Erin Butler

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2017

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

First Advisor

Lee, Janie

Major or Concentration



This study explores the use of creaky voice in mitigating face threatening acts. Through the perspective of conversational analysis, examples of salient creaky voice from two audio recordings are analyzed for their role in instances of face threatening acts. The examples of face threatening acts used in this study include commands, requests, disagreements, suggestions, and jokes. Brown and Levinson's (1987) theory of politeness is used as the basis of defining face threatening acts, positive and negative face, and strategies for completing face threatening acts. The analysis shows that salient creaky voice is used in all the examples presented of face threatening acts. This use of creaky voice to mitigate face threatening acts may come from its ability to evoke or signal emotional affect and may be one of many possible functions of creaky voice in interaction.