1 POLITENESS AS A SOCIAL VARIABLE
POLITENESS ³It is best expressed as practical application of good manners or etiquettes´. ³The actions taken by competent speakers in a community in order to attend to possible social or interpersonal disturbances´. It is a culturally defined phenomenon and what is considered polite in one culture can often be quite rude or simply strange in another.(Meyerhoff) While the goal of politeness is to make all the parties relaxed and comfortable with one another. (George Yule) when we speak we must constantly make choices of many different kinds: what we want to say, how we want to say it and the specific sentence types and sounds that best unite´ what with ³how. Whenever we speak we make careful choice of words according to the relationship with listener. We will also see that many languages vary in the choice of words and expressions regarding politeness. in modern world, much interaction takes place at both personal and professional level. that is why one has to be polite. (Ronald Wardhaugh) WHY TO BE POLITE Dealing with people is not easy. Business deals, personal interactions, workplace intermingling all require certain conversational skills. All this requires a person to be polite. if one is polite, one can build up friendly ties. Now-a-days man has become entirely social and for this socialism, he has to come across people of different temperaments. So, politeness is inevitable. (Amitabh Shukla, 2000) MAXIMS OF POLITENESS Leech proposed these maxims in 1983,which are given below 1. TACT MAXIM The tact maxim states: ³Minimize the expression of beliefs which imply cost to other; maximize the expression of beliefs which imply benefit to other´. The first part of this maxim fits in with Brown and Levinson's negative politeness strategy of minimizing the imposition, and the second part reflects the positive politeness strategy of attending to the hearer's interests, wants, and needs. For example ³I need a little bit of advice here´.
2. GENEROSITY MAXIM Leech's Generosity maxim states: ³Minimize the expression of benefit to self; maximize the expression of cost to self.´ Unlike the tact maxim, the maxim of generosity focuses on the speaker, and says that others should be put first instead of the self. For example ³You must come and have dinner with us´. 3. APPROBATION MAXIM The Approbation maxim states: ³Minimize the expression of beliefs which express dispraise of other; maximize the expression of beliefs which express approval of other´. It is preferred to praise others and if this is impossible, to sidestep the issue, to give some sort of minimal response (possibly through the use of euphemism), or to remain silent. The first part of the maxim avoids disagreement; the second part intends to make other people feel good by showing solidarity. For example ³Well´.
2 4. MODESTY MAXIM The Modesty maxim states: ³Minimize the expression of praise of self; maximize the expression of dispraise of self´. For example ' Oh, I'm so stupid - I didn't make a note of our lecture! Did you? It is found mostly in European countries. 5. AGREEMENT MAXIM The Agreement maxim runs as follows: ³Minimize the expression of disagreement between self and other; maximize the expression of agreement between self and other. It is in line with Brown and Levinson¶s positive politeness strategies of 'seek agreement' and 'avoid disagreement,' to which they attach great importance. However, it is not being claimed that people totally avoid disagreement. It is simply observed that they are much more direct in expressing agreement, rather than disagreement. For example, ³Yes, but I thought we resolved this on our last visit´. 6 SYMPATHY MAXIM The sympathy maxim states: ³Minimize antipathy between self and other; maximize sympathy between self and other.´ This includes a small group of speech acts such as congratulation, commiseration, and expressing condolences - all of which is in accordance with Brown and Levinson's positive politeness strategy of attending to the hearer's interests, wants, and needs. For example, ³I am sorry to hear about your father´. (Miriam Meyerhoff)
TECHNIQUES TO SHOW POLITENESS 1. Expressing Uncertainty Through INDIRECTNESS AND HEDGES Hedge is defined as a mitigating device to lessen the impact of an utterance. These are normally adverbs and adjectives. For example ³He is a slightly stupid person´. ³There might be just a few insignificant problems, we need to settle´ 2. POLITE LYING It is a lie that a politeness standard requires and which is usually known to be untrue by both parties .It is culture dependent. For example ³A polite lie to decline invitations because of scheduling difficulties´. 3. USE OF EUPHEMISM (WHICH MAKES USE OF AMBIGUITY AND CONNOTATION) Euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener. Euphemism requires skill to sugar-coat a bitter pill to swallow. There are some superstitious euphemisms based on the idea that words have the power to bring bad fortune. For example, not speaking the word ³CANCER´. Connotation: It has different meanings in other fields but here we will define it as ³A subjective cultural or emotional coloration in addition to the explicit meanings of any specific word or phrase in a language´. (Emotional association with a word.). For example a stubborn person may be described as strong-willed or pig-headed. Although both have same literal meaning but strong-willed connotes for the level of someone¶s will while pig-headed connotes frustration in dealing with someone. 4. PREFERRING TAG QUESTIONS To direct statements, such as "You were at the store, weren't you?"
