You are on page 1of 22

Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

www.elsevier.com/locate/pragma

It’s all my fault! The pragmatics of


responsibility statements§
Janet Bing *, Charles Ruhl
Department of English, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529-0078, USA
Received 7 September 2005; received in revised form 23 January 2007; accepted 9 April 2007

Abstract
Following an acknowledgement of colleagues who have critiqued a work, writers sometimes add that the
final version is the sole responsibility of the author(s), and not of anyone being thanked. Although there is
much variability in responsibility statements, they are formulaic and often consist of the following: a
reference to the conventional nature of the statement, a reference to the content of or potential shortcomings
in the writing, and a mention of the authors’ sole responsibility and/or exoneration of others for conclusions
or deficiencies. For example: ‘‘Naturally, I remain responsible for any mistakes still present.’’
This paper investigates the face-enhancing value of responsibility statements. Like thanks, gambits, and
apologies, responsibility statements are formulaic disclaimers. They exonerate others from blame, but also
allow authors to claim ownership of and credit for their work. Responsibility statements allow authors to
establish a professional persona and demonstrate that they know the conventions of their profession.
Responsibility statements allow authors to present themselves as formal or scholarly, or they can violate the
conventions and present themselves as humorous, creative, or individualistic.
# 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Disclaimer; Formulaic language; Face; Responsibility statement; Self-presentation; Impression manage-
ment; Pragmatic formula

1. Introduction

When linguists write a professional article or book, their first footnote often follows two
conventions. First they acknowledge the help of colleagues who contributed ideas, advice or
critiques; then they absolve those colleagues of responsibility for any conclusions or potential
shortcomings. For example:

§
A previous version of this paper was presented at the South Eastern Conference on Linguistics, April 8, 2005, in
Raleigh, North Carolina.
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 757 683 4030; fax: +1 757 683 3241.
E-mail address: jbing@odu.edu (J. Bing).

0378-2166/$ – see front matter # 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2007.04.010
538 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

(1) I wish to express thanks for helpful comments to Donca Steriade, Bruce Hayes,
Rod Casali, Edward Flemming, audiences at Berkeley Linguistic Society and the
South-West Optimality Theory workshops, at which earlier versions of this paper were
presented, and three anonymous reviewers. All errors are, of course, my sole
responsibility. [bold added] (Kirchner, 1997:83)

In this paper we discuss the ‘‘responsibility statements’’1 that follow expressions of thanks
such as the sentence marked in bold in (1). We collected and examined 165 examples of these
from linguistics articles and books. These disclaimers serve a number of functions. They provide
writers with a way to demonstrate their knowledge of the conventions of their academic
discipline. In addition to absolving those who have been thanked either for the final version or for
any remaining shortcomings in the writing, they provide a means for authors to claim ownership
of and credit for their work. In addition, these routines serve the face-enhancing objective of
establishing a writer’s ethos (Cherry, 1998), style, or identity with what Overstreet and Yule
(2001:60) call ‘‘strategic self-presentation.’’ Responsibility statements signal authors’ member-
ship in a community of practice, and in our data, this is the community of academic linguists,
although similar conventions can be observed in other disciplines as well. We propose that
responsibility statements serve as disclaimers (Hewitt and Stokes, 1975) or ‘‘preventatives’’
(McLaughlin, 1984) to keep readers from questioning authors’ status as legitimate members of
their academic community. Establishing one’s authority is important because the status of
academic writers may affect what does or does not get read and cited.2

2. The formulaic nature of responsibility statements

Most responsibility statements contain several of the characteristics named and exemplified in
Table 1.
As Table 1 suggests, responsibility statements are often introduced with phrases such as of
course and as usual, phrases that suggest the conventional nature of the formula. This is often
followed by a reference to authors’ sole responsibility for the content or for any possible
shortcomings, or both. Finally, the authors either claim sole responsibility for the final work or
absolve those being thanked of responsibility. All parts of this formula are optional, but, as
examples (2)–(4) and the data in the appendix illustrate, most responsibility statements contain
some of the parts in Table 1. For example, although only 42% of the statements refer to the
conventional nature of responsibility statements, 72% contain some reference to errors or

1
We define ‘‘responsibility statements’’ as the second of two parts of a linguistic routine following authors’ statements
thanking readers of prepublication versions of books and articles. Like many formulaic expressions, these written statements
have no standard name. Most previous studies of formulaic expressions have been based on conversations rather than written
texts and these linguistic routines (Hymes, 1968:126; Coulmas, 1981) have been called ‘‘formulae; formulaic expressions;
deference formulae; routines; discourse routines; routine formulae; pre-patterned discourse units, and stereotypes and
gambits’’ (Ameka, 1987:301). Wray and Perkins (2000:2.1) present an even longer list of terms, and point out that even when
researchers use the same terms for formulaic expressions, they sometimes define them differently.
2
The relative influence of face, reputation, or status on what does or does not get published has yet to be established, but
there are some indications that the relative status of an author is be a factor in how a work has been judged. Goldberg (1976)
showed that when they read identical articles from different disciplines, college women consistently ranked the articles
higher if the author was assigned a man’s name rather than a woman’s name. McDowell (1984) reports that when Doris
Lessing published two books under a pseudonym, not only was she rejected by one of her longtime publishers, but when the
books were finally published, there was little fanfare and few sales, in contrast to books published under her own name.
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 539

Table 1

Acknowledge the Content Shortcomings Responsibility No responsibility of


convention of author others
Of course Final product Deficiencies Only the author They are not responsible
As usual Opinions Remaining errors Mine alone None of the above
should be blamed

shortcomings. The numbers following the examples correspond to those in the appendix and
identify the source of the quotation.

(2) The views expressed, however, are solely those of the authors. (15)
(3) Naturally, I remain responsible for any mistakes still present. (132)
(4) All responsibility for the opinions expressed in it as well as for any errors that may
remain is of course mine alone. (26)

In addition to phrases such as of course, naturally, obviously, as usual and needless to say,
recognition of the conventional nature of responsibility statements can also be suggested by
phases such as ‘‘as the saying goes,’’ or ‘‘the usual disclaimers obtain.’’ Seventy of the 165 tokens
in the appendix include some reference to the conventionality of the statements as in the
following examples:

(5) As the saying goes, none of them is responsible for the final product—that’s my
problem. (4)
(6) Needless to say, all errors and omissions are my own. (20)

Just as there are various ways to note that responsibility statements are formulaic, there are
also various ways that authors take sole responsibility for the final version of what they have
written, referring to the article, the content, the opinions, the views, the outcome, the
interpretations, the final product and the conclusions, as in the following examples.

(7) The content, of course is my sole responsibility. (17)


(8) Of course, this does not mean that they agree with all my views. (57)

The ritual thanks preceding responsibility statements is one way to enhance the positive
face (Brown and Levinson, 1987) of those whose help is being acknowledged. It can also
enhance the prestige of the authors themselves, particularly if those being thanked have
relatively high status in the profession. The use of first person pronouns in 132 of the 165
statements can also be interpreted as self-promotional, as argued in Harwood (2005).
Harwood notes (1211), ‘‘Pronouns link the researchers to their findings, showing that the
writers are responsible for the claim. The effect can be to persuade the reader that the writers,
like the claim they are putting forward, are worth taking notice of.’’ In forty-one of the 165
examples, the authors note that those being thanked were not responsible for the final product.
In this case writers are protecting those who have assisted them, making sure that readers will
not assume that their colleagues necessarily agree with the final version. In a few cases, such
as the following, the writers even state that they may not have followed all of their colleagues’
suggestions:
540 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

(9) They have doubtless offered more good advice than I have accepted. (84)
(10) Of course, our opinions are not always theirs. (99)

But what is it that people are being absolved of, and what is suggested by words such as liable
and accountable? Of the 160 statements, 115 refer to errors, omissions, or shortcomings, as in
(11) and (12):

(11) The foolish things that remain are entirely my own fault. (76)
(12) Errors and shortcomings are entirely my own. (143)

