This paper analyzes uses, functions, and literary distribution of the negative politeness formula si placet ‘(lit.) if it pleases (you)’ in a corpus of Late Latin texts (third–sixth century CE). Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative observations, it is suggested that the pragmatic enrichment undergone by this conditional parenthetical clause is due to a conspiracy of factors, namely a process of semantic and pragmatic change fostered by a “politeness-induced invited inference” (Beeching 2005), which was triggered by a general process of literary imitation within the very specific discourse tradition of philosophical dialogues. The analysis shows, indeed, that si placet is very rarely used in the history of Latin and it is circumscribed to this specific literary genre. This suggests that this politeness formula developed as a genre-specific stylistic feature and as such it was replicated over centuries through the circulation of textual models and the propagation of genre-related practices, as a valuable linguistic device to render the idea of an urbane conversation among educated peers and, ultimately, as a marker of socio-cultural identity.
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|Titolo:||The politeness formula si placet in Late Latin: on the role of pragmatic conventions in discourse traditions|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2020|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 - Articolo su rivista|