Sociolinguistic Variation in Face-Threatening Speech Acts

Chastisement and Disagreement
  • Leslie M. Beebe
  • Tomoko Takahashi
Part of the Topics in Language and Linguistics book series (TLLI)


The cross-cultural study of speech acts is vital to the understanding of international communication. In reviewing this area of research, we realize that face-threatening acts are particularly important to study because they are the source of so many cross-cultural miscommunications. Research has been done on a number of face-threatening speech acts1—for example, on apologies (BlumKulka & Olshtain, 1984; Blum-Kulka, House, & Kasper, in press; Borkin & Reinhart, 1978; Cohen & Olshtain, 1981, 1985; Coulmas, 1981; Godard 1977; Olshtain, 1983; Olshtain & Cohen, 1983); requests (Blum-Kulka 1982; BlumKulka & Olshtain, 1984; Blum-Kulka, House, & Kasper, in press; Tanaka & Kawade, 1982); refusals (Beebe & Cummings, 1985; Beebe, Takahashi, & Uliss-Weltz, in press; Takahashi & Beebe, 1986, 1987); complaints (Bonikowska, 1985; Olshtain & Weinbach, 1986); disagreement (LoCastro, 1986; Pomerantz, 1984); expressions of disapproval (D’Amico-Reisner, 1983); and expressions of gratitude (Eisenstein & Bodman, 1986).1 The evidence provided in these studies suggests that second-language (L2) learners are faced with the great risk of offending their interlocutors or of miscommunication when performing face-threatening acts.


Language Acquisition Apply Linguistics American Response Nonnative Speaker Positive Remark 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie M. Beebe
    • 1
  • Tomoko Takahashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Languages and Literature, Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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