In fact, there is considerable variety in the types of shortcomings that authors are claiming
responsibility for. The list includes errors, defects, problems, inaccuracies, omissions, mistakes,
misinterpretations, infelicities, speculations, deficiencies, imperfections, shortcomings, inade-
quacies, flaws, errors of interpretation, misappropriation, and oversights.
At first glance, responsibility statements seem similar to apologies because apologies
sometimes include an admission of responsibility. One of the conditions Searle (1970, chapter 3)
notes about apologies is that an actual offense occurred. However, responsibility statements
differ from apologies, since in responsibility statements the errors or shortcomings in question
are hypothetical, and there is usually no admission of any real errors having been committed.
Goffman (1971:108) uses the term ‘‘virtual offense,’’ adding that ‘‘the virtual offense has largely
a cautionary effect, detailing what everyone concerned must be careful to avoid confirming.’’
Overtly, responsibility statements look like performatives that absolve other people of blame
for virtual flaws or oversights, and this is partially true. The phrase hereby absolved suggests this:

(13) We are very grateful to all these people for their help, and hereby absolve them of any
responsibility for the use we may have made of it. (70)

Although most of the responsibility statements do not overtly state that authors are absolving
others of responsibility, the majority imply this by claiming the authors’ sole responsibility as in
(14) and (15).

(14) Of course, they are in no way responsible for any erroneous claims. (37)
(15) . . .the responsibility for what has been changed and what has not is mine alone. (146)

3. Formulaic language

Responsibility statements are just one type of formulaic language. The importance of
examining formulaic language is now relatively well established. Formulaic expressions are
fixed constructions where substitutions are possible, but relatively constrained. (Wray and
Perkins, 2000:1.1) Formulaic language can consist of either fixed expressions such as ‘‘Bless
you!’’ ‘‘Happy Birthday’’ or predictable constructions such as ‘‘Sorry to bother you, but . . .’’ or
‘‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you!’’ Although most of the formulaic expressions that have been
investigated to date occur in oral discourse, written ones such as acknowledgements (Hyland,
2003) and closing formulas like ‘‘Yours affectionately’’ (Bijkerk, 2004) serve similar functions.
Standard formulaic routines establish and preserve relationships and maintain speakers’ good
status within their communities in various ways. They are often solidarity-based acts of positive
politeness (Brown and Levinson, 1987) used to establish and maintain human relationships,
including individual identity and group membership. Goffman (1971:63) writes, ‘‘The standard
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 541

argument is that these positive rites affirm and support the social relationship between doer
and recipient.’’ In the case of responsibility statements, the relationship is between the
author(s) and those being acknowledged for having offered suggestions as well as between the
author(s) and the wider academic community. When there is any potential infraction of
expected norms, ‘‘remedial work’’ is necessary because, in Goffman’s words (105), deviation
from the norm could jeopardize a person’s claim to being someone of ‘‘normal competence
and character.’’
There are many types of formulaic routines, including greetings and partings (Laver, 1981),
apologies (Suszczyńska, 1999; Blum-Kulka et al., 1989; Fraser, 1981), requests (Wichmann,
2004), gambits (Keller, 1979), compliments (Maynes and Wolfson, 1981), commands, threats, and
introductions. Wray and Perkins (2000) provide an extensive overview of different types of
formulaic expressions. As Maynes and Wolfson note (1981:124), like other formulaic expressions,
the basic function of compliments is to create or reinforce solidarity, and ‘‘[i]f anything in the
compliment or the way it is worded creates social distance, the expression of solidarity which is the
raison d’etre of the compliment may be vitiated.’’ The use of a formula helps avoid this potential
difficulty.
Responsibility statements are formulaic disclaimers, as are hedges (‘‘I may be mistaken’’) and
phrases such as ‘‘Don’t take me wrong, but . . .’’ (McLaughlin, 1984:202). Hewitt and Stokes
(1975:2) studied disclaimers and noted that individuals use disclaimers to form ‘‘situated
identities’’ for themselves and others. ‘‘In their relations with one another, people search for and
make use of specific cues from others as a means of typifying them, i.e., of treating them as kinds
of persons.’’ Hewitt and Stokes claim (p. 13) that ‘‘Crucial to the concept of the disclaimer is the
fact that individuals know their own acts serve as the basis for typifying them; they know that
specific acts they undertake will be treated by others as cues for typification’’ and they attempt
‘‘to present themselves in ways that will lead others to grant their situated identity claims.’’
Disclaimers are verbal devices ‘‘employed to ward off and defeat in advance doubts and negative
typifications which may result from intended conduct.’’ (3)
Responsibility statements are similar to the conversational disclaimers discussed in Overstreet
and Yule (2001:46) in that they have a clear structure and ‘‘project a ‘virtual offense.’’’ Overstreet
and Yule (48) classify disclaimers as a kind of ‘‘alignment talk used by speakers in an effort to (i)
render potentially problematic actions (i.e., those which may be perceived as extraordinary or
inexplicable) meaningful, and (ii) define such actions as an irrelevant basis for a reassessment of
the speaker’s established identity.’’ One of their examples is (16):

(16) I don’t want to sound like your mother or anything, but I think you should wait.

In this disclaimer, the speaker recognizes that the suggestion may be received negatively, and
hopes to forestall this negative opinion. As Overstreet and Yule note (48):
Unlike most forms of alignment talk, which are employed by speakers after potentially
problematic actions and function retrospectively to correct perceived trouble, disclaimers
are normally employed prior to potentially problematic actions, and function prospectively
to avert anticipated trouble.
A number of authors, including the writer of (17), explicitly recognize that responsibility
statements are disclaimers.

(17) The usual disclaimers apply; also deepest apologies to anyone else I’ve forgotten. (96)
542 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

Like formulaic conversational disclaimers, responsibility statements attempt to forestall a


potential negative evaluation in case readers should discover any errors or shortcomings in
the publication. In this regard, responsibility statements are similar to other formulaic expres-
sions conventionally associated with pragmatic face-enhancing functions.

4. Establishing a persona through responsibility statements

One purpose of responsibility statements is to avoid offending colleagues by absolving them


of blame; another is to allow writers to establish a professional persona, what some sociolinguists
call style (Rickford and Eckert, 2001; Irvine, 2001) or identity (Joseph, 2004) and what
rhetoricians call ethos (Aristotle, 1954; Cherry, 1998). Responsibility statements can enhance the
status of writers as well as fending off possible future criticism that might threaten that status. The
conventions of scholarly writing allow very few ways for authors to establish a professional
identity, and responsibility statements provide a ritualized way to do so. We propose that most
writers do this by adopting the following conventions when they choose to include responsibility
statements:

A. Demonstrate an understanding of the standard formula of the disclaimer.


B. Place the responsibility statement immediately following acknowledgement of and
thanks to others.
C. Maintain a formal register.
D. Be modest; don’t boast.
E. Refer to hypothetical rather than real shortcomings.
F. Do not blame others.

Convention A identifies the writer as a member of a particular ‘‘community of practice’’


(Holmes and Meyerhoff, 1999), and in our data, this is the community of academic linguists.
With reference to Lave and Wegner (1991), Eckert and McConnell-Ginet (1992:464) define a
community of practice as follows:
An aggregate of people who come together around mutual engagement in an endeavor.
Ways of doing things, ways of talking, beliefs, values, power relations–in short, practices–
emerge in the course of this mutual endeavor. As a social construct, a community of
practice is different from the traditional community, primarily because it is defined
simultaneously by its membership and by the practice in which that membership engages.
Just as women are said to ‘‘perform’’ gender (Butler, 1990), scholars actually perform their
membership in a community of practice by adopting the rhetoric and other conventions of their
fields.
For example, the following statements in (18) and (19) give minimal lip service to the
conventional formula, but by doing so, they still identify the writer as a member of an academic
community.

