The language of hospitality: crossing the threshold between speech act and linguistic form

Schreurs, L., 2019, [Groningen]: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. 187 p.

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)Academic

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In order to address this dissertation’s overarching question of what hospitality is, we study hospitality from a pragmalinguistic perspective. We specifically focus on the issue of the gap between the pragmatic message of an utterance that is expressed by means of speech acts and the linguistic forms involved to construct these acts. In this regard, we are particularly interested in the contribution of certain linguistic forms in Spanish, such as modes of address and verb moods, to the pragmatic message conveyed in hospitality situations. In daily life, speakers say ‘Come in’ and ‘Have a seat’ in an attempt to be hospitable. Clearly, nobody feels surprised or offended, although the verb mood used is the imperative – a mood that is traditionally related to giving orders, a rather hostile act. If it is true that words can be both welcoming and inhospitable, words are not ‘just words’. A variety of data sources is analyzed to tap into a wide spectrum of linguistic forms that are related to hospitality. Our findings suggest that hospitality is a strategy that aims to give the interlocutor the feeling of being the beneficiary. Acting as the catalyst between speech act, linguistic form, and the intended communicative message, it explains how it is possible that, in daily life, utterances constructed in imperative mood may be interpreted as hospitable and not as offensive.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
Award date9-Dec-2019
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Print ISBNs978-94-6375-496-5
Electronic ISBNs978-94-6375-646-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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