Dissertation > Language, writing > Chinese > Semantics,vocabulary, word meaning ( exegesis )

On the Pragmatic Study of Ostensible Invitation in Chinese

Author LuYing
Tutor RanYongPing
School Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords ostensible speech acts ostensible invitation the Adaptation Theory
Type Master's thesis
Year 2008
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Traditionally, researchers have focused themselves on the ideal, flawless use of language. However, the non-serious use of language does commonly exist in our life and is essential in ensuring successful communication. As one type of ostensible speech acts, ostensible invitation plays a unique role in social life owing to its indispensable interpersonal functions as politeness devices, such as improving interpersonal relationship, etc. Therefore, systematic studies of ostensible invitation can not only enrich the study of this subject, but also provide hints for better communication and social harmony.The present study mainly aims to present a detailed analysis of ostensible invitation in Chinese under the conceptual framework of Verschueren’s Adaptation Theory (2000) through investigating three aspects: the types of strategies for ostensible invitation, the pragmatic functions of ostensible invitations and the reasons for people to extend ostensible invitation.Through the analysis of a collection of spontaneous examples, the properties for distinguishing ostensible invitations from genuine invitations in Chinese are identified. Moreover, the seven strategies employed by the inviter to indicate his ostensible intentions are classified and analyzed with examples.From the analysis of the data, we find that: the use of ostensible invitation is a process of continuously choice-making with high consciousness. The design of ostensible invitation is actually the inviter’s making adaptation to various contextual correlates, including psychological motivations, cultural constraints and social conventions. The conceptual framework of this study, the adaptation theory, has not only revealed the reasons for people to extend ostensible invitation, but also to what they adapt to.As a natural consequence, linguistic choices of ostensible invitation are made, and different interpersonal functions of ostensible invitation are realized in the process of making adaptation to no matter what kind of contextual correlates. These functions are further categorized into phatic functions and instrumental functions. For most of the cases, the functions of ostensible invitations are phatic.The present study is investigated from the perspective of the addresser. Further studies can take the perspective of the addressee as a complementary part to better understand the interaction from both sides. The findings of this study have profound theoretical and practical meanings on relative topics.

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