Communication challenges in the language use of business transactions between traders and their clients in Nakuru town open air market in Kenya

  • Augustina C Akaeze Laikipia University, Kenya
  • Eliud K Kirigia Laikipia University, Kenya
  • Felicia Yieke Laikipia University, Kenya
Keywords: business transactions, clients, communication challenges, multilingualism, traders


This study aimed to evaluate the communication challenges between traders and their clients in their business transactions in a multilingual speech community and give insight into communication challenges that people in the business community face when they are in multi-ethnic business transactions situations. The study used a descriptive research design and was guided by the Speech Theory by Austin, which was further advanced by Searle and the Communication Accommodation Theory by Giles. The size of the sample population was twenty (20) encounters of the business transactions drawn from the open-air market in Nakuru Central Business District (CBD). Stratified random sampling was the sampling technique used. The twenty encounters of the business transactions were randomly selected from traders who sell different goods in the open-air market. The data collection method was interviews of the traders and their clients where possible. The study found that the basic communication challenges the traders and their clients faced were noise, the inability of the traders to communicate with both the speech and hearing-impaired clients, and clients who were foreigners who could not speak any of the languages in Kenya. These challenges have a practical implication on the number of goods the traders sell, as the clients would go without buying the goods when there are any communication challenges. The study recommended that strategies be put in place that will enable the public to communicate better with the population in society, those who have both speech and hearing impairment.