Thank you, Sorry and Please in Cypriot Greek: What happens to politeness markers when they are borrowed across languages?

Marina Terkourafi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article investigates the semantic/interactional import of three expressions, 'thank you', 'sorry,' and 'please,' when these are borrowed from English into other languages. Focusing on spoken corpus data from Cypriot Greek, it is proposed that, once borrowed into the recipient language, these terms lose much of their speech-act potential, functioning primarily to signpost locally relevant dimensions of variation, such as discourse-, gender-, class-, or ethnicity-based variation. In this way, they do not supplant native (inherited) terms for expressing the speech acts of thanking, apologizing and requesting, respectively, but rather function complementarily with them to verbalize a more shaded range of these behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-235
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Keywords

  • Cypriot Greek
  • Discourse marker
  • Face
  • Politeness marker
  • Semantic bleaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence

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