Communicating likelihood and managing face: can we say it is probable when we know it to be certain?

Bonnefon, Jean-Francois and Villejoubert, Gaelle (2009) Communicating likelihood and managing face: can we say it is probable when we know it to be certain? In: CogSci 2005 XXVII Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society; 21 - 23 Jul 2005, Strea, Italy.

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Abstract

Different functions can be performed by probability phrases such as: �it is probable/possible/likely that x.� Mainly, speakers may communicate a vague judgment about the likelihood of event x, or they may wish the recipient to focus on reasons for the occurrence of event x. We argue that there is another communicative function which has yet to be documented, namely, the facemanagement function. Such function consists in mitigating threat to the addressee when x is a criticism or an imposition. Data show that the phrases �possibly� and �probably� are indeed understood differently (have different membership functions) depending on whether they modify neutral or face-threatening contents. We consider the potential misunderstandings and judgmental mistakes that may arise from ambiguity about which function of verbal uncertainty is being performed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Event Title: CogSci 2005 XXVII Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Additional Information: Published in proceedings available at http://csjarchive.cogsci.rpi.edu/Proceedings/2005/forms/contents.htm
Research Area: Psychology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Social Science (until November 2012)
Depositing User: Gaelle Vallee-Tourangeau
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2009 08:48
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2012 21:48
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/6311

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