3 (a) Modal Tag request information of which the speaker is uncertain. "You didn't go to the store yet, did you?" (b) Affective Tags indicate concern for the listener. "You haven't been here long, have you?" (c) Softeners reduce the force of what would be a brusque demand. "Hand me that thing, could you?" (d) Facilitative Tags invite the addressee to comment on the request being made. "You can do that, can't you?" (World Linguistics council, 2001) Some studies (Lakoff, 1976; Beeching, 2002) have shown that women are more likely to use politeness formulas than men, though the exact differences are not clear. Most current research has shown that gender differences in politeness use are complex, since there is a clear association between politeness norms and the stereotypical speech of middle class white women, at least in the UK and US. (Linguist List, England) FACE THEORY Before proceeding towards politeness theory, it is essential to be familiar with Face Theory by Erving Goffman, An American Sociologist. The basic idea of this theory is that we lead unavoidably social lives as we depend on each other but as far as possible, we try to lead our lives without losing our own face. Our face is a very fragile thing which other people can very easily damage. So we should lead life according to Golden Rule: ³Do to others as you would like them to do to you´. (Hudson) British Social Anthropologists, Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson describe two types of face: Solidarity Face, Power Face. Solidarity Face Solidarity Face is respect as in ³I respect you for «..´i-e, the appreciation and approval that others show us for the kind of person we are, for our behavior for our values etc. If someone threatens our solidarity face, we feel embarrassment or shame. Power Face Power face is respect as in ³I respect your right to ««´.This is the basis of most formal politeness; such as standing back to let someone else pass. When our power face is threatened, we feel offended. Now we move towards politeness theories. (English Research Centre, Yorkshire.)
THEORIES OF POLITENESS There are a number of different ways in which linguists can analyze politeness. The various approaches differ primarily in the emphasis placed on the speaker, the addressee (or both), and the emphasis given to accounting for behavior that would be considered polite or behavior that would be considered impolite. Most of the frameworks proposed to account for politeness that are accessible to readers of English or other European languages have made the speaker central to the analysis rather than the addressee, and though they have tried to take into account the relationship between speaker and hearer, this has been limited by the focus on the speaker as a linguistic agent planning and evaluating their next move in a conversation. More recently, work by Japanese, Chinese, African and Middle Eastern scholars has begun to make more of an impact on the field of politeness studies. As a general rule, most of these researchers have emphasized the empirical and theoretical importance of seeing politeness and impoliteness as acts which involve consideration of the addressee¶s wants and desires as well as the speaker¶s own, and acts that involve consideration of the demands of the larger social group in which both the speaker and addressee have grown up and been socialized. Now we analyze politeness theory across different cultures. (Miriam Meyerhoff)
4 Politeness Theory and Arabs Being polite is important but it is quite simple to be polite in Arab. Just learn some of their typical words used to show politeness at different occasions and use them at at the right time. Nelson, Bakary, and Batal (1993) report that for Arabs, compliments function to contribute to interpersonal or group solidarity. Nelson et al. suggests that this may be in part due to the Arab belief in the ³evil eye,´ or the potential for compliments to bring bad luck. Arabs use a large number of similes, metaphors, and preceding ritualized phrases such as ³Eeh l-Halaawa di!´ (What is all this beauty!). In addition, Nelson et al. suggests that Arabs prefer a direct approach to giving compliments while they exercise indirect approaches for negative feelings as a mature way to save face. (Wiki Books Publishers, New Zealand) Politeness Theory and Chinese China is known as the nation of the etiquette. China has formed the characteristic Chinese moral rules and politeness principles during several thousand years. Generally, Chinese culture¶s politeness principles include the following several aspects. 1. Appellation Maxim Namely one sends regards to the other side with the suitable name. Generation and age play an important role in Chinese appellation. It may be the unique decision element especially to relatives, neighbors and elders. It has manifested in the Chinese culture among people¶s social relations. It means ³There are differences between the higher and the longer; there are distinctions between the rich and the poor; there are orders between the elder and the young . Using the appropriate appellation is considered the most minimum politeness principle. 