The Language of Disengagement: A Face-Management Perspective

  • Sandra Metts


The language of disengagement says a great deal about the couple using it. The content of accusations, complaints, pleadings, justifications, and confessions reflect the unique relationship experiences of the partners who speak them. This does not mean, however, that the language of disengagement is without pattern. Because messages must conform to cultural, social, and linguistic constraints, commonality in their structure and function can be discerned across breakups. Moreover, variations in pattern are systematic and can be traced to the influence of antecedent and concomitant variables. In short, the messages that people produce during the very personal moments of their disengagement are amenable to investigation as sociological phenomena.


Face Theory Face Work Negative Face Positive Tone Positive Face 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1992

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  • Sandra Metts

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