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Strategies in the Performance of Directives: A Case Study of the Chinese Play - the Family

Autor:   •  July 18, 2011  •  Essay  •  402 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,380 Views

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I. Introduction

The speech act of Directives is a typical kind of speech act performed in the use of language. It is a face-threatening act in nature according to Searle’s description that they are attempts (of varying degrees) by the speaker to get the hearer to do something. Thus, often than not, a face-work is needed to initiate a relatively comfortable rhythm for conversation. In order to do the face-work, a certain strategies are necessary with the purpose of being polite to hearer(s) just as Searle (1979) said that in the performance of directives, politeness is the chief motivation for indirectness. On the other side of the coin, peripheral directives such as prohibitions, threats, advice and warnings are basic subclasses, in which strategies to strengthen the illocutionary force are adopted and should be studied thereafter. Talking about speech acts, we run into a problem of a rather general character, having to do with the way different languages deal with speech acts. As a result, a variety of languages have been examined thereafter, including Chinese. However, most of the researches in Chinese were done into the strategies used to issue requests, refusals, complaints, disagreements and compliments, etc with little attention to directives as one of the basic categories according to Searle’s classification.

This paper is intended to focus on the speech act of directives by making a case study of the Chinese play, the family, following the CCSARP model for the study of requests with a little bit change according to my data, due to its pre-event nature, with an attempt to describe the strategies adopted in the performance of directives, the strategy realization patterns and also modifications used to soften the imposition or strengthen it at times when the speech acts of orders, threats and the like are issued.

In part I, the paper will review the relevant studies on speech acts in general

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