The 40 sounds of USA English - beige fox story

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun May 20 01:16:03 UTC 2007

Here the 40 sounds of USA English in "The Quick Beige Fox" story.  Enter the
link below.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL4+
See  The 4 truespel books and "Occasional Poems" are at

>From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Subject: Re: Thanks
>Date: Sat, 19 May 2007 13:40:31 -0700
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>Subject:      Re: Thanks
>Interesting that a simple "please open the window" has begun to
>soundpositively rude.
>   The various paraphrases have the advantage of length, so they sound less
>brusque and more engaged with the topic and the addressee.
>   JL
>James Harbeck <jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA> wrote:
>   ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: James Harbeck
>Subject: Re: Thanks
> >Recently I have attended numerous ceremonial occasions (academic and
> >other) in which spreakers rise to express their gratitude to a
> >particular individual or group. Almost invariably, they stop short
> >of actually THANKING; rather, they declare that they "wish to thank"
> >or (even more obliquely) "would like to thank" the benefactor. What
> >is the stylistic purpose of mincing the matter thus? Why not just
> >say, "I thank . . ."?
>My guess is that they're simply retaining the conventional
>association of greater indirectness with greater politeness. It's
>thus a retention of a form for its usual effect even when the sense
>is in the opposite direction of the original reason for the form --
>it's probably plain enough that "open the window" is less polite than
>"could you open the window," and a step further in indirectness is "I
>would like you to open the window." But in the case you mention, the
>demand -- which making would put the demander in a possibly
>unacceptably higher status than the demandee -- is replaced with a
>status transaction in the other direction, where there is no
>status-related (or face-related) offence to the hearer to mitigate.
>And yet the indirectness is still seen as more polite.
>One might on the other side of the equation note that the indirect
>phrasing preserves the utterer's status more, in that it does not
>involve the actual literal status-costing act of thanking, but merely
>an expression of inclination to it, which acknowledges indebtedness
>but avoids the bare, on-record act.
>And then there is the issue of "more words = more formal," which is a
>rather simplistic way of putting it, but the indirectness of the
>locution does have its own greater cost to the utterer and can impart
>a greater sense of weight or moment to the utterance; formality is, I
>believe, usually (not always) associated with greater verbiage. In
>the economy of status interactions, "I thank you," being curter and
>taking less effort than "I would like to thank you," costs the
>utterer less and thus is less valuable.
>There's also the choice of words: "wish," for instance, is perceived
>as more formal than "want" (I have data on this from a study I did
>recently: two separate groups (n>100 each), rating either "We want to
>aggressively pursue this opportunity" or "We wish to aggressively
>purse this opportunity," rated the formality of the "want" verson as
>a mean of 3.49 out of 5, and of the "wish" version as a mean of 3.92
>out of 5. A Student's t-test gives significance at 0.001. These
>sentences were actually part of the distractor set from the study,
>but it's an interesting snippet). Which doesn't directly address why
>they would say either "wish" or "want" but, though I have no data for
>this, I suspect that "I wish to thank" is seen as more formal than "I
>thank" not only for the extra words but also by the influence of the
>specific extra word used.
>I'm betting that there are a few journal articles on just this topic,
>but I'm not sure I have the energy at this very moment to go
>searching for them. Someone with a better archive on the subject
>might be able to toss one in readily.
>James Harbeck.
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