A closer look at refusers’ counters: Benefactive changes, design constraints, and interpersonal implications

Reichl, Ibi ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8115-7469 (2024) A closer look at refusers’ counters: Benefactive changes, design constraints, and interpersonal implications. Journal of Pragmatics, 220. pp. 20-32. ISSN 0378-2166

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This paper examines an understudied way of refusing: counters, i.e. utterances which do not only block one course of action but put forward an alternative. An interactional approach to pragmatic meaning was taken to examine the content, design, and interpersonal implications of counters in (semi-)informal future-action negotiations. Regarding their content, it was found that counters can retain the distribution of cost/benefit of initial proffers (neutral), change them to the refuser's benefit (egoistic), or change them to the profferer's benefit (altruistic). Regarding their design, it was found that counters can be formatted as either interpersonally delicate or non-delicate actions – irrespective of their content. This suggests that specific benefactive chances are not intrinsically associated with specific interpersonal effects, e.g. egoistic and altruistic counters do not necessarily indicate interpersonal trouble or guarantee harmony, respectively. Rather, it is the design which has particular interpersonal implications, with counters formatted as non-delicate actions being hearable as problematising and/or treated as problematic. It is furthermore argued that counters are more constrained in terms of design than initial proffers – which may be formatted as non-delicate without negative interpersonal implications – and that this constraint results from their sequential position and the prior speaker's right to make a proffer.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This research is partially based on my doctoral project, which was funded by the University of Kent's Vice Chancellors Fellowship. I want to thank my PhD examiners Derek Bousfield and Jim O'Driscoll, two anonymous reviewers, as well as attendees of the 17th International Pragmatics Conference in Winterthur (2021) for their insightful comments. Thank you also to the ICE-Ireland project for making the SPICE-Ireland corpus available. Publisher Copyright: © 2023 Elsevier B.V.
Uncontrolled Keywords: benefactives,conflict,interpersonal,obligations,refusals,rights,language and linguistics,linguistics and language,artificial intelligence ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1203
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2024 18:25
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:25
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/94441
DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2023.11.011

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