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Routine politeness in American and British English requests: use and non-use of please

Murphy, ML; De Felice, R; (2019) Routine politeness in American and British English requests: use and non-use of please. Journal of Politeness Research: Language, Behavior, Culture , 15 (1) pp. 77-100. 10.1515/pr-2016-0027. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper looks at the use and non-use of please in American and British English requests. The analysis is based on request data from two comparable workplace email corpora, which have been pragmatically annotated to enable retrieval of all request speech acts regardless of formulation. 675 requests are extracted from each of the two corpora; the behaviour of please is analyzed with regard to factors such as imposition level, sentence mood, and modal verb type. Differences in use of please between the two varieties of English can be accounted for by viewing this as a marker of conventional politeness rather than face-threat mitigation in British English and as a marker of relationship asymmetry in American English.

Type: Article
Title: Routine politeness in American and British English requests: use and non-use of please
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1515/pr-2016-0027
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2016-0027
Language: English
Additional information: This is the published version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: politeness strategies; requests; pragmatic variation; English; please
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of English Lang and Literature
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1537608
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