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iS+D Foundation for Advanced Social Research


This paper examines the verbal mitigators present in requests uttered by twenty panhandlers on the New York City subway. The research questions were: (1) What types of external and internal verbal mitigators characterize panhandlers’ requests on the New York City subway? (2) Are there any requests without verbal mitigation? (3) What patterns do reasons given for the requests follow? (4) How do panhandlers use words to mitigate the threat to their own face that begging occasions? By observing norms for showing respect for one’s interlocutors, the panhandler creates an image of a self-respecting individual who believes that hearers also owe and in fact do accord him or her respect—regardless of whether or not the panhandler actually believes this or whether or not it is true. The overall picture that emerges is one of a speaker attempting to retain his or her dignity.

En este artículo se examinan los mitigadores verbales presentes en las peticiones de veinte mendigos en el metro de Nueva York. Las preguntas de investigación fueron: (1) ¿Qué tipos de mitigadores verbales externos e internos caracterizan las peticiones de los mendigos en el metro de Nueva York? (2) ¿Hay peticiones sin mitigación verbal? (3) ¿Qué patrones siguen las razones dadas por las peticiones? (4) ¿Cómo usan palabras los mendigos para mitigar la amenaza a su propia imagen que les acarrea el acto de mendigar? Acatando las normas para mostrar respeto a los interlocutores, el mendigo crea una imagen de un individuo que se respeta a sí mismo y que cree que sus oyentes también le deben y de hecho le conceden este respeto— independientemente de si realmente cree esto o no y de si es la verdad o no. El cuadro que emerge es el de un hablante que intenta conservar su dignidad.


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