LINGUIST List 8.583

Thu Apr 24 1997

Disc: Hedging expressions

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <seelylinguistlist.org>


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  1. F. K. L. Chit Hlaing, Re: 8.553, Sum: hedging expressions

Message 1: Re: 8.553, Sum: hedging expressions

Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 08:42:16 -0500
From: F. K. L. Chit Hlaing <f-lehmanuiuc.edu>
Subject: Re: 8.553, Sum: hedging expressions

I think something is missing in your summary of people's account of
these expressions. It seems to me, from a certain amount of research
as well as intuition, that hedges like these are commonly, if not
indeed invariably, meant to express that the speaker recognises and
acknowledges the violation of a norm, but wishes none the less to say
what he/she has to say in spite of that. The principle seems to be
that violation of a norm of politness or etiquette is at least
mitigated this way; more recisely still, that the worst violation is
the violation that remains unacknowledged -- acknowledgement
mitigating the violation on the grounds that it constitutes something
of an apology, at least showing that you are sufficiently decent to
know the difference and may, then, have some over riding excuse for
the violation.

F. K. L. Chit Hlaing
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