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Observing speech acts
in hospitality situations.
The role of the linguistic form
Leanne Schreurs
12th International Columbia School Conference on the Interaction of
Linguistic Form and Meaning with Human Behavior
Columbia University
February 14-16, 2015
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“What is hospitality?”
• Saxion Hospitality Business School (the Netherlands):

Hotel & Tourism Management.
• Methods of data collection and analysis need to be broadened
(cf. Lashley & Morrison 2000; Robinson & Lynch 2007).

The lack of linguistic research on how experiences of hospitality are
shaped is unfortunate, as the experience of hospitality relies heavily
on verbal social interactions (Robinson & Lynch 2007).
• An analysis of the linguistic forms related to hospitality.
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Qualitative analysis of a hospitality situation
(1)
—¡Ah de la casa! —grita en cuanto arrima.
—Buenos días, señor Don José María —contesta Don Rufo saliendo al corredor,
muy hospitalario y atento—. ¿Por qué no se desmonta y se cuela?
—Con mucho gusto, si lo permite el amigo.
‘—Hi there! —he screams, while arriving [at the house].
—Good morning, Mr Sir José María —answers Sir Rufo while coming to the
corridor, very hospitable and polite—. Why don’t you get off [the horse]
and come in?
—With pleasure, if my friend allows me to do so.’ (Carrasquilla 1974 [1928]: 158)
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Speech acts and linguistic forms
• Speech acts (Searle 1969):
1. To greet → Buenos días, señor Don José María. ‘Good morning, Mr Sir José
María.’
 Greeting, wishing the other person a good day;
 Formal address terms;
 Double proper name.
2. To invite → ¿Por qué no se desmonta y se cuela? ‘Why don’t you get off
[the horse] and come in?’
 Interrogative sentence;
 Negation;
 Verb conjugations in 3rd person singular;
 Indicative mood.
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Invitation speech acts: the imperative
• Two linguistic structures to indicate invitations:
1. Imperative, in two forms:
a. informal, 2nd person singular/plural, indicative mood, e.g., pasa ‘come in’
b. formal, 3rd person singular/plural, subjunctive mood, e.g., pase (usted)
‘please come in’
• Imperative forms may also convey commands or requests.
• The imperative as an invitation: repetition of the verb form, e.g., fuma, fuma ‘of course
you may smoke’ (Matte Bon 1995 [1992]: 94).
• The degree of formality is not necessarily related to a certain degree of hospitality,
but it seems that the formal construction has a higher connotation with hospitality than
the informal one.
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Invitation speech acts: question + negation
2. Question as a proposal:
a. negation
b. indicative mood
• Invitational structure to propose an activity to the interlocutor (Matte
Bon 1995 [1992]: 319).
• The hospitality situation indicates that:
 hospitality may be related to different linguistic systems interacting
with the context;
 greetings and invitations are speech acts that may be characteristic
to hospitality situations;
 the linguistic forms that may intervene in polite hospitality
situations possibly are formal address terms, verb mood and
interrogative structures with a negation.
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Quantitative analysis
• Distribution analysis of scene types and linguistic forms

to observe general tendencies
• Results restricted to La Marquesa de Yolombó (The Marchioness of Yolombó;
Carrasquilla 1974 [1928])

they cannot be generalized to hospitality situations

they serve to elaborate upon the hypothesis that linguistic forms may
function as hints (Diver 1975) to hospitality.
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Quantitative analysis: relationships and situations
Relatives
conjugal partners
grandparent <>
grandchild
parent <> child
parent in law <> child in
law
parents in law
siblings
siblings in law
parent's sibling <>
sibling's biological
offspring
Non-relatives
acquaintances
boss <> servant
employer <>
employee
friends
godparent <>
godchild
godparents
inhabitants
mayor <> inhabitant
neighbours
strangers
Table 1. Types of social relationships
Conflictive
Non-conflictive
discussions
encounters
quarrels
pleasant
conversations
Table 2. Types of situations
Linguistic forms:

