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POLITENESS Linguistic action which makes communication possible between competitive parties because it neutralize the potencial for aggression in social.

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Presentation on theme: "POLITENESS Linguistic action which makes communication possible between competitive parties because it neutralize the potencial for aggression in social."— Presentation transcript:

1 POLITENESS Linguistic action which makes communication possible between competitive parties because it neutralize the potencial for aggression in social interaction. (Brown & Levinston)

2 FACE The term, Face, idiomatically refers to one's own sense of dignity or prestige in social contexts.

3 FACE NEGATIVE FACE: The basic claim to territories, personal preserves and in general freedom of action. POSITIVE FACE: The desire that one's self image be appreciated and sanctioned by others.

4 FACE THREATENING ACTS In social interaction there are some acts (verbal and not verbal) which intrinsically threaten face. These acts can endanger either the Hearer's or the Speaker's positive or negative face.

5 THREATS TO THE NEGATIVE FACE OF THE HEARER Orders, requests Suggestions, advices Remindings Threats, warnings OF THE SPEAKER Expressing thanks Expressing apology Accepting thanks Accepting apology

6 THREATS TO THE POSITIVE FACE OF THE HEARER Expressions of disapproval, criticism, complaints, insult Disagreement Irriverence, mention of taboo subjects Expression of violent emotions OF THE SPEAKER Self-humiliation, self- contraddiction Acting stupid Confessing, admitting guilt or responsability Lack of emotional control (e.g. laughter, tears)

7 Politeness includes all the strategies to minimize face threatening acts cooperating in order to protect the mutual vulnerability of face.

8 NEGATIVE POLITENESS: Linguistic behaviors which signal that the Speaker recognize the Hearer's fundamental right to autonomy (protecting negative face). e.g. Apologizing, being indirect, not coercing, impersonalizing etc. POSITIVE POLITENESS: Linguistic behavior signalling that the Speaker wants/ needs/ appreciates the same things as the Hearer (protecting positive face). e.g. Using in-group identity markers, avoiding disagreement, exaggerating interest, joking etc.

9 The level of politeness which the Speaker will use to the Hearer depends on three factors: DISTANCE (between S&H): How close the speaker is in social terms to the hearer. POWER (of H): how much power the hearer can exert over the speaker. RANK (of the imposition): how imposing the act is considered to be in the given culture.

10 1984 – GEORGE ORWELL Text Analysis on Politeness

11 MAIN CHARACTERS ► Winston – hardly interacts with anyone (except from Julia and O’brien) due to the political situation. ► Julia – Winston’s love affair. She’s energic, defiant and self confident. ► O’Brien – Winston’s “friend” who betrays him. Member of the ‘Thinkpol’

12 DIALOGUES: Winston and Julia ▪ They have a relationship between equals and they’re both aware of it ▪ Julia is the one who first approches and makes practical arranges to meet. ▪ The way she talks to him sets the tone for the rest of their relationship

13 ‘‘Can you hear me?’’ ‘‘Yes.’’ ‘‘Can you get Sunday afternoon off?’’ ‘‘Yes.’’ ‘‘Then listen carefully. You’ll have to remember this. Go to Paddington Station --- (...) Are you sure you remember everything?’’ ‘‘Yes.’’ ‘‘Then get away from me as quickly as you can’’ (p. 121–122)

14 DIALOGUES : Winston and Julia ▪ Total absence of any politeness strategy (no greetings or goodbyes) ▪ Julia’s speech acts (request, instructions, order) are threatening ▪ She uses a lot of imperatives (‘listen’, ‘go’, ‘get’ etc.) ▪ Explicit record

15 DIALOGUES : Winston and Julia ▪ Winston: monosyllabic answers. He knows that by talking to each other they risk death. ▪ They avoid any politeness artifice and keep using face-threatening sentences

16 ‘‘We are the dead’’, he said. ‘‘We’re not dead yet’’, said Julia prosaically. ‘‘Not physically. Six months, a year—five years, conceivably. (...) But it makes very little difference. So long as human beings stay human, death and life are the same thing.’’ ‘‘Oh, rubbish! Which would you sooner sleep with, me or a skeleton?’’ (p. 142)

17 DIALOGUES : Winston and Julia ▪ Disagreement – according to Brown and Levinson’s strategy avoiding it is important to claim empathy, common opinion and point of view with the hearer ▪ Julia always contradicts Winston and swears, threatening against his positive face

18 ‘‘I’m not interested in the next generation, dear. I’m interested in us.’’ ‘‘You’re only a rebel from the waist downwards’’, he told her. She thought this brilliantly witty and flung her arms around him in delight. (p. 163)

19 ▪ It’s now Wilson who turns Julia’s positive face with a bad-taste insult ▪ Julia’s reaction shows that their relationship is not based on politeness stereotypes ▪ Julia is never offended by Winston’s violent or insulting words, even if they threaten to her positive face DIALOGUES : Winston and Julia

20 SOCIOLOGIAL FACTORS vs. W&J ○ Ranking – They don’t revert to a ‘polite’ mode even when the ranking of imposition is strong ○ Power – Nor Julia, neither Winston is assigned more power than the other. That’s why they don’t use any particular politeness strategy ○ Distance – Not relevant between them. The distance factor is replaced by affect. They don’t need politeness because they’re intimate and they like each other

