Some courtesy formulas used by Syrian-Lebanese immigrants in Argentina
The use of formulaic phrases has attracted considerable interest in cultural studies, but little attention has been paid to sociolinguistic issues. This paper is a study of the linguistic courtesy expressions of Syrian-Lebanese, second-generation immigrants in Argentina. Based on secret recordings, and using an interpretive approach to transfer, this research explores the relationship between courtesy formulas in Arabic and their equivalent in Spanish. Formulas containing mainly somatic elements (hands and eyes) are selected to narrow the range of meanings of the targeted expressions. The approach to transfer is interpretive; the findings show how the formulas' structures are tailored to the requirements of different languages, and how different formulas are creatively employed to display and negotiate identities that are related to the status of immigrants in Argentina and their discursive spaces. © 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.