2. Modest Maxim Namely you belittle yourself and the thing which is related with you, but you respect other people and their things. China¶s culture politeness tends to belittle oneself and respect others and this is regarded as a phenomenon of typical characteristic of Chinese culture. It has manifested ³The person who is polite always belittles himself and respects others in Chinese traditional culture. It also has embodied modest character. 3. Elegance Maxim Namely one uses lofty language, ³thick language´ is forbidden. This principle has reflected a speaker¶s language training and cultural accomplishment. 4. Common Maxim Namely communication of both sides reduces differences by keeping harmony, satisfying the other side¶s requests, and approving the other party as much as possible,. It has manifested ³You are ready to agree with other people, or You¶d better obey one¶s orders as well as revere him´ in Chinese culture etiquette. 5. Integrity Maxim Namely one not only should have noble ideas and beautiful words, but also put them into practice. This principle has reflected ³The gentleman feels ashamed of having beautiful words instead of noble ethics; and the gentleman feels ashamed of having noble ethics instead of noble behavior´ in Chinese culture. While Greg Bissky says that Chinese decide what is polite in China. He says Chinese culture has followed two kinds of fundamental modes: First: As much as possible, reduce impoliteness strategies. Second: As much as possible, increase politeness terminology. Let us have an example of politeness of Chinese culture. If the conductor of the train is talking with passengers in anger, they will think that the conductor lacks occupational ethics instead of behaving impolitely with him. (Yan Yan, Mandarin University, China)
5 Politeness Theory and Japanese Unlike most western languages, Japanese has an extensive grammatical system to express politeness and formality. Broadly speaking, there are three main politeness levels in spoken Japanese: The plain form = (kudaketa), the simple polite form = (teinei) and the advanced polite form (keigo). Since most relationships are not equal in Japanese society, one person typically has a higher position. This position is determined by a variety of factors including job, age, and experience. The person in the lower position is expected to use a polite form of speech, whereas the other might use a more plain form. Strangers will also speak to each other politely. Japanese children rarely use polite speech until their teens, at which point they are expected to begin speaking in a more adult manner. The difference between honorific and humble speech is particularly pronounced in the Japanese language. Humble language is used to talk about oneself or one's own group (company, family) whilst honorific language is mostly used when describing the interlocutor and his group. For example, the -san suffix ("Mr.", "Mrs." or "Ms.") is an example of honorific language. It should not be used to talk about oneself. Nor should it be employed when talking about someone from one's own company to an external person, since the company is the speaker's "group". Most nouns in the Japanese language may be made honorific by the addition of ³o´ or ³go´, as a prefix³o´. is generally used for words of native Japanese origin, whereas ³go´, is affixed to words of Chinese derivation. In some cases, the prefix has become a fixed part of the word and is included even in non-honorific speech, such as gohan, or rice. Such a construction usually indicates deference to either the item's owner or to the object itself. For example, the word tomodachi ("friend"), would become o-tomodachi when referring to the friend of someone of higher status. On the other hand, a female speaker may sometimes refer to mizu (water) as omizu merely to show her cultural refinement, compared to more abrupt male speech patterns. Many researchers report that since the 1990s, the use of polite forms has become rarer, particularly among the young, who employ politeness to indicate a lack of familiarity. That is, they use polite forms for new acquaintances, but as a relationship becomes more intimate, they speak more frankly. This often occurs regardless of age, social class, or gender. Just as speakers of Chinese indicate the use of self-denigration, according to Daikuhara (1986) speakers of Japanese (JS) exhibit a similar pattern in their employment of compliments and responses to compliments. In her study, JSs used compliments in pursuing a communicative strategy of politeness achieved by downgrading oneself or comparing oneself negatively, a negative politeness approach that also created distance (Brown & Levinson, 1987). Daikuhara also found some similarity between JSs and AESs in terms of the primary function of compliments: