It's Not What You Sign, It's How You Sign It
Politeness in American Sign Language
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
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I am pleased to acknowledge the support and guidance of the many people who have made this research and the publication of this book possible. Numerous people have been instrumental in my work and have helped shape my understanding of cross-cultural communication and linguistic inquiry...
1. Politeness—It’s How You Say It
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People may not always remember the specifics of a conversation, but they do remember their overall impressions of the other person, as well as how well they felt the conversation proceeded. For example, they may recall whether or not they felt the other person was cooperative, and whether or not the other person was...
2. Exploring Linguistic Strategies
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An addressee may feel imposed upon when asked to do something. This is because inherent in a request is the implication that the addressee should be cooperative and should comply with the request. It can be difficult to say, “No,” unless the request truly seems unreasonable. At the same time, the person who is making the request...
3. Requests in ASL and English
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Human beings who are engaged in conversation not only convey content and relay goals (functions), they also negotiate the interaction (convey textual meaning) and usually strive to present themselves as socially competent communicators by employing politeness strategies as needed. Linguistic politeness is like a dance. Just as we prefer to...
4. Rejections in ASL and English
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Turning down a request can threaten a relationship and one’s involvement because the interlocutor may be seen as uncooperative. Of course, not all rejections have the same effect. If someone makes an outlandish request, you can usually feel confident saying no. There is usually little threat to face or to the relationship...
5. Two Nonmanual Modifiers That Mitigate Smaller Threats to Face
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ASL signers and English speakers employ a variety of linguistic strategies when making requests and rejections. Although many of these strategies overlap, there are some unique strategies that are used by each language group. One particular kind of linguistic expression is unique to signed languages such as ASL: nonmanual modifiers...
6. Three Nonmanual Modifiers That Mitigate More Severe Threats to Face
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Two nonmanual modifiers (NMMs)—the polite pucker (pp) and tight lips—that are associated with small to moderate threats to face are the most commonly used NMMs in the data collected in the discourse completion test (DCT). Three additional NMMs are used to mitigate more severe threats to face, and these markers can be ordered...
7. Language Fluency and Politeness
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Deaf persons are not always born to Deaf culture and ASL. In fact, only a small minority of deaf people are born to deaf parents. Although researchers commonly report that 5% to 10% of deaf people are born to deaf parents (e.g., Lane, Hoffmeister, & Bahan, 1996; Moores & Meadow-Orlans, 1990; Neidle, Kegl, MacLaughlin...
8. Why It Matters How You Say It
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All language users communicate at least four levels of meaning in any given utterance: content, function, textual meaning, and social meaning. In this study I investigated a particular area of social meaning in ASL and English: the linguistic expression of politeness. The data from the ASL and English versions of the discourse completion...
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Page Count: 238
Publication Year: 2007