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Share Paper 1087

Indirectness and Politeness in Mexican Requests
J. César Félix-Brasdefer
66-78 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This study examines the notions of indirectness and politeness as applied to the speech act of requests among native speakers of Mexican Spanish in three politeness systems (hierarchical, deference, solidarity [Scollon & Scollon, 2001]) and in five role-play situations. Request strategies are analyzed as head acts and external modifications, and are examined across the request interaction. The data were analyzed using a repeated-measures ANOVA and paired-samples t-tests. It was found that conventional indirectness was the most common means of requesting in situations which displayed +Power or +Distance, whereas directness was more common as the relationship between the interlocutors was closer (-Distance). Internal modifications to the request are also examined. External modifications to the request are analyzed as pre-sequences (precursors, preparators), indirect strategies which negotiate face (reasons, alternatives), and post-sequences (positive politeness strategies). The notions of indirectness and politeness are examined in light of Brown and Levinson's (1987) and Leech's (1983) politeness models and are discussed in relation to the findings of the study.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 7th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by David Eddington
Table of contents
Printed edition: $230.00