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Indirectness and entitlement in product requests in British service encounters

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When formulating a request, customers select one particular type of formulation over a number of potential ones (can I have x, I’ll have x, give me x). This paper provides some new insights into the types of formulations selected by customers in British service encounters. The analysis is based on a corpus of approximately 22 hours of audio recording (33 interactions recorded at a butcher's). The paper focuses on product requests and examines the different types of format encountered for product requests in their various sequential contexts. The paper discusses how two research strands have approached requests: the indirectness paradigm on the one hand (Brown and Levinson, 1987) and the conversation analytic inspired paradigm on the other (Curl and Drew, 2008). The article argues in favour of an approach that combines both types of approaches, underlining their compatibility and complementarity. Drawing on Kerbrat-Orecchioni’s work (Kerbrat-Orecchioni, 2005; Kerbrat-Orecchioni 2010), it supports the idea that indirectness and face-work should not be excluded from the study of requests while embracing the need to take into account sequential organisation.



52 Psychology, 5204 Cognitive and Computational Psychology, 4704 Linguistics, 47 Language, Communication and Culture

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Journal of Pragmatics

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Elsevier BV