Research Article

Measuring language usage in hospitality situations


In this study, language usage in hospitality situations is measured. To this end, a corpus of utterances taken from a Colombian Spanish novel is quantitatively analysed. As a starting point of the analysis, it is illustrated that different modes of address (T and V) are used in hospitality situations, since they affect an interlocutor’s positive face. Likewise, different types of verb moods seem to be relevant to hospitality situations, as they influence the negative face of speakers. Furthermore, whether linguistic forms enhance or threaten the interlocutor’s positive and negative face is determined by the type of social relationship between the speakers and the communicative situation in which they are used. Moreover, it is assumed that hospitality situations can be defined as interactions between non-relatives that are non-conflictive in nature. Based on this assumption, the quantitative analysis indicates that in hospitality situations V is more likely to be used than T, whereas in non-hospitality situations T is more likely to be used than V. In contrast, hospitality situations do not necessarily differ from non-hospitality situations in the use of verb moods. Together, these findings serve to illustrate how the use of language may shape hospitality experiences. They suggest that hospitality may be related to different linguistic systems interacting with the context. Hospitality professionals working in a field that is highly dependent on a smooth host-guest interaction could especially benefit from these findings. Furthermore, from an academic point of view, these findings may function as a starting point to further investigate the relation between the use of language and the experience of hospitality.

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