Pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic patterns of requestive acts in English and Italian : Insights from film conversation

Napoli, Vittorio and Tantucci, Vittorio (2022) Pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic patterns of requestive acts in English and Italian : Insights from film conversation. Journal of Pragmatics, 202. pp. 48-62. ISSN 0378-2166

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This cross-cultural pragmatic study is centred on whether (in)directness (e.g. Leech, 2014) and social distance (cf. Brown and Levinson, 1987) have an effect on illocutionary modification of requestive speech acts. The latter effect has been addressed by accounting for a large-scale tendency towards the overt employment of intensifiers or mitigators, occurring as an intersubjectified surplus of meaning (Tantucci, 2021). The context of our enquiry is requestive behaviour in dialogic filmic interaction, as it bears acknowledged similarities with spontaneous interaction (Rose, 2001; Baños Piñero and Chaume, 2009). After collecting and annotating data from the Pavia Corpus of Film Dialogue (Pavesi et al., 2014), we designed a multifactorial corpus-based study and compared the requestive behaviour in English vs Italian interaction. We fitted a multinomial logistic regression model which showed that social distance and (in)directness significantly affect the use of mitigating vs intensifying strategies. We also discovered that such correlations seem to be relatively stable across the two languages: mitigation is normally used with high social distance and when requests are made indirectly. However, Italian is somewhat distinctive in the way intensifying modifiers are used among socially close interactants. We suggest that corpus-based analysis of modification strategies may also be extended to non-scripted speech. Such a research agenda would decisively contribute to advancing usage-based approaches to cross-cultural (im)politeness, as most of the methods deployed in this area to date are still confined to elicited and conjured up speech.

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Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Pragmatics
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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Pragmatics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Pragmatics, 202, 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2022.10.012
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?? impolitenesspragmaticscorpus linguisticsfilm interactioncross-cultural pragmaticsitalianenglishnolinguistics and languageartificial intelligencelanguage and linguistics ??
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19 Dec 2022 12:20
Last Modified:
01 Feb 2024 00:43