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Linguistic gambits

It is an agreed upon fact that language is mainly used to fulfil two basic functions: the first is the transactional function which is related to the communication of information and the other is the interactional function which is concerned with establishing and maintaining social relations between the members of a speech community (Brown and Yule 1983: 1). This latter function, which is also called the phatic communion, is of great importance since it is responsible for harmonizing people’s life. Trudgill (1974: 1) states that when two English people who have never met before come face to face in, say, a train, they find it awkward not to speak to each other! Therefore, one of them will take the initiative and…