International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 13 Issue 1 (June 2003), Pages 1-157

Solicitudes in American English (pages 78-95)

Using a corpus of about 300 ethnographically collected tokens, this article discusses the form and function of the speech act ‘solicitude’, the act of speaking aloud a wish for something good for the addressee, in American English. Non‐conventionalized solicitudes are extremely formulaic, making overwhelming use of imperative form, although without clear directive force. The single most common formula is the (you) have a+ Adj + NP formula, as in (You) Have a good day. Analysis of the adjectives and noun phrases used in this formula shows that solicitudes tend to convey only temporary good wishes to the addressee. Such strongly formulaic solicitudes, however, are more likely to be given by speakers who are socially distant from the addressee, while socially closer speakers seem to make use of less frequently used formulae to create more individualized utterances.

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