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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Language is deeply involved in the management of human reputations. In this chapter, we review some of the linguistic features that relate to reputation, drawing extensively on ethnographic and experimental research. At the individual level, what the speaker says, and the physical form of speech contribute to establishing the public face of the speaker. At the interaction level, linguistic devices such as hedges and silences regulate the relations among speakers, expressing politeness, deference, acceptance, or rejection. Finally, linguistic speech acts such as apologies explicitly manipulate the speaker’s and others’ reputations. We also highlight some of the structural features of gossip, which is a genre of conversation that paradigmatically illustrates the role of language in reputation management.

Keywords: gossip, reputation, language, conversation, politeness

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