Date: Sat, 21 Mar 1998 17:34:51 +0100
Subject: indirect speech acts

Dear linguists,
A friend of mine is about to finish her MA thesis on politeness in Indirect
Speech Acts (ISA). However, she's still having problems with the definition
of ISA that would solve some problematic cases which she encountered in the
course of gathering the language corpus (using a questionnaire):
[said by a boss to a subordinate asking him to leave the office].
a) Would you mind if I got back to XXXX.
b) Right, you can go now, thanks.
c) Thanks for dropping in. Can we talk later?
[you want to ask a few youngsters for permission to open the window on a
a) It wouldn't bother you if I open the window, would it?
b) Excuse me, it's very hot in here. It will be cooler if I open the window.
She is not also sure about the possible indirectness of the following
schematic construction that for sure conveys politeness, but is it really
indirect since it's so often used in its direct sense?
[the situation remains the same as before but we refer to an old lady]
a) Excuse me, would you mind if I opened the window?
[ask a stranger to help you to put a heavy box into the car's trunk]
a) Excuse me, could you give me a hand with this?
Thanks in advance for any comments or remarks. All of them will be very
helpful since we are not native speakers of English.
tafn mike
Mike FOX-ecki mlisecki[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or mlisecki[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]
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