and listener addresser and addressee and that the immediate social situation

And listener addresser and addressee and that the

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and listener, addresser and addressee’’ and that the ‘‘immediate social situation and the broader social milieu wholly determine . . . the structure of an utterance.’’ To do so is to take a fi rst step toward closing the gap between cultural poetics and close verbal analysis. I turn now to a summary of the politeness model before testing its application on Henry VIII .   As I noted above, Brown and Levinson make the striking claim that most of the commonplace actions that people negotiate in words carry a considerable element of risk: these include not only speech acts usually considered threatening or damaging, such as insults, criticisms, admis- sions of guilt, commands, curses, or dares, but also speech acts generally regarded as positive, such as o ff ers, compliments, thanksgiving, and invitations. One piece of compelling evidence that such verbal negoti- ations are fraught with risk is the existence in all known languages of a complex and extensive repertory of verbal strategies apparently directed towards minimizing damage and managing risk. In the early  s, as speech acts theorists worked to classify the kinds of illocutionary acts performed in speaking and to understand the relation between the speech acts performed and their linguistic realizations, they began to call attention to the apparent overabundance of ways of, for example, making a request or issuing a ‘‘directive.’’ ‘‘Come with me’’ seems to deliver a simple, clear, and serviceable message. Why then do we say  Politeness and dramatic character
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instead ‘‘Would you like to come with me, dear?’’ or ‘‘Let’s go together’’ or ‘‘You wouldn’t like to come with me, would you?’’ or ‘‘Your mother can manage on her own for a few minutes’’? According to Brown and Levinson, ‘‘the abundance of syntactic and lexical apparatus in a gram- mar seems undermotivated by either systemic or cognitive distinctions and psychological processing factors’’; they argue that the motivation is ‘‘social, and includes . . . face-risk minimization.’’ In de fi ning what is at risk in conversation, they adapt Erving Go ff man’s concept of ‘‘face,’’ or publicly projected self-image. They propose that the overabundance of linguistic apparatus for speech acts begins to make sense if participants in speech exchanges are conceived as having a reciprocal or mutual interest in maintaining face. Furthermore, they distinguish positive and negative face: positive face is the ‘‘positive consistent self-image or ‘personality’ (crucially including the desire that this self-image be ap- preciated and approved of ) claimed by interactants’’; negative face is ‘‘the basic claim to territories, personal preserves, rights to non-distrac- tion – i.e. to freedom of action and freedom from imposition.’’ Some acts (these include both verbal and non-verbal acts associated with social
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