Strategies and mitigation devices in the speech act of disagreement in American English
Keywords:The speech act of disagreement, Preference Dispreference, Politeness Face-threatening acts
The present study aimed at exploring the strategies of disagreement and hedging devices used by native speakers of English. The study elicited the informants’ reactions when disagreeing with higher, equal, and lower status. The responses were analyzed using Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness model and Hyland’s (1998) hedging taxonomy. Discourse completion test data was analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The findings revealed that native speakers of American English used positive politeness strategies considerably with higher and equal status interlocutors (father, teacher, and friends). The respondents were concerned with saving their interlocutors’ positive face regardless of their social distance and power. The only significant difference, in terms of strategy selection, was identified in highly face-threatening contexts (accusation), where the informants opted for bald on record politeness strategies because of the seriousness of the interlocutor’s (supervisor) claims (plagiarism). The data showed also that native speakers relied on hedges considerably to mitigate their disagreements.
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