the way local tour guides of Lalibela view the required discourses for tour guides; to investigate the ways local tour guides discursively construct and represent the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela; to identify challenges that local tour guides experience in representing and communicating the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela to foreign tourists; and to find out strategies employed by local tour guides to overcome communication challenges. To address these issues, data have been collected through interview and video recording of the actual guiding practice. Both the interview and video data have been first analyzed thematically. Then, discourse analysis which is considered as both theoretical and analytical framework has been employed in the analysis stage of the study. Specifically, conversation analysis, speech act theory and critical discourse analysis which are considered as different approaches of discourse analysis have been used to describe, interpret and explain the data. The study findings have showed that local tour guides of Lalibela view the discourse of tour guiding communication at the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela as religious information, participants with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds and prescribed rules and norms of behaving. As a result, religious knowledge, language ability, cultural awareness and good code of ethics have been found as major requirements for local tour guides of Lalibela. Besides, the findings have showed that local tour guides of Lalibela attempt to discursively construct personal identity, destination significance and connection of the destination to other relevant things. The findings have further showed that tour guides have experienced language and culture related problems in their tour guiding practice. While, pronunciation, word choice and grammar have been found to be typical language related problems, nonverbal acts performed by tourists in and around the churches are major challenges for local tour guides of Lalibela. In order to cope up with such challenges, tour guides are found to employ different strategies. Simplification, compensatory and avoidance strategies have been employed to overcome language related problems, whereas providing tourists with cultural orientation has been found to be a remedy for problems related to cultural differences.



Lalibela Rockhewn Churches