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Research Methods for T&I Studies I Politeness Phenomena.

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1 Research Methods for T&I Studies I Politeness Phenomena

2 Grice’s Cooperative Principle Grice’s Cooperative Principle (CP)  Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged (Grice 1991: 307).

3 Grice’s Conversational Maxims Maxim of Quantity Maxim of Quality (try to make your contribution one that is true) Maxim of Relation (be relevant) Maxim of Manner (be perspicuous)

4 Politeness Extra maxims in addition to 4 maxims in the cooperative principle? Social maxim: Be polite Politeness Theory  Brown & Levinson 1997

5 Politeness … a great deal of the mismatch between what is ‘said’ and what is ‘implicated’ can be attributed to politeness, so that concern with the ‘representational functions’ of language should be supplemented with attention to the ‘social functions’ of language, which seem to motivate much linguistic detail. (Brown and Levinson 1987:2-3)

6 Politeness and the Cooperative Principle “the only essential presumption is what is at the heart of Grice’s proposals, namely that there is a working assumption by conversationalists of the rational and efficient nature of talk. It is against that assumption that polite ways of talking show up as deviations, requiring rational explanation on the part of the recipient, who finds in considerations of politeness reasons for the speaker’s apparent irrationality or inefficiency” (Brown & Levinson 1987:4).

7 Politeness and the Cooperative Principle “The CP defines an ‘unmarked’ or socially neutral (indeed asocial) presumptive framework for communication; the essential assumption is ‘no deviation from rational efficiency without a reason’. Politeness principles are, however, just such principled reasons for deviation” (Brown & Levinson 1987:5).

8 Politeness Face  The public self-image that every member wants to claim for himself, consisting of two related aspects Negative face Positive face

9 Face Negative Face  the basic claim to territories, personal preserves, rights to non-distraction i.e. to freedom of action and freedom from imposition Positive Face  the positive consistent self-image or ‘personality’ (crucially including the desire that this self-image be appreciated and approved of) claimed by interactants. (Brown & Levinson 1987:61)

10 Politeness The means we employ in interaction to show awareness of someone else’s face  Socially distant Respect, deference  Socially close Friendliness, solidarity  Different types of politeness marked linguistically

11 Politeness Face wants  Need to feel independent  Need to be part of a group and be accepted by members of that group Face: a universal feature?  Cultures where positive face is much more important than negative face (Japan) Face: Can be lost, threatened, maintained or enhanced

12 Politeness Face Threatening Acts (FTAs)  On record A speaker goes on record if it is clear to the participants what the intention of the utterance is – i.e. when there is no ambiguity regarding the speaker’s intention. Going on record becomes an FTA when it threatens the hearer’s positive or negative face. So, saying ‘I want you to open this door for me’ is an on record statement that threatens the hearer’s negative face, because it involves direct, unmitigated imposition. ‘You look awful’ would threaten the hearer’s positive face.

13 Politeness FTAs  Off record Going off record means that there is more than one intention that can be attributed to the speaker (more ambiguity), which means that the speaker cannot be said to have committed him/herself to one particular intent, e.g. ‘It’s really hot in here’.

14 Politeness FTAs  Reasons for FTA on record when the relevance of face demands may be suspended in the interests of urgency or efficiency (e.g. ‘Watch out’, ‘Move away from the fire’, etc.); when the danger to the hearer’s face is very small, for example in the case of requests, offers, and suggestions that are in the hearer’s interest. e.g. ‘Come in’, ‘Sit down’, ‘Do be careful’; when the speaker is vastly superior in power to the hearer or can “enlist audience support to destroy H’s face without losing his own”.

15 Politeness On record FTAs  Going on record without redressive action, baldly ‘I want you to open the door for me’  Going on record with redressive action Positive Politeness  Oriented towards the hearer’s positive face Negative Politeness  Oriented towards the hearer’s negative face

16 Politeness Positive Politeness  the speaker may soften the FTA by appearing to notice or attend to the hearer’s interests, wants or needs, e.g. ‘You must be hungry by now. How about some lunch?’.  the speaker may soften the FTA by using in-group identity markers, including address forms that signal solidarity or in- group membership, e.g. ‘Help me with this bag here, will you son/luv/pal/mate?’, ‘Let me have that dear’. Also use of in-group language or dialect.  the speaker may soften the FTA by showing token agreement with the other participant, e.g. A: What is she, small? B: Yes, yes, she’s small, smallish, um, not really small but certainly not very big.

17 Politeness Positive Politeness (cont.)  use of hedges: e.g. ‘I kind of want him to win the race, since I’ve bet on him’, ‘I don’t know, like I think people have a right to their own opinions’. Hedges are particularly effective in softening FTAs of suggesting or criticizing or complaining, by blurring the speaker’s intent a bit ‘You really sort of botched it, didn’t you?’; ‘You really should sort of try harder’; ‘My husband is always sort of at me, you know’.  joking: jokes may be used as a politeness strategy to put the hearer at ease. For example, a joke may minimize an FTA of requesting, e.g. ‘OK if I tackle those cookies now?’; ‘How about lending me this old heap of junk?’ (a new Cadillac).

18 Politeness Negative Politeness  Apologise for doing the FTA. The most straightforward way of expressing negative politeness is to express reluctance to impose ‘I hate to impose, but..’, ‘I hesitate to bother you with this, but..’, which is a type of apology. Other ways of apologising for the imposition include giving overwhelming reasons for the imposition (‘I can think of nobody else who could do this for me...’, ‘I’m absolutely lost...’, ‘There’s no one else I could ask’) and begging forgiveness (‘Please forgive me for troubling you..’, ‘Excuse me, but...’).  Don’t coerce: express pessimism about the hearer’s ability to oblige ‘I don’t suppose you could lend me a hand with this?’ ‘I could do with some help, but I expect you’re too busy right now’; ‘I don’t suppose you can spare a cigarette?’.

19 Politeness Negative Politeness (cont.)  Go on record as incurring a debt, or as not indebting the hearer: explicitly claim indebtedness to the hearer, OR disclaim any indebtedness of the hearer to you. E.g. for requests: ‘I’d be eternally grateful if you would...’ ‘I’ll never be able to repay you for..’ - OR, for offers: ‘It’s no trouble at all, I have to go there anyway’.  Impersonalize speaker and hearer ‘It appears that x is needed’; ‘It’s time to..’; ‘Further details should have been sent to us..’; ‘One shouldn’t do things like that’.  Use diminutives Could I have a little look at your paper?  Use lexical misrepresentation Could I borrow an egg?

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