Gender, Politeness and Pragmatic Particles in French

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This study aims to investigate politeness in women’s and men’s speech, with a particular focus on the use of <i>c’est-à-dire, enfin, hein </i>and <i>quoi </i>in contemporary spoken French<i>. </i>Politeness is defined as going beyond the notion of the face-threatening act, englobing both everyday ideas of politeness and the creation of sociability in face-to-face interaction.<br />The pragmatic particles studied are demonstrated to serve both psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic purposes: they lubricate reformulation and contribute to both sociability and social indexation.<br />The study, which combines qualitative and quantitative analysis, is based on a corpus of spontaneous spoken French, comprising 155,000 words, 95 interviews and subjects ranging in age from 7 to 88 years. The sample contains speakers from a broader range of educational backgrounds than is often the case: a butcher, a video-salesman and a <i>toiletteur canin</i> rub shoulders with counter assistants, teachers and doctors.

Subjects: Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics and Dialectology; Discourse studies; Romance linguistics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of the West of England

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