This book addresses two areas of linguistics: mitigation as a pragmatic strategy, and formulaic language as a linguistic device. It examines to what extent mitigation is part of the pragmatic interlanguage of a population of English teachers in training, in a foreign language setting, with regard to recognition and production of formulaic mitigating devices. In most of the literature, mitigation is treated as part of politeness phenomenon. The view taken in this work is that mitigation is a distinct and cohesive strategy adopted to reduce severity of perlocutionary effects of oppositional speech acts. Moreover, the mitigating function of formulae deserves a place in the growing body of literature on formulaic language. Thus, this study is an attempt to consolidate the research on mitigation with three purposes: firstly, to focus specifically on mitigation as distinct from other reasons for indirectness; secondly, to situate formulaic language as instantiation of mitigating strategies; and thirdly, to apply the resulting constructs to an examination of the pragmatic interlanguage of a specific group of learners in asymmetrical interactions in a tertiary setting.
Dr. Helen Osimo is a lecturer in Applied Linguistics in the English Department of Oranim Academic College, in Israel, where she teaches pre- and in-service teachers of English. Her specific interests are the fields of Pragmatics and Formulaic Language, on which she has presented at several international and national conferences.