to generate harmony or solidarity. The Japanese tend to compliment both appearances as well as abilities, which is also the case among Americans. In addition, they indicate formal attributions such as the status of schooling. The response to compliments, on the other hand, differed greatly between these two groups. Of the responses, 95% were ³self ± praise avoidance´ and only 5% showed appreciation, while ³thank you´ was the most frequent response among Americans. These results are consistent with Chen¶s study among CEs. Daikuhara also found that JSs very seldom compliment their own family, while this was not the case among Americans. This also might be another indication of the function of downgrading oneself, since in Japan the family is often considered to be a part of one ¶s self. (Atsushi Fukada, University of Nebraska) BROWN AND LEVINSON¶S POLITENESS THEORY Under Brown and Levinson¶s framework for analysing politeness, it is important to realize that both a deferential response and a joking response (as with Ellen¶s reply asking for
6 whipped cream on her coffee) can be analyzed as forms of politeness. Most people associate µpoliteness¶ just with ways of speaking that avoid causing offence. (Miriam Meyerhoff) Now let us have an introduction of the concept Deference. DEFERENCE is simply defined as an overuse of respectful words. For example. If Ellen had replied µWell, if it¶s not too much trouble, I would be terribly grateful¶. Such extreme deference would have also been peculiar, and perhaps even been interpreted as snobbish and uppity. In other words, under these circumstances, showing lots of deference would have seemed impolite and rude. U.S.A. and U.K. do not make use of deference while its very much use is evident in Pakistan. POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE POLITENESS; POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE FACE Brown and Levinson suggested that it was useful to distinguish two types of politeness. They called the strategies that avoid offence by showing deference negative politeness strategies and the strategies that avoid offence by highlighting friendliness positive politeness strategies. They also suggest that whether we consider a strategy polite or impolite depends on how much attention or what kind of attention a speaker pays to their own and their addressee¶s face wants. This technical use of the term µface¶ is very similar to the way the word is used metaphorically in many varieties of English. If, for example, someone comes to a meeting unprepared and attention is drawn to their lack of preparation, you could say that person had µlost face¶. Similarly, if I do something embarrassing in public, and you distract attention or say something to minimize the seriousness of what I did, you could say that you had µsaved my face¶. (I¶m told this use of the term may be less common in North American English than it is in other varieties). (Miriam Meyerhoff) Positive and Negative Face Face is the public self image that every adult tries to project. Brown and Levinson (1987) defined positive face two ways: as "the want of every member that his wants be desirable to at least some others", or alternately, "the positive consistent self-image or personality ' (crucially including the desire that this self-image be appreciated and approved of) claimed by interactants. While negative face was defined as "the want of every 'competent adult member' that his actions be unimpeded by others", or "the basic claim to territories, personal preserves, rights to non-distraction--i.e. the freedom of action and freedom from imposition". (George Yule) In Japan, students would usually address a university professor by his or her last name and then they will add the honorific suffix -sensei (meaning µteacher¶). By emphasizing the social distance between the student and the professor, it attends to both parties¶ negative face wants. While the situation in Germany is analogous. There, students and more junior faculty members almost invariably address university professors by their full professional titles. This means that if you are addressing a full professor who has a Ph.D., and who has also been awarded an honorary degree from another university, you are expected to use all those titles when you greet them: Guten Tag, Frau Professor Doktor Doktor Nussbaum (µGood afternoon Ms Professor, Doctor, Doctor Nussbaum¶). Contrasting with this are societies where interactions between strangers are expected to be more personable and friendly (that is, where they often attend more directly to positive face wants), and it would be considered rude to talk in ways that emphasise or draw attention to the social distance between the interlocutors. (Miriam)
