Modifying requests as face-threatening speech acts

Trajkova, Zorica and Neshkovska, Silvana (2017) Modifying requests as face-threatening speech acts. IJET- Teacher, 14. pp. 24-33. ISSN 1857-8888

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Requests are face-threatening speech acts, so whenever speakers decide to make one, they
need to be aware of its illocutionary force and the effect it has on the hearers. In order to
lower the requests’ imposing force, speakers tend to modify them. Thus, they hope that
hearers will accept them without feeling threatened.
This paper aims to investigate the linguistic means used by speakers to modify their requests
both in English and Macedonian, in order to make them more acceptable for the hearers.
More precisely, it examines their internal modification with the use of syntactic downgraders
and lexical and phrasal upgraders, as well as the external modification with the use of
mitigating and aggravating supportive moves.
The corpus was collected by using a DCT (discourse-completion test). Three groups of
respondents were asked to make requests given some specific situations – Macedonian native
speakers (in Macedonian), English native speakers (in English) and learners of English (in
English). The research showed that all respondents use both types of modification, but the
internal modification seems to be more frequently used than the external. The use of the
external modification is optional and depends mostly on the speaker’s judgment of the
imposing force of the request based on social and cultural factors.
Key words: requests, internal modification, external modification, downgraders, upgraders

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Scientific Fields (Frascati) > Humanities > Languages and literature
Divisions: Faculty of Education
Depositing User: Prof. d-r Silvana Neskovska
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2020 10:31
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2020 10:31

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