Diacronia 8, 7 octombrie, 2018, A114 (1–9)doi:10.17684/i8A114en

The Canaanite woman’s request or about prayers as forms of linguistic politeness

Daiana Felecan


Faculty of Letters, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, North University Centre, Str. Victoriei 76, 430122 Baia Mare, Romania


Received May 27, 2018
Accepted June 9, 2018
Published October 7, 2018


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The paper aims to establish the semantic boundaries between the terms prayer and request, and implicitly the pragmatic meanings actualized by the two lexemes on different levels of language. Through prayers, a sender conveys a message to a referentially indeterminate receiver in the pragmatic context of the phenomenal world, but “identifiable” exclusively in the world of necessities. The author will adduce as an example a dialogue between the representatives of two spiritually delimited spaces (the Canaanite woman and Jesus Christ). The woman asks for her own mercy with the purpose of exorcising her daughter’s evil spirits. Due to the skilfulness with which she negotiates meanings while observing situation roles, the woman proves to be a good practitioner of the cooperative principle, in general, and of pragmatic politeness, in particular. The locutor uses devices to support the most appropriate discourse strategies which would lead her to obtain an optimum level of communication – more precisely, to accomplish the aim of her prayer: her daughter’s recovery.


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    Text:Felecan, D. (2018). The Canaanite woman’s request or about prayers as forms of linguistic politeness, Diacronia 8 (7 octombrie), A114 (1–9),
     author = {Daiana Felecan},
     title = {The Canaanite woman’s request or about prayers as forms of linguistic politeness},
     journal = {Diacronia},
     ISSN = {2393-1140},
     year = {2018},
     month = {octombrie},
     number = {8},
     eid = {A114},
     doi = {10.17684/i8A114en},
     pages = "(1–9)",
     url = {}

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