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1 MODULE 2 Meaning and discourse in English COOPERATION, POLITENESS AND FACE Lecture 14.

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2 1 MODULE 2 Meaning and discourse in English COOPERATION, POLITENESS AND FACE Lecture 14

3 2 Cooperation and politeness Cooperative principles (Grice) Cooperation and speaker support Politeness Positive and negative face Analysing cooperation

4 3 A:Will you condemn the violence on the picket lines? B:I condemn the police and the National Coal Board This is an uncooperative response because it is not relevant

5 4 A:I’m tired B:There’s the Leonardo Hotel This is a cooperative response. We assume that it is relevant and that B is telling the truth

6 5 A:When was your first sexual experience B:What wonderful weather we’re having? B’s response is not relevant so we assume that B does not want to cooperate

7 6 Grice’s maxims 1. Quantity - make your contribution as informative as required 2. Quality -be true; do not say what you believe to be false 3. Relation - be relevant 4. Manner - avoid obscurity of expression, ambiguity; be brief, orderly

8 7 A:Could you pass the salt please? B:Could you give me £100 please? A’s request doesn’t need mitigation B’s request is inappropriate because it is more imposing and needs more mitigation

9 8 It’s very windy here. I’m very sorry but I wonder if you could move over a bit? Could you move over please? Can we move please? Please move Move! The more polite you are, the more you risk losing the message

10 9 Oh, sorry. I heard voices and I wondered who it was. Please could you stop talking I’m trying to work Hey, I’ve got an exam to study for. Is there somewhere else you could talk? Shut up, will you? The level of politeness used in an utterance depends on the role of the person you are talking to and the power relations that exist between speaker and hearer

11 10 “This food is delicious” If you have cooked the meal, which is the most appropriate response? - yes, it is - I’m afraid it’s a bit overcooked - I’m glad you like it Why do we respond in this way?

12 11 Catch-22 situation If you do not agree with them you are threatening their positive face

13 12 Speaker support Speakers usually work together to help and reassure each other. This is called speaker support. It is important to recognise the techniques used in a conversation for speaker support (e.g. for showing agreement, for checking understanding

14 13 Politeness Sometimes a speaker’s role gives them the authority to challenge others. Presenting a challenge to someone is difficult but there are various politeness techniques which help us to do it (see summary)

15 14 Types of politeness A speaker can also imply respect for the hearer’s value system and membership of the same group POSITIVE POLITENESS Show interest in hearer Claim common ground with hearer Seek agreement Give sympathy NEGATIVE POLITENESS Be conventionally indirect Minimise imposition on hearer Ask for forgiveness Give deference

16 15 The concept of “face” (Brown and Levinson) B and L (looking at politeness in different cultures) suggest that we must acknowledge the face of other people if we want to enter into social relationships with them. Talk may be a face-threatening act which may damage negative face and positive face

17 16 Positive face = wanting to be liked and approved of Positive face is “I have a value system that I do not want challenged” Disagreeing with another person threatens their positive face If you want not to threaten positive face you should show interest and seek agreement Thanking another person does not threaten another person’s positive face

18 17 Negative face “don’t tell me what to do”. “I want to be free” Negative face is “I do not like to be imposed on” Telling someone what to do threatens their negative face

19 18 Being polite The more politeness we use in our speech, the more indirect we are. The advantage of using politeness terms is that there is no threat to face. The disadvantage is that a polite message might be so indirect that it doesn’t come across (“it’s very windy here”)

20 19 Lakoff’s maxims of politeness Don’t impose Give options Make the hearer feel good

21 20 Analysing cooperation Features of interaction Markers of politeness Markers of respect Vague language

22 21 Features of interaction Questions (open, closed, tag, + options) Commands Interruptions Overlaps Pauses Topic management Grice’s maxims (are they followed?) Discourse markers (see previous lessons Markers of politeness and respect

23 22 Markers of politeness Specific words (please, thanks) Hedges (if it’s not too much trouble) Hidden commands (could you pass the salt please) Provisional language (if would, can) to show negotiation is possible Qualifiers, modifiers (quite, a bit)

24 23 Markers of respect Inclusive pronouns - we, us Similar vocabulary, dialect, colloquial language Pseudo-agreement - (Would you like to come to my house? Well, I’d love to another time) This avoids saying no or disagreeing with a speaker

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