(18) The usual disclaimers obtain. (134)


(19) The usual caveats apply. (97)

Even such a perfunctory reference to a responsibility statement suggests an author is a member of


the ‘‘in-group.’’
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 543

In fact, criterion A presupposes that authors understand conventions B through F, even if they
choose not to follow them.
Convention B, ‘‘Place the responsibility statement immediately following acknowledgement
of and thanks to others,’’ is what Mey, 1993, 182–184 considers the metapragmatic context or
‘natural habitat’ of the formula. Like the acknowledgments they follow, responsibility statements
‘‘play a metadiscursive role in being physically set apart from the main social and textual product
yet functioning to both facilitate the construction of this product and to comment on it.’’ (Hyland,
2003:244) Exceptions to Convention B probably exist, but none occurred in our data, suggesting
that the location of responsibility statements in articles is well established.
Convention C, ‘‘Maintain a formal register,’’3 demonstrates that the writer understands the
appropriate register for scholarly articles, despite the personal nature of the acknowledgements
preceding the responsibility statement. However, as discussed below, this convention is
sometimes violated.
Convention D, ‘‘Be modest; don’t boast,’’ suggests that within the academic community overt
self-promotion is negatively valued. As Leech (1983:132, 136) suggests in the Modesty Maxim,
one should maximize praise of others and minimize praise of oneself.
Convention E suggests that any remaining errors should be potential rather than real. Claiming
potential deficiencies does not necessarily threaten the prestige of the authors, since owning the
shortcomings also implies that the writers are establishing claim to everything else in the article.
Why is this necessary? Unless guilty of plagiarism, authors are assumed to be responsible for
what they have written, so why is there a convention of absolving others of blame for errors when
it is obvious that errors normally are the responsibility of authors? By claiming responsibility for
virtual errors, authors are not just stating the obvious, but are also strengthening their claims to
ownership of what has been written. For this reason, Convention F makes clear that even
hypothetical shortcomings should not be attributed to anyone other than the authors. Of course, it
is possible for authors to claim ownership without admitting any shortcomings, as in the
following example:

(20) Of course, the responsibility for the contents of this book rests entirely with me,
being the sole author and originator of all arguments not specifically attributed
to others. (131)

Although the conventions for responsibility statements are limited, they allow a number of
variations, as the data in the appendix illustrate. Because of the possible variations, writers can
personalize responsibility statements and self-present in different ways. They can demonstrate
knowledge of the conventions by simply referring to them, they can establish a formal scholarly
identity, or they can even violate parts of the formula in order to present themselves as creative,
unconventional, or funny.

4.1. Assuming a scholarly persona

Most authors abide by the conventions of responsibility statements discussed above by


including some parts of the formula, maintaining a formal register, and referring only to

3
We define ‘‘formal’’ and ‘‘informal’’ in roughly the same way as Joos (1961). For example, formal language often
contains Latinate vocabulary and usually does not contain contractions, slang or taboo language.
544 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

hypothetical shortcomings. The majority of statements in our data are relatively formal, as in the
following examples:

(21) Naturally, they are not responsible for possible errors that I may have overlooked,
nor do they necessarily agree with all my theoretical ideas. (66)
(22) . . . are thanked for their comments and suggestions, but absolved of responsibility
for our errors. (36)

In some cases, the formality results from relatively formal lexical items such as formulation, and
infelicities or even obsolete words and expressions such as whilst and mine own.

(23) Whilst their interest and encouragement is in no small measure responsible for this
paper, any faults are of course mine. (7)
(24) Any poor things are, of course, mine own. (74)
(25) Infelicities of exposition and misunderstandings remain my own. (2)

Even the act of thanking and absolving colleagues evokes a scholarly persona, particularly if
those being thanked are well-known. By acknowledging association with those colleagues,
authors suggest their own status in the academic community.

4.2. Establishing an unconventional persona

In addition to allowing writers to identify themselves as normal members of an academic


speech community by virtue of having used or referred to a formula, responsibility statements
allow authors subjectivity, that is ‘‘the speaker’s expression of herself’’ Scheibman (2002:4). As
all linguists know, where implied rules exist, there can also be rule violations. The following
attested responsibility statements are obviously tongue-in-cheek because blaming others violates
the convention.

(26) Finally, for remaining mistakes, the authors have decided not to blame each other, but
to look for an appropriate scapegoat. (58)
(27) We blame any errors on each other. (31)

In these examples, the authors acknowledge the conventions, and thus establish insider
identities. By switching from the established frame in order to be humorous, they self-present
as unconventional, and illustrate the formula by departing from it. It is worth noting that in the
two examples above, the authors who have chosen to do this are well established in the
profession, as are the authors of the following examples:

(28) The faults which remain despite the efforts of this galaxy of talent are only the
author’s responsibility. (32)
(29) None of these individuals are any more responsible than Aristotle for the outcome. (72)

The following responsibility statement is also atypical. In (30) the person being thanked is
jokingly ‘‘blamed’’ for not having been more helpful.

(30) They bear no responsibility for the outcome. I wish Ellen Kaisse had said more.
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 545

Unlike standard responsibility statements, which refer to hypothetical errors, the example in
(31) can also be interpreted as unconventional, because it suggests that real errors might remain.
Example (32) is unconventional because it uses the word ‘‘blunders,’’ which is less formal than
terms such as infelicities or imperfections. Like the examples above, it is probably intended as
humor.

(31) Finally, any errors in the text are mine. I’m sure you’ll find them. (29)
(32) Needless to say, all blunders are my own. (109)

There is also an example of another atypical type of disclaimer in our data. In example (33) the
research had been funded by an outside agency.

(33) Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication


are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NEH or
the NSC.

Although the author of the disclaimer in (33) claims responsibility for the ‘‘opinions, findings,
conclusions or recommendations,’’ the statement does not refer to errors or shortcomings, as do
the majority of examples previously discussed. It resembles a different conventional disclaimer,
one used more often in public media than in academic articles. However, this type of disclaimer
might also enhance the status of an author by noting that the author received funding for the
research.
How much deviation from the standard responsibility statement is possible if a writer
wishes to present an unconventional identity? Even though it is possible to violate the
conventions in order to self-present an unconventional persona, there are some responsibility
statements that are unlikely to occur. For example, the following hypothetical responsibility
statements would probably not occur because they seem to be serious, but admit that real
errors remain.

(34) ?Because of a heavy teaching and administrative load, I apologize for the errors that
remain in this article.
(35) ?Considering the complexities of this research project, it would be rather amazing for
us not to have made any mistakes at all!

It is unacceptable for authors to justify or to avoid taking responsibility for their mistakes.
In addition to the fact that putative errors and problems should remain virtual or hypothetical,
authors must be solely or only responsible. For that reason, the statement in (36) is also peculiar
and unlikely to occur.

(36) ?Needless to say, I am partially responsible for the remaining errors.

The attested example in (37) does include a real apology, but that apology is for lateness and
not for errors.

(37) Responsibility for the final product (and its lateness, for which I apologize to the
readership) is, of course, mine and mine alone. (126)
546 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

Finally, even those who choose to use humor, as in (26) through (29) above, usually write in a
formal register. In the 165 responsibility statements, there is little informal language.4 For
example, there are no examples of slang, dialect, or taboo language in our data, and only five, like
(38) and (39) contain contractions.5

(38) As the saying goes, none of them is responsible for the final product—that’s my
problem. (4)
(39) I would like to disclaim errors, although I know I shouldn’t. (45)

Formal self-presentation seems to be the norm.

