Speech acts (requests & refusals)


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Speech acts (requests & refusals)

  1. 1. SPEECH ACTS Requests & Refusals By Luis Carlos Lasso Montenegro
  2. 2. REQUESTER She/he may hesitate to make requests for fear of exposing a need or out of fear of possibly making the recipient lose face RECIPIENT The recipient may feel that the request is an intrusion on his/her freedom of action. FACE-THREATENING - INTRUSIVE - DEMANDING Requests occur when the speaker infringes on the recipient’s freedom from imposition.
  3. 3. Refer to contextual preconditions necessary for its performance as conventionalized in the language. R: Could you clean up the bedroom, please? Marked explicitly as requests, such as imperatives. R: You’ll have to clean up the bedroom. Hints - Partially referring to the object depending on contextual clues R: Your bedroom is a total mess.
  4. 4. •Hearer-oriented (emphasis on the role of the hearer) Could you clean up the kitchen, please? • Speaker-oriented (emphasis on the speaker’s role) Do you think I could borrow your notes from yesterday’s class? Can I borrow your notes from yesterday? •Speaker- and hearer-oriented (inclusive strategy) So, could we tidy up the apartment soon? •Impersonal So it might not be a bad idea to get it cleaned up.
  5. 5. Refusals and rejections can mean disapproval of the interlocutor's idea and therefore, a threat to the interlocutor's face. Refusals tend to be indirect, include mitigation, and/or delay within the turn or across turns. The delay probably shows that the refuser has a good reason for refusing and may imply that would accept or agree instead.
  6. 6. • Statement of regret: I'm sorry.../I feel terrible... •Excuse, reason, explanation. • Statement of alternative: I'd rather.../I'd prefer... •Promise of future acceptance: I'll do it next time./I promise I'll.../Next time I'll... •Statement of principle: I never do business with friends •Avoidance: Nonverbal (Hesitation, physical departure, silence…) Verbal (Topic switch, joke, repetition of request,…) •Using performative verbs/Non performative statements I refuse to… I object to… I deny / I can´t… I won’t… I don‘t...
  7. 7. Refusals can be seen as a series of the following sequences: • Pre-refusal strategies: these strategies prepare the addressee for an upcoming refusal. • Main refusal (Head Act): this strategy expresses the main refusal. •Post-refusal strategies: these strategies follow the head act and tend to emphasize, justify, mitigate, or conclude the refusal response. Boss (Requester) I was wondering if you might be able to stay a bit late this evening, say, until about 9:00 p.m. or so. Employee (Refuser) Uh, I’d really like to But I can’t I’m Sorry I have plans I really can’t stay
  8. 8. Thanks for your attention!