forms of address

verb mood
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Proposition 1
Given the expectation that hospitality situations are more likely to occur among non-relatives than
among relatives, it can also be expected that conflictive situations are more likely to occur among
relatives than among non-relatives.
(2)
—¡Déjate de pendejadas, que ya no eres ninguna niña de teta! Pero, si no lo entiendes, oye:
[…] aquí no debo traer más mujer que la legítima; y yo no puedo dormir solo porque me da
mucho frío.
—¿Asina es la cosa, su Merced? Pues, entonces no se ponga a esperar un mes: cuando el
palomito arrastra el ala, hay que buscarle su palomita, porque persigue las gallinas.
—¡Perra irrespetuosa! ¡Te vas de aquí agora mesmo!
‘—Don’t be silly, you’re not a little child anymore! But, if you don’t understand,
listen: […] I should not bring here any other woman than the legitimate one; and I
can’t sleep alone because I get cold.
—That’s how it is, your Mercy? So, then don’t wait a month: when the pigeon drags
his wings, one must look for his mate, because otherwise he’ll chase other hens.
—Disrespectful brat! Leave immediately!’ (C. 1974 [1928]: 166-167)
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Prop.1: relationships in relation to situations
X2: 356,8 p<0,001
Relatives
Non-relatives
Total
Conflict situations
Non-conflict
situations
Total
354
466
820
77%
28%
39%
108
1187
1295
23%
72%
61%
462
1653
2115
100%
100%
100%
Table 3. Distribution of social relationships across situations
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Proposition 2
T
Tú
73
Vos
12
V
Usted
137
Usía
11
Su merced
140
Vuestra excelencia
Total N
1
85
289
Table 4. Classification of the forms of address
 The expectation is that V-forms are more likely to occur in hospitality situations, and therefore
among non-relatives, then with relatives, who will show a relative preference for T-forms.
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Prop.2: forms of address in relation to relationships
X2: 5,6 p<0,05
V
T
Total
Relatives
Non-relatives
Total
118
171
289
72%
82%
77%
47
38
85
28%
18%
23%
165
209
374
100%
100%
100%
Table 5. Distribution of forms of address across relationships
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Proposition 3
If V-forms are related to hospitality situations and these situations are likely to occur in non-conflictive
situations, we expect to see a relative preference of V-forms in non-conflictive situations, as opposed to
T-forms for conflictive situations.
(3)
—¿Qué es lo que dice, Naciancena? —estalla Doña Antonina—. Hágame el favor de repetir,
porque no le entiendo.
—¡Eh, Antoninita! ¡Se viene a hacer de las nuevas, usted, que no les tapa nada! […]
—¡La materia corrompida la tendrés vos y toda tu ralea, zamba atrevida y lengüilarga!
‘—What are you (V) saying, Naciancena? —Mrs Antonina bursts out —. Please, do (V)
me the favor of repeating, because I don’t understand you (V).
—Hey, Antoninita! You’re (V) of the new kind, you (V) don’t cover up anything from
them! […]
—You (T) and all your (T) kind of people are the corrupted dirty ones, insolent
gossip half-breed!’ (C. 1974 [1928]: 379)
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Prop.3: forms of address in relation to situations
X2: 11,7
p<0,001
V
T
Total
Conflict
situations
Non-conflict
situations
Total
65
224
289
65%
82%
77%
35
50
85
35%
18%
23%
100
274
374
100%
100%
100%
Table 6. Distribution of forms of address across situations
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Proposition 4
If hospitality is more related to non-relatives, and the subjunctive mood indicates the relevance of an
alternative (De Jonge 2004, Dreer 2007), we should observe a relative preference for the use of
subjunctive by non-relatives and indicative by relatives.
(4)
—Algo semejante me pasa con su sobrino. Conózcalo o no, voy a contar todas sus fechorías y
las de su abuelo Moreno. Ya él me dio permiso.
—¡Valiente gracia! Hasta premio le da. Pero vea una cosa, Orellana: yo me atrevo a suplicarle
que cuente los milagros sin nombrar los santos.
—Con mucho gusto, Marquesa. Basta con que usted me lo recomiende.
‘—Something similar happens to me with regard to your nephew. It doesn’t matter if
you know him or not, I’m going to tell all his misdeeds and that of his grandfather
Moreno. He already gave me permission.
—How funny! He will even reward you for that with a price. But please see (S),
Orellana: I dare to beg you to tell (S) the miracles without revealing the names of the
saints.
—With pleasure, Marchioness. It is enough that you recommend (S) me to do so.’
(C. 1974 [1928]: 526-527)
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Prop.4: verb mood in relation to relationships
X2: 7,7 p<0,01
Indicative
Subjunctive
Total
Relatives
Non-relatives
Total
435
548
983
70%
63,5%
66%
183
315
498
30%
36,5%
34%
618
863
1481
100%
100%
100%
Table 7. Distribution of verb mood across social relationships
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Proposition 5
The expectation is that there is a preference for the subjunctive mood in non-conflict situations, since
both would be the place for hospitality situations to occur.
X2: 0,9
p<0,4
Indicative mood
Subjunctive mood
Total
Conflict situations
Non-conflict
situations
Total
223
760
983
64%
67%
66%
124
374
498
36%
33%
34%
347
1134
1481
100%
100%
100%
Table 8. Distribution of verb mood across situations
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Conclusion
•
Preliminary results of the analysis of linguistic forms in relation to hospitality.