7 CHOOSING POLITENESS STRATEGIES: POWER, DISTANCE, COST OF IMPOSITION Brown and Levinson identify three specific factors. We consider how great a power difference there is between the speaker and the addressee; we consider how great the social distance is between the speaker and the addressee; and we evaluate the cost of the imposition. Let us discuss them one by one. Power: A vertical relationship between speaker and hearer in Brown and Levinson¶s theory of politeness along with distance and cost of imposition. Power determines what kind of redressive action; the speaker might take with FTA. We generally put more effort into being polite to people who are in positions of greater social power than we are. For instance, I am more polite to the government official processing my passport application than I am to the telemarketer who rings me during dinner. That is because I want the official in the passport office to do me a favor and speed up my application, but when the telemarketer rings me I am the one with the power and they need something from me. That is the effect of power on politeness. (Routledge) Social Distance The social distance between speakers has a tremendous impact on how they speak to each other. We are generally more polite to people who we don¶t know very well, and we generally feel we can be more abrupt with people who are close friends. If you are cooking a meal with a close friend or family member, you might simply say µYou¶ve got the butter¶ instead of µI think the butter is closer to you than it is to me, so could you pass it to me¶. However, if you are working on a task with someone you are not so close to, you might ask in a less direct way, showing more attention to their negative face wants ± µExcuse me, are those the telephone accounts? Could I have them for a second?¶ (Miriam Meyerhoff) Many languages have a distinction corresponding to the TU ± VOUS (T/V) distinction in French, where grammatically there is a µsingular you¶³ TU´(T) and a µplural you¶ ³VOUS´(V) but usage requires that you use VOUS with individuals on certain occasions. The T form is sometimes described as the µfamiliar¶ form and the V form as the µpolite¶ one. Other languages with a similar T/V distinction are Latin (TU/VOS), Russian (TY/VY) Italian (TU/LEI), German (DU/SIE), Swedish (DU/M),and Greek (ESI/ESIS). English, itself, once had such a distinction, the THOU/YOU distinction. (Ronald Wardhaugh) Cost Of Imposition The third factor that Brown and Levinson believed was important in order to understand the different politeness strategies people use was how big the social infraction is. This was what they meant by the cost of the imposition. So, to continue the example of requests that we have been looking at, different requests have different social weight. Asking someone for the time is generally considered a minor imposition. As a consequence, you can ask complete strangers for the time and the politeness strategies we use pay relatively little attention to face wants. For example, µSorry, do you have the time?¶ or even just µWhat¶s the time?¶ However, asking for money is generally considered a greater imposition, and usually you would only do this with someone you are fairly close to. And the more money you want to request, the better you will probably want to know them. For example, in the last few months I have found myself needing 5 pence so I can get the bus home and I borrowed this from an acquaintance, but the day when I left my credit cards at home I had to ask a very close friend to lend me enough money to buy my groceries. So under this framework there are three social variables that shape how people choose which politeness strategies they will use. Their attention to others¶ positive and negative face wants will be determined by the relative power and social distance of the interactants, and by the social cost of the imposition. As a number of people
8 working within this framework have noted, the three factors are by no means independent. You are often not very close to someone. (Miriam Meyerhoff) Brown and Levinson (1987: 76) propose a specific formula for assessing the weightiness (W) of a face-threatening act, which involves three essential components: power (P), social distance (D) and the rating of impositions to the extent that they interfere with an individual¶s face wants within a particular culture/ society (R): Wx = D (S, H) + P (H, S) + Rx (S = speaker, H = hearer). Brown and Levinson maintain that, as a consequence, these three µdimensions¶ (D, P, R) contribute to the seriousness of a face-threatening act (FTA), and thus to a determination of the level of politeness with which, other things being equal, an FTA will be communicated (Brown and Levinson 1987: 76). Thus the greater the social distance and the power hierarchy between speaker and hearer the more weight becomes attached to a face-threatening act, particularly one which also involves a relatively high level of imposition (for example, many requests, accusations, some offers, and so on). Brown and Levinson further argue that these dimensions subsume all other relevant factors in any particular context and, importantly, that their formula thus predicts further that