Langue française n° 160 (4/2008)
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“Style” figures of speech also are manifestations of speech acts. These acts demand that their contexts of enunciation should be taken into account, in order to be actualised in communication processes. This conception leads us to transcend the typological fragmentation antagonizing “word figures” and “thought figures”. Figurative language stages a problematized enunciation that incites a reflexion on a sort of modalisation. The coupled analysis of two figures concerned with the fact of “saying the least” i. e euphemism and litote aims at explaining the pragmatic divergence that many treaties attribute to them (to make the least heard, vs “awaken the idea of more”). If a confrontation of points of view underlies the act of toning down, the external point of view that crosses the enunciative process takes its source differently: it corresponds to an interdiscursive diaologism for euphemism and to an interlocutive diaologism for litote.