Phatic – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phatic

In linguistics, a phatic expression is one whose only function is to perform a social task, as opposed to conveying information…

For example, “you’re welcome” is not intended to convey the message that the hearer is welcome; it is a phatic response to being thanked, which in turn is a phatic whose function is to be polite in response to a gift.

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