Brown and levinson politeness some universals in language usage pdf

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Notes to pp. See also Lycan Tannen a and references therein. Mathiot , Slugoski , Scollon and Scollon , respectively. This paragraph is prompted by apposite remarks by Ruven Ogien. This paper has a broad sweep, and a diversity of motives.

It will help here at the beginning to extract and formulate our major aims. The foremost aim is simply to describe and account for what is in the light of current theory a most remarkable phenomenon. But why concern ourselves with this? Is this not a problem for ethology or psychology? We confess to underlying motives of a different sort. We believe that patterns of message construction, or 'ways of putting things', or simply language usage, are part of the very stuff that social relationships are made of or, as some would prefer, crucial parts of the expressions of social relations.

Discovering the prinCiples of language usage may be largely coincident with discovering the principles out of which social relationships, in their interactional aspect, are constructed: dimensions by which individuals manage to relate to others in particular ways. But what we present here is the tool, rather than its sociological application.

And since the tool is here presented with an explanatory account, we hope that its cross-cultural applicability may have more than purely descriptive status. Another point of immediate sociological relevance is methodological: anthropologists routinely make inferences about the nature of social relationships by observations of their interactional quality.

When made explicit these amount to principles like those here described. Until sociological methodology is explicit, descriptions will have an uncertain status and must be taken on the assumption that other observers so placed would similarly observe, It is against the background of these broad sociological aims, then, that the overt goals of this paper should be read.

Returning to the overt,. The wonders explored in cognitive psychology, linguistics, or artificial intelligence have no counterparts in social theory outside perhaps of some schools of cognitive anthropology, and ethnomethodology. Here we merely scratch, in a groping way, the surface of one area of interaction, and we wish to draw the attention of social scientists to the richness and complexity of the assumptions and inferences upon the basis of which humans understand and cooperate with one another.

Hence we identify message construction the cross-level structure of the total significance of interactional acts as the proper datum of the analysis of strategic language use. And since we see interaction as at once a the expression of social relationships and b cruciall built out of strategic language use, we identify strategic message construction as the key locus of the interface of language and society.

But to understand sociological aspects of language use one must first explore its systematics, as we do in this paper. And to show that the slogan can be made a programme is one of our aims. Weston La Barre , for instance, catalogues endless superficial differences in gesture as evidence of relativism in that sphere.

We hope to show that superficial diversities can emerge from underlying universal principles and are satisfactorily accounted for only in relation to them. In other words, one recognizes what people are doing in verbal exchanges e.

For instance, it is rarely that people actually say things like 'I hereby request.. Or again, even if one doesn't know the language, on seeing one person approach another with the kinesics of unusual deference not expectable simply by virtue of the statuses of the pair and speak to him with hesitations, umms and ahhs and the like, we have a strong clue that he is making a request or doing something that he considers or considers that the other will consider imposing.

As we began to formulate an account for our initial problem, we saw that it suggested a solution to some further problems. And finally, when making the sort of request that it is doubtful one should make at all, one tends to use indirect expressions implicatures.

The same holds, mutatis mutandis, for criticisms, offers, complaints, and many other types of verbal act. Our overall problem, then, is this: What sort of assumptions and what sort of reasoning are utilized by participants to produce such universal strategies of verbal interaction'! This is an essay not in analysis, but in constructivism. We attempt to account for some systematic aspects of language usage by constructing, tongue in cheek, a Model Person. All our Model Person MP consists in is a wilful fluent speaker of a natural language, further endowed with two special properties -- rationality and face.

By 'face' we mean something quite specific again: our MP is endowed with two particular wants - roughly, the want to be unimpeded and the want to be approved of in certain respects. With this cardboard figure we then begin to play: How would such a use language?

In particular, caught between the want to satisfy another MP's face wants and the want to say things that infringe those wants, what would our rational face-endowed being do? I n carrying out this programme we lay ourselves open to the attack that we are here inappropriately reviving the economic homunculus, since our predictive model is essentially built on the assumption of rational agents with certain properties.