21 DISTANCE : The change at the end There did not seem to be anything more to say. The wind plastered their thin overalls against their bodies. Almost at once it became embarrassing to sit there in silence: besides, it was too cold to keep still. She said something about catching her Tube and stood up to go. ‘‘We must meet again,’’ he said. ‘‘Yes,’’ she said, ‘‘we must meet again’’. (p. 306)

22 ● The conversation ends with a very polite note ● This is the sign that the distance between them has begun to grow ● It’s a lie, they don’t actually want to meet each other again DISTANCE : The change at the end

23 ► We can find two different approaches to conversation between Winston and O'Brien: before and after the betrayal DIALOGUES : Winston and O'Brien

24 BEFORE CONVERSATION BEFORE THE BETRAYAL ▪ Winston (Outer Party) is aware of the institutional distance between him and O'Brien (Inner Party) and he's hesitant. ▪ On the other side, O'Brien is the master of the conversation. He leads Winston wherever he wants, but always in a corteous way and using positive politeness strategies. ▪ This asymmetrical relationship is confirmed and reinforced by polite discourses.

25 (p. 177) ‘‘Shall I say it, or will you?’’ he [O’Brien] said. ‘‘I will say it,’’ said Winston promptly. ‘‘That thing is really turned off?’’ ‘‘Yes, everything is turned off. We are alone.’’ ‘‘We have come here because ---’’ (p. 178) ‘‘Martin is one of us’’, said O’Brien impassively. ‘‘Bring the drinks over here, Martin. Put them on the round table. Have we enough chairs? Then we may as well sit down and talk in comfort.’’ BEFORE CONVERSATION BEFORE THE BETRAYAL (1)

26 ▪ O'Brien's decision to use the first-person plural pronoun affects on Winston's “positive face”. ▪ This discursive trick gives to Winston a suggestion of inclusiveness in something bigger, even familiar. ▪ In this way Winston is subliminally convinced to reveal his intentions to join the conspiracy to which he suspects O’Brien of belonging. BEFORE CONVERSATION BEFORE THE BETRAYAL (1)

27 (p. 179) ‘‘Then there is such a person as Goldstein?’’ he said. ‘‘Yes, there is such a person and he is alive. Where, I do not know.’’ ‘‘And the conspiracy—the organization? Is it real? Is it not simply an invention of the Thought Police?’’ ‘‘No, it is real. The Brotherhood, we call it (...)’’ BEFORE CONVERSATION BEFORE THE BETRAYAL (1)

28 ▪ The two answers given by O'Brien to Winston contain another positive politeness strategy, the seek agreement. ▪ The repetition of expressions used by Winston (there is such a person and it is real) signals that the speaker ‘notices’ and ‘attends to’ the hearer’s interests and needs”. BEFORE CONVERSATION BEFORE THE BETRAYAL (2)

29 ▪ Winston has been betrayed by O'Brien, and he is now under interrogation. ▪ O'Brien is only the traitor, but also the torturer, and its fiendish transmutation halfway is accompanied by a corresponding change in his discursive ways. AFTER CONVERSATION AFTER THE BETRAYAL

30 (p. 260) ‘‘(...) Then where does the past exist, if at all?’’ ‘‘In records. It is written down.’’ ‘‘In records. And - --?’’ ‘‘In the mind. In human memories.’’ ‘‘In memory. Very well, then. We, the party, control records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?’’ AFTER CONVERSATION AFTER THE BETRAYAL (1)

31 ▪ As the interrogaton takes place, O'Brien starts to break all the postive politeness strategies he used to use before the betrayal. ▪ At the beginning he still try to be polite, using praise formula like “very well, then”, or expressions like “do we not?” (1 st person plural pronoun). AFTER CONVERSATION AFTER THE BETRAYAL (1)

32 (p. 265) ‘‘Do you know where you are, Winston?’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t know. I can guess. In the Ministry of Love.’’ ‘‘Do you know how long you have been here?’’ ‘‘I don’t know. Days, weeks, months—I think it is months.’’ ‘‘And why do you imagine that we bring people to this place?’’ ‘‘To make them confess.’’ ‘‘No, that is not the reason. Try again.’’ ‘‘To punish them.’’ ‘‘No!’’ exclaimed O’Brien. AFTER CONVERSATION AFTER THE BETRAYAL (2)

33 ▪ As the session proceeds, pain-infliction increases, and so does O’Brien’s violation of politeness rules. ▪ In this dialogue O’Brien willfully ignores each and every answer Winston gives to his questions, breaching the ‘seek agreement’ positive politeness principle. AFTER CONVERSATION AFTER THE BETRAYAL (2)

34 (p. 274) ‘‘(...) What is our motive? Why should we want power? Go on, speak’’ he added, as Winston remained silent. (...) ‘‘You are ruling over us for our own good’’, he said feebly. ‘‘You believe that human beings are not fit to govern themselves, and therefore - --’’ He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain had shot through his body. O’Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up to thirty-five. ‘‘That was stupid, Winston, stupid!’’ he said. AFTER CONVERSATION AFTER THE BETRAYAL (3)

35 ► In one of the most violent moments of the text, O’Brien humiliates Winston verbally in a series of attacks that bear no resemblance to the initial stages of their relationship. AFTER CONVERSATION AFTER THE BETRAYAL (3)


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