language and power phatic talk

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  • Language and Power Phatic talk
    • Opening conversations with phatic talk
      • We don't just go straight into a topic
      • Start off with a bit of friendly, sociable stuff to get 'warmed up'
      • Begin with some social talk to 'break the ice'
    • Closing conversation with phatic talk
      • Often this is done through use of a compliment
    • Phatic talk and power
      • More powerful can control/strict phatic talk
      • How might phatic talk make it easier for a less powerful participant to soften potenially challange by a more powerful participant in a conversation
    • Phatic tokens
      • Self-orientated: personal to the speaker "my feet are killing me"
      • Other-orientated: realted to the hearer "you seem to know what you are doing"
      • Neutral: refers to context or general state of affairs "cold, isn't i?"
        • used when the other may feel desensive
    • Phatic Tokens
      • They often indicate dominant participant
      • Superior shows consideration offering other-orientated token "it must be jolly hard to make one of those."
        • Inferior responds with self-orientated token "hard work this"
      • On surface phatic tokens are an exhange of information, subtley they are an acceptance of status


Paul Dutton


A clear and informative guide to this topic.  Useful colour coding and links are used to help the student. 

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