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Speech acts theory and politeness theory



Brown and Levinson have studied two potentially face-threatening acts, request and disagreement.
Positive face: wish to be approve
Negative face: wish that others don't impose on you.
When you perform a FTA, you can perform it:
off record: indirect --> This is delicious (you want more)
on record: direct but  with or without mitigation
                without mitigation: badly on record FIX IT
                with mitigation (positive or negative politeness): will you fix it ....?
Business people prefer direct speech (on record).
Positive politeness give simpathy, show interest in the hearer, claim common ground and seek agreement, you want to create closeness and intimacy.
Negative politeness: it's informal, you show deference, you minimize imposition (not dear).
Speech acts theory: a commissive speech act is an act which commit the speaker to some future action. There are different types of commissive speech acts: promises (initiated, they are a response to a preceding act) and offers (uninitiated, they occur spontaneously). These are direct.
Promises are realised through yes, no, certainly.
Offers are common in meetings and they can commit the speaker but also a group. We can have also the self-reminder offer (speaker offers to perform an action "I must remember do that).
There are also indirect commissive speech acts:
initiated --> commissive hints (not clear who is committed)
uninitiated --> suggestory hints. This is the most ambiguous (not clear who is committed but also unprompted).

Western: spontaneous offers.
Chinese: promises.

di Melissa Gattoni
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