Modal tags request information or confirmation of information of which the speaker is uncertain (speaker oriented)
(4) a. You were missing last week, weren't you?
b. But you've been in
Affective tags are used to indicate concern for the addressee
Negative politeness: softeners:
(5) Open the door for me, could you?
Positive politeness: positive interest, solidarity, facilitative
(6) a. His portraits are quite static by comparison, aren't they?
b. Quite a nice room to sit in actually, isn't it?
Facilitative tags have an interactional function
2 types of politeness
What is politeness? A brief summary of Brown & Levinson's theory
Brown, Penelope & Stephen C. Levinson. 1987. Politeness; Some Universals in Language Use.
The basic strategy of politeness is to minimize the threat to an addressee's 'negative face' and enhance their 'positive face' as much as possible.
Positive face: a person's desire to be liked and understood
Negative face: a person's desire to act freely
Positive politeness strategy: a strategy that seeks to create a positive relationship with the hearer
- Dear Mary, could you open the window?
- You’re so strong. Could you open the window?
Negative politeness strategy: a strategy that seeks to minimise the threat to the hearer's face
- Excuse me, could you open the window?
- Sir, could you open the window?
- Could you open the window?