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Equivocal invitations (in English)

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journal contribution
posted on 28.07.2017 by Paul Drew
Examining a corpus of invitations made in telephone calls, in English (US and UK), there is evidently some variation in the design of turns in which the invitations are made, in their lexico-grammatical format. The variations in the forms through which these invitations are delivered are associated, broadly speaking, with two intersecting contingencies; the sequential and interactional circumstances (environment) in which the invitation is being made, and the kind of occasion that is represented in the invitation. The ways in which the design form(at) of an invitation is shaped by its interactional environment and represents a particular ‘kind of occasion’ is explored here. However, there is something further which, across the variations in their specific lexico-grammatical design, these designs tend to have in common – that is, that they are variations of equivocal forms of invitation (in contrast to grammatically ‘assertive’ forms); that is there is an uncertainty, a tentativeness in asking, amounting to a kind of cautiousness. This paper reports these equivocal forms through which invitations are most commonly made.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Journal of Pragmatics


DREW, P., 2018. Equivocal invitations (in English). Journal of Pragmatics, 125, pp. 62-75.


© Crown copyright. Published by Elsevier


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Pragmatics and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2017.07.005