Self-quotations and politeness: The construction of discourse events and its pragmatic implications

Miri Cohen-Achdut

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The article discusses self-quotations as a strategy of politeness. I maintain that self-quotations fulfill strategies of linguistic politeness, and that the fulfillment of these strategies must be understood through the discourse event standing in the background of the self-quotation. In the corpus - 13 Hebrew articles written by women in eastern Europe in the nineteenth century - 35 self-quotations were found. All of them are "fictional", i.e. they do not refer to an actual discourse event that occurred in the past. Nevertheless, the fictionality is not identical in all the cases examined, and it arises from the specific characteristics of each case. The examination of the construction of the other discourse event (past, future, or fictional) reveals that it strongly influences the quotation's pragmatic function, and specifically its "polite" character. The discourse event might be a speech or thought event; it might actually have occurred in the past or only be implied by a future tense or a conditional structure; or sometimes it may be openly declared as a discourse event that will not take place altogether. Self-quotations function as hedging devices, qualifying various aspects of the utterance - its illocutionary force, comprehensiveness, the degree of social authority it expresses, or the act of uttering itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-362
Number of pages22
JournalText and Talk
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • Hskalah
  • discourse event
  • politeness
  • pseudo-quotations
  • reported speech
  • self-quotations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-quotations and politeness: The construction of discourse events and its pragmatic implications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this