chapter  3
43 Pages

Soft and low: hedges and boosters as politeness devices

Example 1 Marie: What a great party. I really enjoyed it. Bob: Mm not bad at all. Marie: You seemed to get a bit plastered though didn't you?

In the last chapter we saw that being polite means being a considerate conversational partner, or a facilitative participant in more formal contexts. Being polite may also be a matter of choosing the right words. In this chapter I will discuss a number of linguistic forms which may be used as politeness devices, and look at the evidence that New Zealand women and men tend to use them differently.