However, there is intended no claim that 'rational face-bearing agents' are aU or always what actual humans are, but simply that these are! A stronger point is this: it can be demonstrated that in order to derive the kind of inferences from what is said that speakers can be shown to draw, such assumptions Simply have to be made. This is a technical point first made by Grice , when discussing 'conversational implicature' and substantiated by work in linguistics since.

If A says 'What time is itT, and B replies ' Well the postman's been already" then A assumes that what B said was rationally oriented to what A said, and hence A derives from B's utterance the inference that it is, say, past II a. This kind of inference is what we refer to throughout as 'conversational implicature' c. The whole exchange is heard as coherent only on the assumption that B intended to cooperate, and rationally chose a means that would achieve his cooperative end.

So in language usage, at any rate, it is demonstrable that such rational assumptions are in fact made. The chances are that if you actually ask a speaker why he said 'You couldn't by any chance tell me the time, could you? But although, as Lewis has argued , conventions can themselves be overwhelming reasons for doing things as anthropologists have usually assumed ,S there can be, and perhaps often are, rational bases for conventions. The observations below include, we claim, examples of such rationally based conventions.

We consider that if the predictions made by our model are borne out by the data drawn from usage in a small sample of unrelated cultures and languages, strong support may be inferred for the original assumptions.

Our data consist in first-hand tape-recorded usage for three languages: both sides of the Atlantic ; Tzeltal, a Mayan language in the community of Tenejapa in Chiapas, Mexico; and South Indian Tamil from a village in the Coimbatore District of Tamilnadu. This is supplemented by examples drawn from our native-speaker intuitions for English, and by elicited data for Tzeltal and Tamil.

Occasional examples are drawn from secondhand sources for Malagasy, Japanese, and other languages. We believe it is legitimate to project from a careful three-way experiment in three unrelated cultures to hypotheses about universals in verbal interaction because, as will become evident, the degree of detail in convergence lies far beyond the realm of chance. We outline the argument here, to keep it from getting lost in the detailed explanations and definitions that follow.

Concepts defined in the next section are in bold type. So S will want to maintain H's face, unless he can get H to maintain S's without recompense, by coercion, trickery, etc. Some acts intrinsically threaten face; these 'face-threatening acts' will be referred to henceforth as FTAs.

Unless S's want to do an FT A with maximum efficiency defined as bald on record is greater than S's want to preserve H's or S's face to any degree, then S will want to minimize the face threat of the FTA. We make the following assumptions: that all competent adult members of a society 7 have and know each other to have i.

Our notion of 'face' is derived from that of Goffman 96 7 and from the English folk term, which ties face up with notions of being or 'losing face'. Thus face is something that is invested, and that can be lost, maintained. In and assume each other's cooperation in such cooperation being based on the mutual normally everyone's face depends on everyone else's being and since people can be expected to defend their faces if threatened, and in defending their own to threaten others' faces, it is in general in every participant's best interest to maintain each others' face, that is to act in ways that assure the other participants that the agent is heedful of the assumptions concerning face given under i above.

Furthermore, while the content of face will differ in different cultures what the exact limits are to personal territories, and what the publicly. It would have been possible to treat the respect for face as norms or values subscribed to by members of a society as perhaps most anthropologists would assume.

Instead, we treat the aspects offace as basic wants, which every member knows every other member desires, and which in general it is in the interests of every member to partially satisfy.

Secondly, face can be, and ignored, not just in cases of social breakdown affrontery but also in cases of urgent cooperation, or in the interests of efficiency. We defifie' Negative face, with its derivative politeness of non-imposition, is familiar as the formal politeness that the notion immediately conjures up. But positive face, and its derivative positive politeness, are less obvious. The reduction of a person's public self-image or personality to a want t hat one's wants be desirable to at least some others can be justified in this way.

The most salient aspect of a person's personality in interaction is what that personality requires of other interactants - in particular, it includes the desire to be ratified, understood, approved of, liked or admired. The next step is to represent this desire as the want to have one's goals thought of as desirable.

In the special sense of 'wanting' that we develop, we can then arrive at positive face as here defined. To give this some intuitive flesh, consider an example. Mrs B is a fervent. Much of her time and effort are expended on her roses. She is proud of her roses, and she likes others to admire them. She is gratified when visitors say 'What lovely roses; I wish ours looked like that!

