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The Politeness Progressive Conjugation and the Language of Meditation

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The language of guided meditation prompts a call from Laura Davidson of San Jose, California. Is there a special reason those leading a guided meditation or yoga class so often speak in present participles, using phrases like sitting comfortably and breathing deeply, rather than using simple imperatives such as sit comfortably and breathe deeply? This kind of discourse, known as the politeness progressive, has the effect of inviting listeners to an experience and allowing each individual lots of leeway to find what actions, positions, and states of mind work best and feel most comfortable for them without feeling like they have to obey strict commands. This is part of a complete episode.

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