Context in Distinguishing between Overt and Actual Functions of Polite Speech Acts

Mojde Yaqubi, Wan Rose Eliza Abdul Rahman, Asieh Hadavandkhani


Previous mono-cultural and interlanguage pragmatic studies in Persian mainly focused on the ‘strategy types’ used in the structures of speech acts. However, the functions of these elements were discussed by few of them. Polite speech acts have been reported to be used with both genuine and ostensible meanings. Nevertheless, few sporadic studies were conducted to help distinguishing these two series of speech acts in Persian. In this study, attempt is made to highlight the importance of context in distinguishing between overt (direct) and actual (indirect) functions of four speech acts namely offer, invitation, apology and refusal collected from the soundtracks of Iranian films. In this study we propose that while the overt and actual functions of the genuine speech acts are the same, there is discrepancy in the case of ostensible speech acts. The results of this study highlight the importance of context in working out the meaning of Persian speech acts.

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