Politeness, Relevance and Scalar Inferences

   (Image from inspirehep.net)

This work, mazzarella-2015_finaldraft.pdf, may be of interest to those working on Politeness in their research. The paper illustrates that face-threats may not be directly perceived.

The paper argues that “the experimental evidence provided so far is compatible with two alternative explanations of the empirical data: (i) face-threatening contexts block the derivation of scalar inferences, or (ii) in face-threatening contexts, the scalar inference is in fact derived
as part of the intended interpretation but is less likely to be accepted (as true)”.

Furthermore, “in line with (ii), Relevance Theory predicts that in face threatening contexts the scalar inference Not all X-ed may be derived as part of the interpretation of the utterance but consideration of the communicator’s ‘preferences’ (e.g. her concern to be polite/kind) may lead the hearer to judge the scalar inference to be probably false and so to reject it.”

 

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