5. Summary and conclusions

Responsibility statements allow academic writers to do strategic self-presentation as


members of an academic community. They are formulaic disclaimers, displays of ritual
modesty, presumably belied by the brilliance of the work they precede. They differ from
conversational disclaimers not only because they are written, but also by their limited
distribution after ritual expressions of thanks. Unlike the informal conversational disclaimers
discussed in Overstreet and Yule (2001), responsibility statements are usually relatively
formal. When authors follow the conventional formula, they present a scholarly persona;
when they violate the formula, they suggest an unconventional or creative persona. Relatively
few writers choose the latter, and those who do are generally well-established scholars.
Responsibility statements are also useful because they allow authors to claim ownership of
their scholarship. By claiming responsibility for ‘‘virtual’’ shortcomings, authors also
imply that they are responsible for the article itself. Real rather than hypothetical errors
could threaten a scholar’s status, and responsibility statements avoid referring to real
shortcomings.
Responsibility statements are not obligatory, but once authors elect to include them, they are
relatively formulaic. There is considerable variability, but unless authors are attempting to
present themselves as unconventional, responsibility statements do not contain any overt
arrogance, use of informal language, blame for others, or apologies for real errors. When writers
acknowledge these unwritten conventions, responsibility statements allow them to claim and
protect their status as competent members of their academic community.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Joanne Scheibman, Carolyn Rhodes, and two anonymous reviewers
for suggestions on earlier versions, and, of course, we absolve them of blame or responsibility for
any remaining errors or shortcomings.

4
Note that no responsibility statement is likely to contain slang or taboo language, as in the following hypothetical
examples:
(i) ?If I’ve goofed somewhere, I’m sorry.
(ii) ? I’ve been damned careful not to screw up this final version, but don’t blame them if I have!
5
These are numbers 4, 29, 45, 96, and 136 in Appendix A.
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 547

Appendix A

1. Abusch: Needless to say, I alone am responsible for any mistakes or inadequacies.


2. Ackerman: Infelicities of exposition and misunderstandings remain my own.
3. Adams: Needless to say, the resulting paper contains many imperfections, for which I must
take full responsibility.
4. Agar: As the saying goes, none of them is responsible for the final product—that’s my
problem.
5. Alderete: If any errors remain, despite this help, I alone am responsible for them.
6. Allan: The faults that remain are mine alone.
7. Anthony: Whilst their interest and encouragement is in no small measure responsible for
this paper, any faults are of course mine.
8. Austin: What errors remain, I shall be happy to own.
9. Baker: The errors are all mine.
10. Baker and Travis: No doubt there are still problems and mistakes: these are our
responsibility.
11. Bing: The problems that remain are solely my responsibility.
12. Blansitt: Neither of whom, of course, is to be presumed to agree with anything I say here.
13. Boldyrev: Any shortcomings still present remain my own responsibility.
14. Bowers: All remaining errors are of course my own.
15. Brown and Rubin: The views expressed, however, are solely those of the authors.
16. Burton-Roberts: The shortcomings remain my own, of course.
17. Byrne: The content, of course, is my sole responsibility.
18. Carlson: Errors, of course, are my sole responsibility.
19. Cathey and Demers: We alone are responsible for any errors in fact or analysis.
20. Citko: Needless to say, all errors and omissions are my own.
21. Connell: All errors and any misinterpretations are mine alone.
22. Cook: However, any errors remaining are entirely my own.
23. Cooper: I alone am responsible for all the errors.
24. Copstake and Briscoe: We take full responsibility for any remaining errors and infelicities.
25. Corballis: They are not responsible for my opinions, however.
26. Cornish: All responsibility for the opinions expressed in it as well as for any errors that may
remain is of course mine alone.
27. Covington: All responsibility for the remaining deficiencies is, however, mine.
28. Cowart: Errors and oversights that remain are of course the sole responsibility of the author.
29. Cringely: Finally, any errors in the text are mine. I’m sure you’ll find them.
30. Crowley: Of course none of these people is responsible for my mistakes.
31. Culicover, P. & Jackendoff, R.: We blame any errors on each other.
32. Cutler: The faults which remain despite the efforts of this galaxy of talent are only the
author’s responsibility.
33. Dancygier: Needless to say, I am solely responsible for all the remaining errors.
34. Davison: Though they are not to be held responsible for the outcome.
35. Dayal: All remaining errors and omissions, naturally, are mine.
36. de Chene and Anderson: But absolved of responsibility for our errors.
37. Declerck and Reed: Of course, they are in no way responsible for any erroneous claims.
38. Demonte Errors are all my own.
39. Diesing and Jelineh: We of course retain responsibility for any remaining errors.
548 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

40. Dinnsen: Naturally, I assume responsibility for all errors.


41. Dixon: None of these scholars is, of course, likely to agree whole-heartedly with my use of
their ideas.
42. Dobrovolsky: They bear no responsibility for the outcome. I wish Ellen Kaisse had said
more.
43. Downing: Any errors that remain are my own.
44. Dworkin: Naturally, I assume full responsibility for all errors of fact and interpretation.
45. Eilfort: I would like to disclaim errors, although I know I shouldn’t.
46. Fitzgerald: Any errors are solely my fault, and this article does not necessary reflect the
views of anyone acknowledged here.
47. Fitzpatrick: Any mistakes are of course my own.
48. Fought: While absolving them of responsibility for the uses I have made of their advice.
49. Freidin: None of the above-mentioned, necessarily agree with the views expressed here, nor
are they responsible for errors of interpretation.
50. Friedman: However, I am solely responsible for all errors of interpretation.
51. Frisbberg: But of course they are not to be held responsibility for any errors in the present
paper.
52. Fukushima: No one mentioned here, however, is responsible for any errors and
shortcomings which might be found in this paper.
53. Gawron: All the parties just named are hereby absolved of any responsibility for the paper at
hand.
54. Giegerich: The remaining shortcomings, I hate to admit it, are my own responsibility.
55. Givon: The opinions expressed below remain strictly my own.
56. Green: All errors and omissions in this paper are my responsibility.
57. Gross: Of course, this does not mean that they agree with all my views.
58. Grosu and Landman: Finally, for remaining mistakes, the authors have decided not to blame
each other, but to look for an appropriate scapegoat.
59. Grosu and Thompson: We assume responsibility, however, for the form in which the advice
of these people has been incorporated into this paper.
60. Hagege: Remaining errors or unclarities are obviously mine.
61. Hale: None of the above mentioned people is to be blamed for shortcomings and distortions
in this paper.
62. Harley: All shortcomings are of course my own fault.
63. Harris: As usual, only the author is to be blamed for deficiencies.
64. Hawkins: None of whom is hereby alleged to agree with me.
65. Hendrikse: Needless to say, the remaining errors and unclarities are for my account.
66. Hetzron: (1975) Naturally, he is not responsible for any errors or disputable points still
remaining.
67. Hetzron (1977): Naturally, they are not responsible for possible errors that I may have
overlooked, nor do they necessarily agree with all my theoretical ideas.
68. Hill: The inadequacies of the paper remain my own.
69. Hopper: None of these should be blamed for any errors or excesses in the use I have made of
their ideas, and I apologize to them for not always having cited their published work when I
might have.
70. Hopper and Thompson: We are very grateful to all these people for their help, and hereby
absolve them of any responsibility for the use we may have made of it.
71. Horn (1991): I am of course liable for any misappropriation.
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 549