individuals will choose a higher level of linguistic mitigation as the weightiness of an FTA increases proportionately. Brown and Levinson (1987: 77) conceptualize power (P) as µan asymmetric social dimension of relative power¶, i.e. µP (H, S) is the degree to which H [hearer] can impose his [sic] own plans and his self-evaluation (face) at the expense of S¶s [speaker] plans and selfevaluation¶. This definition thus views power primarily as an individual attribute, vested in the hearer: it is the hearer¶s µpower¶ relative to his/her own which the speaker must take into account when uttering a potentially face-threatening act. The purpose of Brown and Levinson¶s formula is thus to enable us to predict (both as interactants and researchers) the scale and number of redressive strategies and mitigating linguistic forms a speaker is likely to use in particular interactions by calculating the variability of the social distance and relative power of the participants along with the weightiness of the imposition. Thus one of the important aspects of Brown and Levinson¶s work is, for them, its predictive power. The formula would seem to apply most obviously to µrequests¶ (nearly all Brown and Levinson¶s own examples of its application involve µrequests¶), predicting that the greater the power (and distance) between speaker and hearer the more redressive strategies will be used by the less powerful interactant, particularly when making a weighty request of a more powerful one. (Ronald Wardhaugh) INHERENTLY FACE THREATENING ACTS (FTAS) Speech acts which threaten the positive/ negative face are called face threatening acts. Brown and Levinson suggest that some conversational events are inherently face threatening acts. That is, once you undertake one of these acts, it is impossible not to have somebody¶s positive or negative face wants threatened (sometimes it will be the speaker¶s, sometimes it will be the hearer¶s). This means that whenever one of these acts happens in a conversational exchange, the participants have to make a decision about how polite they will be. (Meyerhoff) Acts like Promises, Apologies, and Expressing Thanks are considered to threaten primarily the speaker¶s face, whereas Warnings, Orders, Requests etc. are viewed to threaten primarily the hearer¶s face. According to Brown and Levinson, since we try to save each other¶s face, so we either avoid FTAS, or use different strategies to soften the FTAS. The strategies are given below. 1. Bald-on record: It is the most direct strategy. A technical term in Brown and Levinson¶s theory, referring to an inherently FTA made without softening through positive/ negative
9 politeness strategies. FTA is performed in bald-on-record, in a direct and concise way without redressive action. For example,. imperative form without any redress: ³Wash your hands´. ³What is the time´ ³It is not ready yet´. ³Pass the salt´. 2. Positive Politeness: This is oriented towards positive face of the hearer. Positive politeness strategies seek to minimize the threat to the hearer¶s positive face. They are used to make the hearer feel good about himself, his interests or possessions, and are most usually used in situations where the audience knows each other fairly well. FTA is performed with redressive action. It has nothing to do with imposition. This strategy seeks common ground or co-operation. Such as in jokes or offers. For example, ³Don¶t you want some dinner now?´. ³Help me with the bags, will you?´. In addition to hedging and attempts to avoid conflict, some strategies of positive politeness include statements of friendship, solidarity, compliments, and the following examples from Brown and Levinson: y Attend to H¶s interests, needs, wants You look sad. Can I do anything? y Use solidarity in-group identity markers Heh, mate, can you lend me a dollar? y Be optimistic I¶ll just come along, if you don¶t mind. y Include both speaker (S) and hearer (H) in activity If we help each other, I guess, we¶ll both sink or swim in this course. y Offer or promise If you wash the dishes, I¶ll vacuum the floor. y Exaggerate interest in H and his interests That¶s a nice haircut you got; where did you get it? y Avoid Disagreement Yes, it¶s rather long; not short certainly. y Joke Wow, that¶s a whopper! 3. Negative Politeness: FTA is performed with redressive action. It is oriented towards negative face of the hearer. These strategies presume that the speaker will be imposing on the listener and there is a higher potential for awkwardness or embarrassment than in bald on record strategies and positive politeness strategies. It focuses on minimising the imposition by attempting to soften it. It is done by hedging or indirectness. Examples from Brown and Levinson include: y Be indirect Would you know where Oxford Street is? y Use hedges or questions Perhaps, he might have taken it, maybe. Could you please pass the rice? y Be pessimistic You couldn¶t find your way to lending me a thousand dollars, could you?
