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Politeness in requests in Italian language: the perception of Brazilians and Italians

Grant number: 13/07877-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2013
Effective date (End): December 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal Investigator:Elisabetta Antonietta Rita Maria Carmela Santoro
Grantee:Mayara da Silva Neto
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


At universities or schools where Italian language is taught, informally, a lot is said on the linguistic behavior and, more specifically, on the politeness found in the speech acts of native speakers of Italian in opposition to that found in the speech acts of Brazilians. Such comments lead us to think more about the self-image that Italians project to other people, about the way they are as individuals of a specific country and also about their way of relating to others. Resorting to the studies of Pragmatics to achieve a better understanding on the Brazilian students' perception of politeness in the speeches produced by Italians may represent an initiative which is able to help describing how the processes above mentioned actually work, as well as avoiding any communication problems. Furthermore, instigating Italians to evaluate politeness in the speech of their compatriots may lead them to reflect on their own linguistic behavior and offer a chance of avoiding misunderstandings. To accomplish such task, the same corpus of requests made in Italian language - with both high and low degrees of imposition, composed by video and audio recordings of native speakers - will be showed to four different groups of informers: 1. Brazilian students of Italian language at the first levels of study, 2. Brazilian students at advanced levels, 3. Italians that live in Italy and 4. Italians that live in Brazil. By the end of this stage, it will be possible to compile, analyze and compare the perceptions described by the Brazilian informers, in order to identify if there will be disparities or similarities in comparison to the perceptions of Italians, and find out their motivations. (AU)

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