72. Horn (2005): None of these individuals are any more responsible than Aristotle for the
outcome.
73. Howard: None of them, however, should be held accountable for conclusions reached here.
74. Hurford: Any poor things are, of course, mine own.
75. Hyde: Any faults remaining are my own responsibility.
76. Israel: The foolish things that remain are entirely my own fault.
77. Jasanoff: Needless to say, responsibility for errors is entirely my own.
78. Jeffers: Of course, I am solely responsible for any errors of fact or judgment in this paper.
79. Jones, C.: All errors, misinterpretations and speculations should be placed at the door of the
author.
80. Jones, M.: Needless to say, I accept full responsibility for any remaining errors or
inadequacies.
81. Kac: None of whom bear any responsibility for whatever errors may be found herein.
82. Kaisse and Shaw: We alone must be held responsible for the several misapprehensions we
undoubtedly continue to labour under.
83. Kathel: All remaining errors are mine.
84. Kay: They have doubtless offered more good advice than I have accepted.
85. Keller and Asudeh: Not all of these people will necessarily agree with the views expressed
in this article, and all remaining errors are of course our own.
86. Kim: I alone am responsible for the content of the paper.
87. Kirchner, R.: All errors are, of course, my sole responsibility.
88. Kornai and Pullum: None are to be blamed for errors that this paper may still contain.
89. Koutlaki: Needless to say that any omissions, inaccuracies or errors remain my own
responsibility.
90. Kraehenmann: All errors are my own.
91. Ladd: The use to which I have put their comments is of course my own responsibility.
92. Landau: All remaining errors are my own.
93. Lee: All the frailties are mine.
94. Levinson: The author remains, however, solely responsible for its contents.
95. Li: The mistakes are, of course, mine.
96. Lombardi: The usual disclaimers apply; also deepest apologies to anyone else I’ve
forgotten.
97. Lorenzo-Dus: The usual caveats apply.
98. Lu et al: Of course these colleagues cannot be held responsible for our interpretations, or
any errors that we may have made.
99. Martin and Smith: Of course, our opinions are not always theirs.
100. Mc Alpin: However, I take sole responsibility for the ideas presented here.
101. McCauley and Brice: Of course, we are responsible for the content of this paper.
102. Meechan and Foley: Remaining errors are, of course, our responsibility.
103. Matsumoto: Any errors in this paper should of course be attributed to me.
104. Meug and Bader: Any remaining errors are our own.
105. Miller: Naturally, any factual errors and all opinions (unless acknowledged) are my own.
106. Miner: not all of whom necessarily agree with my conclusions and none of whom are
responsible for my errors.
107. Montgomery and Fuller: Any errors of interpretation of these various documents are our
own.
108. Murray: To all of whom, my thanks, and the usual exoneration from blame.
550 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

109. Nanni: Needless to say, all blunders are my own.


110. Napoli: Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this
publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NEH or the
NSC.
111. Narang and Becker: It goes without saying that they in no way share the deficiencies which
remain in our study.
112. Nathan: I alone am responsible, however, for the current state of this paper.
113. Nyman: The responsibility remains, of course, entirely my own.
114. Ogihara: I alone am responsible for all the errors.
115. Ohala, J.: Errors and infelicities which remain are on my head.
116. Ohala, M.: This is not to say that they would necessarily agree with the points made in this
paper.
117. Ojeda: Responsibility for the shortcomings of this paper remain, of course, with the author.
118. Paolillo: Any errors of fact or analysis are the sole responsibility of the author.
119. Paradis and LaCharité: Naturally we are responsible for interpretations and possible errors.
120. Parker: None of these people should be assumed to agree with the conclusions presented
here.
121. Perlmutter: Errors and shortcomings are my own.
122. Peters: Any errors of interpretation are, of course, my own.
123. Postal and Pullum: Our acknowledgement of their help does not imply that they can be
assumed to agree with the claims we make below.
124. Pullum and Wilson: We confess that we have by no means taken all the advice offered by the
people mentioned, so it should not be assumed that any of them would want to be associated
with the views we express.
125. Quicoli: Responsibility for the article, however, is exclusively mine.
126. Rankin: Responsibility for the final product (and its lateness, for which I apologize to the
readership) is, of course, mine and mine alone.
127. Roberts: None of these people are responsible for my mistake, though.
128. Roca: I am responsible for any surviving defects.
129. Rojas: I am, of course, solely responsible for any remaining shortcomings.
130. Rubach: Needless to say, all responsibility for flaws and errors is mine.
131. Rudanko: Of course, the responsibility for the contents of this book rests entirely with me,
being the sole author and originator of all arguments not specifically attributed to others.
132. Sadock: Naturally, I remain responsible for any mistakes still present.
133. Sadock and Yuasa: Any remaining errors and oversights are our own.
134. Safir: The usual disclaimers obtain.
135. Sampson 2002: Responsibility for the conclusions is mine alone.
136. Sampson 1974: Don’t blame them for what you are about to read.
137. Sauerland and Telbourne Naturally the responsibility for remaining errors is ours.
138. Scheibman: Of course any errors in analysis interpretation are my own.
139. Sedano: Any mistakes that may be in this article are, of course, my entire responsibility.
140. Shaffer: Final responsibility for the data and interpretations offered here, however, rests
with me.
141. Shibatani: Needless to say, I alone am responsible for the content of the paper.
142. Sihler: Of course I take sole responsibility for the final form of the ideas herein.
143. Silva-Corvalin Errors and shortcomings are entirely my own.
144. Sobin Any errors are solely those of the author.
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 551

145. Stahlke: All errors of interpretation and analysis are my own.


146. Sternefeld: The responsibility for what has been changed and what has not is mine alone.
147. Szabolasi: All errors are my own.
148. Tanaka 2001: The author alone is responsible for whatever errors may be remaining.
149. Tanaka 2002: I am responsible for all remaining errors.
150. Tanako: All remaining faults and infelicities are my own responsibility.
151. Tash: Any remaining errors of interpretation or judgment are, of course, my own.
152. Taylor: Any inadequacies are, of course, my responsibility.
153. Tennin: Any shortcomings are, of course, my own.
154. Toivonen: But I, of course, take full responsibility for all the remaining imperfections,
errors, and misunderstandings.
155. Tomioka Of course, none of the individuals above is responsible for the shortcomings of this
paper.
156. Trukenbrodt: All errors are, of course, my own.
157. Vennemann: I am, of course, alone responsible for the position taken in this work and all
remaining errors are mine.
158. von Fintel: Of course this is not meant to imply that they agree with all my views, and
remaining errors are my own responsibility.
159. Von Stechow: The remaining shortcomings are my own.
160. Warner: Any errors are, of course, our own responsibility.
161. Wasow: I hasten to add that Jennifer should not be blamed for any errors of fact or judgment
in what I have written.
162. Williamson: All opinions and errors are my own responsibility.
163. Winter: Of course, any errors and misconceptions are my own.
164. Wolfram: Responsibility for remaining deficiencies is, of course, my own.
165. Yamashita: All shortcomings are, of course, mine.

Appendix B. References for Responsibility Statements

Abusch, Dorit, 1994. The scope of indefinites. Natural Language Semantics 2, 83.
Ackerman, Farrell, 2000. Some observations on the typology of linguistic theories. Journal of
Linguistics 36, 305.
Adams, Douglas Q., 1975. The distribution of retracted sibilants in medieval Europe.
Language 51, 282.
Agar, Michael, 1994. Language Shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation. Wm.
Morrow, New York, p. 8.
Alderete, John D., 2001. Dominance effects as trans-derivational anti-faithfulness. Phonology
18, 201.
Allan, Keith, 1980. Nouns and countability. Language 56, 567.
Anthony, Michael, 1977. Some remarks on ‘any’. Forum Linguisticum 2, 15.
Austin, Timothy, 1984. Language Crafted: A Linguistic Theory of Poetic Syntax. Indiana
University Press, Bloomfield, p. x.
Baker, Mark C., 2002. Building and merging, not checking: the nonexistence of (AUX)-S-V-O
languages. Linguistic Inquiry 33, 321.
Baker, Mark, Travis, Lisa, 1997. Mood as verbal definiteness in a ‘tenseless’ language.
Natural Language Semantics 5, 213.
552 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

