2004
Volume 35, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236

Abstract

This article presents the results of three experiments in which the influence of the pause eh in bad news voicemails is studied on the hearer evaluation. Based on the politeness theory of Brown & Levinson (1987) we expect that eh will facilitate the hearer’s acceptance of the bad news. The addition of eh turns out to have a positive effect on the attributed relational qualities of the speaker of the voice mail. On the other hand, his attributed communicative professionalism is rated lower. One of the two potential explanations for these results is that eh causes some delay in the presentation of the bad news itself, thereby triggering the hearer’s suspicion that really very bad news is forthcoming. Against this expectation the eventual bad news is not that bad. The experimental evidence does not support this hypothesis. Therefore the alternative hypothesis, eh signals the speaker’s difficulty to communicate the message, which in turn makes him more empathic, becomes highly probable.

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/content/journals/10.5117/TVT2013.3.JANS
2013-12-01
2021-10-20
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): communicative professionalism; empathy; filled pause; hearer’s evaluation; politeness
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