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Politeness Theory and Discourse

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1 Politeness Theory and Discourse
Lecture 8 Politeness Strategies

2 Objectives After this lecture, students should be able to: 1. Show understanding the function of politeness strategies 2. Name the politeness strategies 3. Explain the four different strategies including linguistic features associated with each. 4. Identify the politeness strategy used in various utterances 5. Show understanding of the reverse relationship between directness of expression and politeness

3 Politeness strategies
There are four politeness strategies used by people to maintain a balance in protecting the positive and the negative faces of each other and acting appropriately in social interactions. Starting with 1 the least direct (more polite) , and ending with 4, which is the most direct (least polite), here are the strategies: 1. Off-record (Least direct- Most polite) 2. Negative politeness 3. Positive politeness 4. On record baldly (Most direct- Least polite)

4 ------------------------------------------------------------
If we view the strategies on a continuous line, they would look like this:   Off-Record Negative Politeness Positive politeness On –Record baldly Least direct More direct More direct Most direct Most Polite Very polite Least polite

5 Thus, the less direct you are, the more polite you seem to be.
Conversely, the more blunt in stating your wants and needs in interactions, the less polite you seem to be.

6 ----------------------------------------------------------------
Thus, if you want to borrow your neighbor’s vacuum cleaner, this is how you may ask:   Off-Record Negative politeness Positive politeness On-Record baldly Our vacuum cleaner Could I, please, borrow your Susu, dear, I need to borrow Get the vacuum cleaner! Just broke down! vacuum cleaner for just an hour? the vacuum cleaner! The floors are very dusty!

7 OFF-Record: “Our vacuum cleaner just broke down! The floors are very dusty!” -No mention of an act to be requested. -Need is only hinted, not mentioned -Left for the hearer to infer the need Question: Why is this strategy considered the most polite? Why is it the least threatening of all strategies to the hearer’s negative face?

8 Negative Politeness: “Could I, please, borrow your vacuum cleaner for just an hour?” -Act is mentioned: “borrow you vacuum cleaner” -Use of yes-or-no question -Use of the modal ‘could’ -Use of ‘please’ -Use of the possessive determiner ‘your’ -Minimizing the imposition by using the prepositional time phrase ‘for just an hour’

9 Susu, dear, I need to borrow the vacuum cleaner right away!
Positive Politeness: -Use of nick name ‘Susu’ -Use of a term of endearment ‘dear’ -Use of the time expression ‘right away’ These three linguistic features show closeness of speaker to hearer. Susu, dear, I need to borrow the vacuum cleaner right away!

10 Get the vacuum cleaner! On-Record Baldly: -Explicit mention of act
-Use of direct order: Imperative syntactic structure Get the vacuum cleaner!

11 Exercises: A. Name the politeness strategy used in the following utterances. B. Support your choice by linguistic features used in the utterance: 1. ‘Interesting book! Pity I don’t have 30 SR on me!’ 2.“I don’t want to be a nuisance, but could you possibly tell me the address for the website they were talking about this morning?”

12 3. “Sorry to bother you. I couldn’t borrow $30, could I?”
4. “Mary, sweetie- I’d really appreciate it if you’d tell me the address of the website they were talking about this morning.” 5. “I know you hate parties, Jen, but come on any way. We’ll all be there, and it’ll be cool seeing you! Come on- get a life!” 6. The door-handle is falling off. Fix it.

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