Qualitative analysis: address terms, verb mood and interrogative structures with a negation are
linguistic forms that may intervene in hospitality situations.

Quantitative analysis: hospitality situations are most commonly associated with non-relatives
and non-conflict situations; non-relatives and non-conflict situations have a preference for Vforms over T-forms; non-relatives show a relative preference for the subjunctive mood; nonconflict situations do not show a preference for the subjunctive mood.
•
Linguistic forms
1.
forms of address
2.
verb mood
‼ work-in-progress
•
3.
questions
4.
negation
Suggestions for other variables and for the experiment?
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References
Brown, Roger and Albert Gilman. 1960. “The Pronouns of Power and Solidarity.” In: Sebeok, Thomas A. (ed.). Style in
Language. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press: 253-276.
Carrasquilla, Tomás. 1974 [1928]. La Marquesa de Yolombó, edited by Kurt L. Levy. Bogotá: Instituto Caro y Cuervo.
De Jonge, Bob. 2004. “The Relevance of Relevance in Linguistic Analysis: The Case of Spanish Subjunctive Mood.” In:
Contini-Morava, Ellen, Robert S. Kirsner, and Betsy Rodríguez Bachiller (eds.). Cognitive and Communicative
Approaches to Linguistic Analysis. Amsterdam, John Benjamins: 205-218.
Diver, William. 1975. “Introduction.” In: CUWPL 2, pp. 1-20.
Dreer, Igor. 2007. Expressing the same by the different: The Subjunctive vs the Indicative in French. Amsterdam: John
Benjamins.
Lashley, Conrad, Paul Lynch, and Alison J. Morrison. 2007. Hospitality: A Social Lens. Amsterdam; Oxford: Elsevier.
Matte Bon, Francisco and Iñigo Sánchez Paños. 1995 [1992]. Gramática Comunicativa del Español ; T. 1: De la Lengua a la
Idea. - T. 2: De la Idea a la Lengua. Madrid: Edelsa.
Robinson, Martha G. and Paul A. Lynch. 2007. “Hospitality through Poetry: Control, Fake Solidarity, and Breakdown.”
International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research 1 (3): 237-246.
Searle, John R. 1969. Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Frequencies
Form of address
V
N
289
%
77
T
85
23
Total
374
100
Tabel 1. Frequency of Forms of address
Speech
situations
Conflict
situation
Non-conflict
situation
Total
Verb mood
Indicative
N
782
%
61
Subjunctive
498
39
Total
1280
100
Tabel 2. Frequency of Verb mood
78
Social
relationships
Relatives
Non-relatives
N
820
1298
%
39
61
100
Total
2118
100
N
462
%
22
1653
2115
Tabel 3. Frequency of Speech situations
Tabel 4. Frequency of Social relationships
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Linguistic forms