Politeness Patrick H. White-Thomson Socio-Linguistics 4/18/2010 Politeness What is Politeness? Politeness

Holding is: the door for a lady. Saying Please and Thank you Bowing when greeting an elder. the act of being polite (American Heritage Dictionary, 1971) Pragmatics Anti-Matter

Politeness Brown Man and Levinson (1978) is Rational Man develops strategies to attain goals/desires Politeness is motivated by the wants of the

face. Politeness Introduction Robin Lakoff (1972) 3 Maxims for Polite Behavior I.

II. III. Formality Hesitancy Equality Politeness Introduction I. Formality the way society views power relationships and the perceived

deference one must pay to these social dynamics . Example: Asian Countries (Bowing, Titles) Korean Friends. Politeness Introduction II. Hesitancy motivated by the need to present an addressee with options (Fasold, 1990). Polished etiquette dictates that one does

not "trap" his conversation partner into answering a confining question. Example: Or Politeness Introduction III. Equality is motivated by a speakers desire to make his audience feel as if they were an equal. Example: Compliments.

Three Speech Acts Formality The Refusal The Compliment

Speech Act #1: Formality Formality/Deference the extent to which formality is displayed varies extensively across cultures. Example: Asian Culture Influenced by Confucius Confucius taught that society should be harmonious. parents always hold authority over their children Teacher is an authority figure// treat with respect (Huang & Brown, 2009.)

Speech Act # 1 Confucianism continued: Takanashi Study (2004) In response to low TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores for Japanese Students. Dual Nature of Communication Soto- formal public image projected out to society. Uchi- private world of the individual.

Takanashi Study (2004) Presents Most Curriculum Planning Issues effective curriculum would be written for the uchi, but students only show the soto. (A student is) neither expected to request clarification, or to give negative opinions

during conversation, especially when persons with lower status or less power talk to persons with higher status or greater power (p. 10 )" Speech Act #2: The Refusal Preserving face not just of the speaker but also of the addressee has created a whole subset of polite classifications and behaviors.

The refusal is formed by a complex mixture of factors and motivations including gender, age, level of education, power, and social distance (FelixBrasdefer, 2008.) The Refusal Three Examples of Behaviors within Refusal I. The absence of Refusal: agreeing

with Everything (Chinese Students) II. Not delivering Bad News (Arab Example Lanteigne, 2007.) III. Refusing an invitation to participate (Felix-Brasdefer, 2008.) Felix-Brasdefer Study (2004) Refusal to attend A) the Boss retirement party and B) a friends birthday party. Results:

Focus of Response for Birthday Party Refusal : * 30% trying to formulate a reason for not attending * 30% expressing concern for friend * 40% being vague, focus on grammar, or try to find some compromise. Felix-Brasdefer Study (2008) Results:

Focus of Responses for Boss Retirement Party *60 % focused on providing a good explanation for not attending. *20% felt need to express concern for interlocutor ** Given sensitive nature of response, Participants mentally framed response in L1 (even advanced students)**** Speech Act #3 The Compliment

The Compliment: Used to build solidarity with addressee Positive Face Activity Different Views in Different Cultures Example: Samoans. The Compliment Compliment Study (Yu, 2005) Comparison of reactions to Compliments by Chinese and American students Finding 1: Compliments on Appearance:

* American students find acceptable * Chinese students associate physical compliments with sexual innuendo/ taboo. Compliment Study (Yu, 2005) Finding 2: Complimenting a Stranger/Acquaintance *American Students use compliments to build rapport, compliments are small talk. * Chinese Students take compliments very seriously, compliments are expressions of

true admiration of an individuals character Implications Politeness impacts language Good teaching requires that educator and student understand each other Politeness creates an additional obstacle between teacher and pupil.

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