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ERIC Number: EJ938040
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Aug
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0167-8507
On the Pragmatics of Concessive Constructions in Italian and English Business Letter Discourse
Vergaro, Carla
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v27 n3 p255-283 Aug 2008
This paper presents an analysis of the pragmatic use of concessive constructions in business letter discourse. In linguistics concession has been analyzed primarily within concessive clauses which have been widely studied, either alone or compared with other syntactic categories such as adversative, causal or conditional clauses. The term "concessive" itself belongs to the terminology developed within traditional grammar to classify adverbials and adverbial clauses. Heretofore, less attention has been paid to the pragmatic use of concession, i.e. the way in which concessive constructions strategically function within a specific context. The context under analysis in this paper is that of the "business letter" genre. Just as different cultures structure discourse in different ways, recent research has shown that this also holds true for discourse genres traditionally considered as highly standardized in their rituals and formulas, written business communication being a case in point. Analysis of a corpus of Italian and English business letters shows that concessive constructions are used in this genre both for propositional (or ideational) and procedural (or interpersonal) reasons. This paper considers only the second to be truly pragmatic. Preference for the first or second strategy depends on the text types belonging to the genre. When procedural reasons prevail, concession is mostly introduced for politeness reasons. Finally, consistent with the rhetorical preferences of the texts in the two languages, some differences in the "polite" use of concession in Italian and English emerge.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A