How do you do it? First of all, the wants that a member wants others to find desirable may actually have been satisfied; that is, they may now be past wants represented by present achievements or possessions. In addition, on the view that the objects of desire are propositions like 'I have beautiful roses', natural-language expressions of wanting often leave the subject and predicate unspecified, as in 'I want an ice cream cone.

The answer seems to be that in different circumstances each of the different interpretations may be reasonable. For instance, if a male admin,s a female's apparel it would be a natural interpretation that he wanted her apparel for her, rather than for himself.

For instance, I may want my literary style to be admired by writers, my roses by gardeners, my clothes by friends, my hair by a lover. These others constitute a collection of sets extensionally or intensionally defined each linked to a set of goals. If they are strangers it may be reduced to an assumption of common interest in good weather or other such safe topics; if they are close friends it may extend to a close identity of interests and desires.

Still, however well-defined these areas are, to assume that say I am in the set of persons who will please you by commenting on your clothes is to make an extremely vulnerable assumption, one that may cause affront. It is largely because of this that attention to positive face in a society is often highly restricted. We here define 'rationality' as the application of a specific mode of reasoning - what Aristotle called 'practical reasoning' which guarantees inferences from ends or goals to means that will satisfy those ends.

Just as standard logics have a consequence relation that will take us from one proposition to another while preserving truth, a system of practical reasoning must allow one to pass from ends to means and further means while preserving the 'satisfactoriness' of those means Kenny The sorts of inferences one wants a system of practical reasoning to capture are things like:. This prompted a suggestion of Kenny's that a means to an end should be considered satisfactory only if, when the proposition describing the means is true, the proposition describing the end is true.

For more details, see section 4. A further aspect of rational behaviour seems to be the ability to weigh up different means to an end, and choose the one that most satisfies the desired goals.

This can be captured by a 'fuzzy' version of Kenny logic, with an added preference operator as discussed in 4. This will treat all preferences as rational ones, and exclude wants or Kantian imperatives - for our purposes a perfectly feasible move.

Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage

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She received a Bachelor of Education from the same university where she pursue her master. Her research interest are foreign language teaching and sociolinguistics. Adel, S. A qualitative study of politeness strategies used by Iranian EFL learners in a class blog. Almoaily, M.

Notes to pp. See also Lycan Tannen a and references therein. Mathiot , Slugoski , Scollon and Scollon , respectively. This paragraph is prompted by apposite remarks by Ruven Ogien.


The interlocutors' shared interest in maintaining each other's "face" has been at the core of Brown and Levinson's () politeness theory. Studies on politeness​.


Politeness Strategies Performed by EFL Learners’ with English Native Speakers in Medical Students

The objectives are to find out the types of face threatening act and politeness strategies performed by Holmes when he is having conversation with his interlocutors. By paying attention to the face being threatened, negative face ranked the first for 86 times and positive face ranked the second for 25 times. In performing FTA, the speaker intended to use strategies to mitigate the damage to the hearers.

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Hence, at the initial stage of communication between the prostitute and the potential client, there would be a considerable amount of negotiation between them as they offer and counter offer each other. The data collected by using recording data and transcription of the offering. The result of the study that although the Indonesian language was known as the national language in Indonesia but Javanese still survived among Javanese people, even prostitutes in Bangunsari. Whenever the Javanese language was use would consider the polite styles based the degree of the Javanese level.

Politeness Some universals in language usage

Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Face Our notion of 'face' is derived from that of Goffrnan ; [see Chapter 21] and from the English folk term, which ties face up with notions of being embarrassed or humiliated, or 'losing face'. Thus face is something that is emotionally invested, and that can be lost, maintained, or enhanced, and must be constantly attended to in interaction. In general, people cooperate and assume each other's cooperation in maintaining face in interaction, such cooperation being based on the mutual vulnerability of face.

References Brown, Penelope and Stephen C. Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.! A computational approach to politeness with application to social factors.

Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Brown and S. Brown , S. Symbols and abbreviations Foreword John J. Gumperz Introduction to the reissue Notes 1. Introduction 2.

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