Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Department of Romance Languages and Linguistics

Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Julie Roberts


Dog Related Speech, Linguistics, Pragmatics, Communication, Audience Design, Politeness Theory


In this thesis I investigate the pragmatics of dog-related speech (DRS), or the ways in which people use language when speaking around dogs. I will focus on several varieties of speech that are directed to or through a dog but are in fact intended for another human present. In particular, I look at a phenomenon that I will refer to as “interactive dogcourse” where members within the ingroup of “dog people” interact with one another in a ritualized structure of language, specific to speech with dogs, that characteristically takes on a playful, and often teasing, undertone. I argue that the structure of dogcourse in relation to speech act theory, speech acts, audience design, and politeness theory allows for a distinct environment within which people effectively communicate with one another and accomplish a variety of different social functions. I analyze both how and why people utilize DRS and interactive dogcourse to communicate with others by analyzing the form taken by such speech events, the function of dog-mediated speech, and the power/effect of the language itself.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.