Face Threatening Acts

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It is obviously almost impossible to satisfy all face wants of either the speaker or addressee, either negative or positive. Conversation in a way always tends to cause damage to one or the others face. Speech acts that threaten either the speaker’s or addressee’s face wants are therefore called face threatening acts (FTA).

There is possibly a wide range between not doing the face threat (avoiding offense completely) and doing it by so called going on record which refers to a FTA that is done without any kind of politeness strategies at all. In between you might chose of different ways to redress or mitigate the FTA.

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Again this choice also depends on the three factors of politeness strategies mentioned in the section before. The following scale demonstrates this dependence.

Meyerhoff, M. (2006). Introducing Sociolinguistics. London and New York: Routledge, p. 91.

Categories: Glossary