Bing, Janet, 1984. A discourse domain identified by intonation. In: Gibbon, Dafydd, Richter,
Helmut (Eds.), Pattern and Process in Discourse Phonology. Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, p. 12.
Blansitt, Edward L., Jr., 1978. Gramatically conditioned linearity of semantic processes.
Forum Linguisticum 2, 23.
Boldyrev, Nikolain, 1998. On functional categorization and the prototype structure of verbal
classes. General Linguistics 36, 101.
Bowers, John, 2002. Transitivity. Linguistic Inquiry 33, 183.
Brown, Cati, Rubin, Donald, 2005. Causal markers in tobacco industry documents: the
pragmatics of responsibility. Journal of Pragmatics 37, 799.
Burton-Roberts, Noel, 1976. On the generic indefinite article. Language 52, 427.
Byrne, Francis, 1986. Evidence against grammars without empty categories. Linguistic
Inquiry 17, 754.
Carlson, Greg N., 1977. Amount relatives. Language 53, 520.
Cathey, James E., Demers, Richard A., 1976. On establishing linguistic universals: a case for
in-depth synchronic analysis. Language 52, 611.
Citko, Barbara, 2002. (Anti)reconstruction effects in free relatives: a new argument against
the comp account. Linguistic Inquiry 33, 507.
Connell, Bruce, 2000. The perception of lexical tone in Mambila. Language and Speech 43,
163.
Cook, Eung-Do, 1971. Vowels and tones in Sarsee. Language 47, 164.
Cooper, Robin, 1977. Formal philosophy: selected papers of Richard Montague (review).
Language 53, 895.
Copestake, Ann, Briscoe, Ted, 1996. Semi-productive polysemy and sense extension. In:
Pustejovsky, J., Boguraev, B. (Eds.), Lexical Semantics, The Problem of Polysemy. Clarendon
Press, Oxford, p. 2.
Corballis, Michael C., 1992. On the evolution of language and generativity. Cognition 443,
197.
Cornish, Francis, 2002. ‘Downstream’ effects on the predicate in functional grammar clause
derivations. Journal of Linguistics 38, 247.
Covington, Michael A., 1981. Computer terminology: words from new meanings. American
Speech 56, 64.
Cowart, Wayne, 1986. Evidence for a strictly sentence-internal antecedent-finding
mechanism. In: Nikiforidou, Vassiliki, et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Meeting
of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, vol. 12, p. 41.
Cringely, Robert X., 1992. Accidental Empires. Harper-Collins, New York, p. xi.
Crowley, Sharon, 1990. The Methodical Memory. Southern Illinois University Press, p. iii.
Culicover, Peter W., Jackendoff, Ray, 1997. Semantic subordination despite syntactic
coordination. Linguistic Inquiry 28, 195.
Cutler, Anne, 1986. Phonological structure in speech recognition. Phonology Yearbook 3,
176.
Dancygier, Barbara, 2002. Mental space embedding, counterfactuality, and the use of unless.
English Language and Linguistics 6, 347.
Davison, Alice, 1980. Peculiar passives. Language 56, 42.
Dayal, Srivastav, 1994. Scope marking as indirect left dependancy. Natural Language
Semantics 2, 137.
De Chene, Brent, Anderson, Stephen R., 1979. Compensatory lengthening. Language 55,
505.
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 553

Declerck, Renaat, Reed, Susan, 2000. The semantics and pragmatics of unless. English
Language and Linguistics 4, 205.
Demonte, Violeta, 1987. ‘‘C-command, prepositions, and predication.’’ Linguistic Inquiry 18,
147.
Diesing, Molly, Jelineh, Eloise, 1995. Distributing arguments. Natural Language Semantics 3,
123.
Dinnsen, Daniel A., 1974. Constraints on global rules in phonology. Language 50, 29.
Dixon, R.M.W., 1978. Ergativity. Language 55, 59.
Dobrovolsky, Michael, 1986. Stress and vowel harmony domains in Turkish. In: Nikiforidou,
Vassiliki, et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics
Society, vol. 12, p. 41.
Downing, Pamela, 1977. On the creation and use of English compound nouns. Language 53,
810.
Dworkin, Steven N., 1978. Phonotactic awkwardness as an impediment to sound change.
Forum Linguisticum 3, 47.
Eilfort, William H., 1986. Non-finite clauses in creoles. In: Nikiforidou, Vassiliki, et al. (Eds.),
Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, vol. 12, p. 84.
Fitzgerald, Colleen M., 2002. Vowel harmony in Buchan Scots English. English Language
and Linguistics 6, 61.
Fitzpatrick, Justin M., 2002. On minimalist approaches to the locality of movement.
Linguistic Inquiry 33, 443.
Fought, John, 1979. The ‘medieval sibilants’ of the Eulalia-Ludwigslied manuscript and their
development in early French. Language 55, 842.
Freidin, Robert, 1975. The analysis of passives. Language 51, 384.
Friedman, Lynn A., 1975. Space, time, and person reference in American Sign Language.
Language 51, 940.
Frishberg, Nancy, 1975. Arbitrariness and iconicity: historical change in American Sign
Language. Language 51, 696.
Fukushima, Kazuhiko, 2002. Competence and performance revisited: the implications of
social role forms in Japanese. Journal of Pragmatics 34, 939.
Gawron, Jean Mark, 1986. Clefts, discourse representations, and situation semantics. In:
Nikiforidou, Vassiliki, et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley
Linguistics Society, p. 135.
Giegerich, H. J., 1983. On English sentence stress and the nature of metrical structure. Journal
of Linguistics 19, 1.
Givon, Talmy, 1973. The time-axis phenomenon. Language 49, 890.
Green, Lisa, 2000. Aspectual BE-TYPE constructions and coercion in African American
English. Natural Language Semantics 8, 1.
Gross, Maurice, 1979. On the failure of generative grammar. Language 55, 859.
Grosu, Alexander, Landman, Fred, 1998. Strange relatives of the third kind. Natural Language
Semantics 6, 125.
Grosu, Alexander, Thompson, Sandra A., 1977. Constraints on the distribution of NP clauses.
Language 53, 104.
Hagege, Claude, 1978. Lexical suffixes and incorporation in Mainland Comox. Forum
Linguisticum 3, 57.
Hale, Ken, 1983. NLLT 1.1,5.
Harley, Heidi, 2002. WCO, ACD and QR of DPs. Linguistic Inquiry 33, 659.
554 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

Harris, James W., 1977. Two theories of non-automatic morphophonological alternations:


evidence from Spanish. Language 54, 41.
Hawkins, John A., 2001. Why are the categories adjacent? Journal of Linguistics 37, 1.
Hendrikse, A.P., 1997. Systematic polysemy in the Southern Bantu noun class system. In:
Cuyckens, Hubert, Zawada, Britta (Eds.), Polysemy in Cognitive Linguistics. John Benjamins
Publishing Company, Amsterdam, p. 210.
Hetzron, Robert, 1975. Where the grammar fails. Language 51, 859.
Hetzron, Robert, 1977. Clitic pronouns and their linear representation. Forum Linguisticum 1,
189.
Hill, Deborah, 1992. Imprecating interjectional expressions: examples from Australian
English. Journal of Pragmatics 18, 209.
Hopper, Paul, 1987. Emergent grammar. In: Aske, Jon, et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the
Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, p. 155.
Hopper, Paul J., Thompson, S.A., 1980. Transitivity in grammar and discourse. Language 56,
251.
Horn, Laurence R., 1991. The said and the unsaid. In: Barker, Chris, Dowty, David (Eds.),
SALT II. Proceedings of the Second Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory. Ohio State
University Press, Columbus, Ohio, p. 188.
Horn, Laurence R., 2005. An un-paper for the unsyntactician. In: Mufwene, Saliko S., Francis,
Elaine J., Wheeler, Rebecca S. (Eds.), Polymorphous Linguistics: Jim McCawley’s Legacy. MIT
Press, Cambridge, p. 329.
Howard, Irwin, 1975. Can the ‘elsewhere condition’ get anywhere? Language 51, 109.
Hurford, James R., 1977. The significance of linguistic generalizations. Language 53,
574.
Hyde, Brett, 2002. A restrictive theory of metrical stress. Phonology 19, 313.
Israel, Michael, 1996. The way construction grows. In: Goldberg, Adele E. (Ed.) Conceptual
Structure Discourse and Language, CSLI (Center of the Studies of Language and Information),
Stanford, CA, p. 247.
Jasanoff, Jay H., 1973. The Germanic third weak class. Language 49, 850.
Jeffers, Robert J., 1975. Remarks on the Indo-European infinitive. Language 51, 133.
Jones, Charles, 2001. John Wild of Littleleek, an early eighteenth-century spelling reformer,
and the evolution of a new alphabet. English Language and Linguistics 5, 17.
Jones, Michael A., 1983. Getting ‘tough’ with Wh-movement. Journal of Linguistics 19, 129.
Kac, Michael B., 1972. Clauses of saying and the interpretation of because. Language 48, 626.
Kaisse, Ellen, Shaw, Patricia, 1985. On the theory of lexical phonology. Phonology Yearbook
2, 29.
Kathel, Andreas, 2001. Positional effects in a monostretal grammar of German. Journal of
Linguistics 371, 35.
Kay, Paul, 2002. English subjectless tagged sentences. Language 78, 453.
Keller, Frank, Asudeh, Ash, 2002. Probabilistic learning algorithms and optimality theory.
Linguistic Inquiry 33, 225.
Kim, Nam-Kil, 1975. The double past in Korean. Foundations of Language 12, 529.
Kirchner, Robert, 1997. Contrastiveness and faithfulness. Phonology 14, 83.
Kornai, Andras, Pullum, Geoffrey K., 1990. The X-bar theory of phrase structure. Language
66, 24.
Koutlaki, Sofia A., 2002. Offers and expressions of thanks as face saving acts: tæ‘aref in
Persian. Journal of Pragmatics 34, 1733.
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 555

