Attenuation and courtesy in metaenunciative interventions in conversation
Filologia e Linguística Portuguesa
As conversation unfolds it is noticeable the recurrent mention by speakers to the act of linguistic formulation itself, either by commenting or evaluating their own speech or by negotiating the correct word with the interlocutor, either by explicating the labor in searching for the most adequate formulation or by qualifying the meaning of the choices being made. During this process, the speaker stops the ongoing content of the conversation and turns himself to a particular way of uttering this
... y of uttering this content. In other words, conversation unfolds instantiated by metaenunciation. Among the different manifestations of metaenunciation, one is highlighted by its interactive nature. By using this strategy, the speaker, explicit or implicitly, stages a dialog with his interlocutor about the convenience of what has been or will be uttered. In this sense, the speaker may apologize or ask for permission to use specific words or expressions, to approach specific topics, to allude to other topics, or even to justify discursive procedures. The speaker may even draw his interlocutor attention to what it will be conveyed, thus highlighting his own point of view. The analysis of this kind of metaenunciative activities, given its explicitly interactive nature, reveals that they are predominantly characterized as formulations marked by attenuation, configured, therefore, in acts of courtesy. The central aim of this paper is to identify and describe linguistic resources used in attenuation inherent to these metaenunciative interventions and therefore to provide evidence to the courtesy relations established among the participants in interaction.