Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 09:43:06 -0500 From: Tom Creswell Subject: Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't Allan, Thank you for taking a professional stance and trying to make clear to the many who have expressed outrage at what they presume to be the motivation and "meaning" of ritual greetings that such phatic utterances express only non-hostile acknowledgement of the existence/presence of theperson to whom they are addressed. Tom Creswell -----Original Message----- From: Allan Metcalf To: ADS-L[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UGA.CC.UGA.EDU Date: Thursday, October 23, 1997 12:11 PM Subject: Damned if you do, damned if you don't >If a linguist doing fieldwork in another language were to express anger at >the ritual greetings used in that language, we would be shocked at such >unprofessional behavior. And at such ignorance of the functions of various >speech acts. We know that every utterance is not meant to convey a literal >meaning. > >Yet when the linguists on this list encounter ritual greetings in our own >language - they get furious. Either they are furious because others use >ritual greetings, or they are furious because others don't. > >So in present-day American English, perhaps the function of ritual greetings >is to mutually antagonize the interlocutors. > >- Allan Metcalf >