Kraehenmann, Astrid, 2001. Swiss German stops: geminates all over the word. Phonology 18,
109.
Ladd, Jr., D. Robert, 1978. Stylised intonation. Language 54, 517.
Laudau, Idan, 2002. (Un)interpretable negatives in comp. Linguistic Inquiry 33, 465.
Lee, Chungmin, 1975. Embedded performatives. Language 51, 105.
Levinson, Stephen H. 1975. Progression and digression in Inga (Quechuan) discourse. Forum
Linguisticum 1,122.
Li, Charles N., 1975. Synchrony v. diachrony in language structure. Language 51, 873.
Linda Lombardi, 2002. Coronal epenthesis and markedness. Phonology 19, 219.
Lorenzo-Dus, Nuria, 2005. A rapport and impression management approach to public figures’
performance of talk. Journal of Pragmatics 37, 611.
Lu, Ching-ching, et al., 2001. Syntactic priming of nouns and verbs in Chinese. Language and
Speech 44, 457.
Martin, Edwin, Jr., Smith, David Woodruff, 1975. On the nature and relevance of
indeterminacy. Foundations of Language 12, 49.
Matsumoto, Yo, 1996. How abstract is subjective motion? A comparison of coverage path
expressions. In: Goldberg, Adele E. (Ed.), Conceptual Structure, Discourse and Language, CSLI
(Center of the Studies of Language and Information, Stanford, CA, p. 359.
McAlpin, David W., 1974. Toward Proto-Elamo-Dravidian. Language 50, 89.
McCauley, Monica, Brice, Collen, 1997. Don’t touch my projectile: gender bias and
stereotyping in syntactic examples. Language 73, 798.
Meechan, Marjory, Foley, Michele, 1994. On resolving disagreement: linguistic theory and
variation-there’s bridges. Language Variation and Change 6, 63.
Meug, Michael, Bader, Markus, 2000. Mode of disambiguation and garden-path strength: an
investigation of subject-object ambiguities in German. Language and Speech 43, 43.
Miller, D. Gary, 1977. Language change and poetic options. Language 53, 21.
Miner, Kenneth L., 1975. English inflectional endings and unordered rules. Foundations of
Language 12, 339.
Montgomery, Michael, Fuller, Janet M., DeMarse, Sharon, 1993. ‘The black man has wives
and sweet harts [and third person plural -s] jest like the white men’: evidence for verbal -s from
written documents on 19th-century African American speech. Language Variation and Change,
53, 335.
Murray, Dinah, 1983. Conversational concerns: issues. Journal of Pragmatics 7, 1.
Nanni, Deborah L., 1980. On the surface syntax of constructions with easy-type adjectives.
Language 56, 568.
Napoli, Donna Jo, 1983. Comparative ellipsis: a phrase structure analysis. Linguistic Inquiry
14, 675.
Narang, G.C., Becker, Donald A., 1971. Aspiration and nasalization in the generative
phonology of Hindi-Urdu. Language 47, 646.
Nathan, Geoffrey, 1968. In: Nikiforidou, Vassiliki, et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twelfth
Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, p. 221.
Nyman, Martti A., 1977. Where does Latin sum come from? Language 53, 39.
Ogihara, Toshiyuki, 1995. Double-access sentences and reference to states. Natural Language
Semantics 3, 177.
Ohala, John, 1986. Consumer’s guide to evidence in phonology. Phonology Yearbook 3, 22.
Ohala, Manjari, 1974. The abstractness controversy: experimental input from Hindi.
Language 50, 225.
556 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

Ojeda, Almerindo, 1998. The semantics of collectives and distributives in Papago. Natural
Language Semantics 6, 245.
Paolillo, John C., 2000. Formalizing formality: an analysis of register variation in Sinhala.
Journal of Linguistics 36, 215.
Paradis, Carole, LaCharité, Darlene, 2001. Guttural deletion in loanwords. Phonology 18,
255.
Parker, Steve, 2001. Non-optimal onsets in Chamicuro: an inventory maximized in coda
position. Phonology 18, 361.
Perlmutter, David M., 1983. Personal vs. impersonal constructions. Natural Language &
Linguistic Theory 1, 141.
Peters, Ann M., 1977. Language learning strategies: does the sum equal the whole of the
parts? Language 53, 560.
Postal, Paul M., Pullum, Geoffrey K., 1988. Expletive noun phrases in subcategorized
positions. Linguistic Inquiry 19, 635.
Pullum, Geoffrey, Wilson, Deirdre, 1977. Autonomous syntax and the analysis of auxiliaries.
Language 53, 741.
Quicoli, A. Carlos, 1976. Conditions on quantifier movement in French. Linguistic Inquiry 7,
583.
Rankin, Robert, 1992. Language in the Americas. International Journal of American
Linguistics 58, 324.
Roberts, Ian, 1994. Two types of head movement in Romance. In: Lightfoot, David,
Hornstein, Norbert (Eds.), Verb Movement. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Roca, Iggy, 1992. On the sources of word prosody. Phonology 9, 284.
Rojas, Nelson, 1977. Referentiality of Spanish noun phrases. Language 53, 61.
Rubach, Jerzy, 1984. Segmental rules of English and cyclic phonology. Language 60, 21.
Rudanko, Juhani, 2005. Prepositions and Complement Clauses. SUNY Press, Albany, NY, p.
viii.
Sadock, Jerrold M., 1980. Noun incorporation in Greenlandic: a case of syntactic word
formation. Language 56, 300.
Sadock, Jerry M., Yuasa, Tetsuyo, 2002. Psuedo-subordination: a mismatch between syntax
and semantics. Journal of Linguistics 38, 87.
Safir, Ken. Perception, selection, and structural economy. Natural Language Semantics 2, 47.
Sampson, Geoffrey, 2002. Regional variation in the English verb qualifier system. English
Language and Linguistics 6, 17.
Sampson, Geoffrey, 1974. Is there a universal phonetic alphabet? Language 50, 236.
Sauerland, Uli, Telbourne, Paul, 2002. Total reconstruction, PF movement, and derivational
order. Linguistic Inquiry 33, 283.
Scheibman, Joanne, 2001. Local patterns of subjectivity in person and verb type in American
English conversation. In: Bybee, Joan L., Hopper, Paul (Eds.), Frequency and the Emergence of
Linguistic Structure. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, p. 1.
Sedano, Mercedes, 1994. Evaluation of two hypotheses about the alternation between aquı́
and acá in a corpus of present-day Spanish. Language Variation and Change, 6, 223.
Shaffer, Alan, 1977. Afrikaans as a Case Study in Vernacular Elevation and Standardizatin.
Forum Linguisticum 1, 159.
Shibatani, Masayoshi, 1972. The non-cyclic nature of Japanese accentuation. Language 48,
584.
Sihler, Andrew, 1971. Word-initial semivowel alternation in the Rigveda. Language 4, 53.
J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558 557

