2020_13_02_17 - XLinguae

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Open access Issues > Isuue n_2_2020 > section n_2_2020
Positive evaluative speech acts from the perspective of sincerity criterion

Natalia Bigunova – Chen Shaoxiong – Ievgenii N. Stepanov

DOI: 10.18355/XL.2020.13.02.17

The purpose of the article is to analyse the positive evaluative speech acts from the perspective of sincerity criterion. The data has been collected from English literary fictional discourse and feature film discourse. The data includes 1400 literary discourse episodes and 700 film discourse episodes in which personages express positive evaluation of certain objects. According to the results of the research, sincerity should be regarded as a paradigm condition for the felicity of evaluative speech acts. The authors arrive at a conclusion that production of an evaluation speech act may be characterized by a certain gap between an evaluative cognitive judgement and an evaluative utterance. The absence of such a gap is declarative of a sincere speech act. If the gap transforms a negative evaluative judgement into a positive evaluative utterance, the evaluative speech act is considered insincere. The research has shown that a positive evaluative utterance can be caused by the etiquette requirements, by a direct demand on the part of the interlocutor, or by the speaker’s manipulative intentions, in which cases the speaker’s degree of sincerity can be questioned. Thus, sincerity of evaluative utterances has been defined as an oppositely structured continuum, within which evaluative utterances are located beginning with utterly sincere ones up to those utterly insincere. The utterances that are in non-final points of the scale are considered indefinite according to their degree of sincerity: the reader / viewer can interpret them as more or less sincere judging by the extralinguistic context.

Key words: evaluation, speech act, sincerity, approval, praise, compliment, flattery

Pages: 197 - 215

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