Silva-Corvalin, Carmen, 1986. Bilingualism and language: the extension of estar in Los
Angeles Spanish. Language 62, 587.
Sobin, Nicholas, 2002. The comp-trace effect, the adverb effect and minimal CP. Journal of
Linguistics 38, 527.
Stahlke, Herbert F.W., 1976. Which that. Language 52, 584.
Sternefeld, Wolfgang, 1998. Reciprocity and cumulative prediction. Natural Language
Semantics 6, 303.
Szabolasi, Anna, 1992. Weak islands, individuals and people. In: Barker, Chris, Dowty, David
(Eds.), Proceedings of the Second Conference on Semantics and Linguistic Theory. Columbus,
Ohio: Ohio State University Press, p. 407.
Tanaka, Hidekazu, 2001. Right-dislocation as scrambling. Journal of Linguistics 37, 551.
Tanaka, Hidekazu, 2002. Raising to object out of CP. Linguistic Inquiry 33, 637.
Tanako, Shoji, 2005. Re-examining linguistic power. Journal of Pragmatics 37, 633.
Tash, Marlene, 1979. Headlines in advertising: the semantics of deviation. Forum
Linguisticum 3, 240.
Taylor, Alan, 1976. ‘Ergative-based’ or ‘transitive-based’? Foundations of Language 14, 1.
Tennin, Carol L., 1995. Modularity in thematic versus aspectival licensing: paths and moved
objects in motion verbs. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 58, 201.
Toivonen, Ida, 2002. The direct motion construction in Swedish. Journal of Linguistics 38,
313.
Tomioka, Satoshi, 1999. A sloppy identity puzzle. Natural Language Semantics 7, 217.
Truckenbrodt, Hubert, 2002. Upstep and embedded register levels. Phonology 19, 77.
Vennemann, Theo, 1971. The phonology of Gothic vowels. Language 47, 90.
Von Fintel, Kai, 1992. Adverbial, quantification, complex conditionals, and focus. In: Barker,
Chris, Dowty, David (Eds.), SALT II. Proceedings of the Second Conference on Semantics and
Linguistic Theory. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, p. 59.
von Stechow, Arnim, 1996. Against LF pied-piping. Natural Language Semantics 4, 57.
Warner, Natasha, et al., 2001. The phonological status of Dutch epenthetic schwa. Phonology
18, 387.
Wasow, Thomas, 2002. Postverbal Behavior. CSLI Publications, Stanford, CA.,p.x.
Williamson, Kay, 1977. Multivalued features for consonants. Language 53, 843.
Winter, Shuly, 2000. Definiteness in the Hebrew noun phrase. Journal of Linguistics 36, 319.
Wolfram, Walt, 1974. The relationship of White Southern speech to Vernacular Black English.
Language 50, 498.
Yamashita, Hiroko, 2000. Structural computation and the role of morphological markings in
the processing of Japanese. Language and Speech 43, 429.

References

Ameka, Felix, 1987. A comparative analysis of linguistic routines in two languages: English and Ewe. Journal of
Pragmatics 11, 299–326.
Aristotle, 1954. Rhetoric (W.R. Roberts, Trans.). Random House, New York.
Bijkerk, Annemieke, 2004. Yours sincerely and yours affectionately: on the origin and development of two positive
politeness markers. Journal of Historical Pragmatics 5, 297–311.
Blum-Kulka, Shoshana, House, Juliane, Kasper, Gabriele, 1989. Cross-cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies.
Ablex, Norwood, NJ.
Brown, Penelope, Levinson, Stephen, 1987. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge.
558 J. Bing, C. Ruhl / Journal of Pragmatics 40 (2008) 537–558

Butler, Judith, 1990. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, New York and London.
Cherry, Roger, 1998. Ethos versus persona: self-representation in written discourse. Written Communication 5, 251–276.
Coulmas, Florian, 1981. Introduction: conversational routine. In: Coulmas, F. (Ed.), Conversational Routine: Explorations
in Standardized Communication Situations and Prepatterned Speech. Mouton, The Hague, pp. 1–17.
Eckert, Penelope, McConnell-Ginet, Sally, 1992. Think practically and look locally: language and gender as community-
based practice. Annual Review of Anthropology 21, 461–490.
Fraser, Bruce, 1981. On apologizing. In: Coulmas, F. (Ed.), Conversational Routine: Explorations in Standardized
Communication Situations and Prepatterned Speech. Mouton, The Hague, pp. 259–271.
Goffman, Erving, 1971. Relations in Public. Basic Books, Inc., New York.
Goldberg, Philip A., 1976. Misogyny and the college girl. In: Golden, M., Patricia, (Eds.), The Research Experience. F.E.
Peacock, Itasca, Ill.
Harwood, Nigel, 2005. ‘Nowhere has anyone attempted. . . In this article I aim to do just that’ a corpus-based study of self-
promotional I and we in academic writing across four disciplines. Journal of Pragmatics 37, 1207–1231.
Hewitt, John, Stokes, Randall, 1975. Disclaimers. American Sociological Review 40, 1–11.
Holmes, Janet, Meyerhoff, Miriam, 1999. The community of practice: theories and methodologies in language and gender
research. Language in Society 28, 173–183.
Hyland, Ken, 2003. Dissertation acknowledgements: the anatomy of a Cinderella genre. Written Communication 20, 242–
268.
Irvine, Judith, 2001. ‘‘Style’’ as distinctiveness: the culture and ideology of linguistic differentiation. In: Eckert, P.,
Rickford, J. (Eds.), Style and Sociolinguistic Variation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 21–43.
Joos, Martin, 1961. The Five Clocks. Harcourt, Brace and World, New York.
Joseph, John, 2004. Language and Identity: National, Ethnic, Religious. Malgrave Macmillan, New York.
Keller, Eric, 1979. Gambits: conversational strategy signals. Journal of Pragmatics 3, 219–238.
Kirchner, Robert, 1997. Contrastiveness and faithfulness. Phonology 14, 83–112.
Lave, Jean, Wegner, Etienne, 1991. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge.
Laver, John, 1981. Linguistic routines and politeness in greeting and parting. In: Coulmas, F. (Ed.), Conversational
Routine: Explorations in Standardized Communication Situations and Prepatterned Speech. Mouton, The Hague, pp.
1–17.
Leech, Geoffrey, 1983. Principles of Pragmatics. Longman, London.
Maynes, Joan, Wolfson, Nessa, 1981. The compliment formula. In: Coulmas, F. (Ed.), Conversational Routine:
Explorations in Standardized Communication Situations and Prepatterned Speech. Mouton, The Hague, pp.
115–132.
McDowell, Edwin, 1984. Doris Lessing says she used pen name to show new writer’ difficulties. The New York Times on
the Web, September 23. http://www.nytimes.com/ Retrieved, January 11, 2007.
McLaughlin, Margaret, 1984. Conversation: How Talk is Organized. Sage, Beverly Hills, CA.
Mey, Jacob, 1993. Pragmatics: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishers Ltd., Oxford.
Overstreet, Maryanne, Yule, George, 2001. Formulaic disclaimers. Journal of Pragmatics 33, 45–60.
Rickford, John, Eckert, Penelope, 2001. Introduction. In: Eckert, P., Rickford, J. (Eds.), Style and Sociolinguistic
Variation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 1–18.
Scheibman, Joanne, 2002. Point of View and Grammar: Structural Patterns of Subjectivity in American English
Conversation. John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Searle, John, 1970. Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Suszczyńska, Małgorzata, 1999. Apologizing in English, Polish and Hungarian: different languages, different strategies.
Journal of Pragmatics 31, 1053–1065.
Wichmann, Anne, 2004. The intonation of please-requests: a corpus-based study. Journal of Pragmatics 36, 1521–1549.
Wray, Alison, Perkins, M., 2000. The functions of formulaic language: an integrated model. Language & Communication
20, 1–28.