10 Minimize the imposition It¶s not too much out of your way, just a couple of blocks. y Use obviating structures, like nominalizations, passives, or statements of general rules I hope offense will not be taken. Visitors sign the ledger. Spitting will not be tolerated. y Apologize I¶m sorry; it¶s a lot to ask, but can you lend me a thousand dollars? y Use plural pronouns We regret to inform you. For example: ³Would you mind washing your hands?´ ³Can you open the window?´. 4. Off-record: When the cost of imposition becomes very high or when the distance and power differential between speaker and addressee is very great, then even more linguistically complicated redressive action is required. This strategy uses indirect language and removes the speaker from the potential to be imposing. For example, a speaker using the indirect strategy might merely say ³wow, it¶s getting cold in here´ insinuating that it would be nice if the listener would get up and turn up the thermostat without directly asking the listener to do so. FTA is performed in off-record. This strategy may consist of all types of similes, metaphors, hints, suggestion etc. For example, ³Is that the salt´. ³Shut down the window, Sam´. ³Gardening makes your hands dirty´. 5. Avoidance: FTA is not performed in this strategy. t is marked as the most indirect strategy and is employed when there is maximum face threat. (Leyla Marti, Bogzici University Turkey)
CONSEQUENCES OF POLITENESS (a) One is more popular. (b) People are friendlier towards you. (c) Business transactions can be settled more easily. (d) One develops an attractive personality. (e) One is more likable. (f) Less chances of developing enemies. Politeness indeed pays off in many ways. Others are impressed by the manner you conduct yourself. They reach out to you. You can communicate better. Differences can be settled easily. There are several institutes which train a person in how to be polite. Today¶s professional life is highly competitive. Even in personal life it has become necessary to have a wide circle of friends. One has to socialize a lot, interact with all kinds of people and sell one¶s ideas. Be it any profession, salesmanship is essential to excel in one¶s field. Even a doctor has to communicate well with his or her patients and win them over in order to have a thriving practice. HOW TO WIN OVER PEOPLE? y One must change one¶s undesirable behavior for positive reinforcement. Losing one¶s cool, being rude can put off a person. y Develop an amicable personality. A friendly disposition can win over many people. Most people like to interact with cheerful and bright people.
y y y y y
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Be courteous. Politeness pays. Use words such as ³please´, ³I am sorry´ wherever required. If a man be a gentleman and if a woman, be a lady. Try to be as sincere and truthful in your utterances. A person who deceives others and tells a whole lot of lies is shunned. Dress up appropriately. One must dress up according to the occasion. In formal situation one must go in for formal wear. Be in informal dress where it is permissible. One must not try to control people. Do not tell them what to do. Convince them in such a manner they control themselves to do things that you would like them to do. Make a person feel comfortable in a relationship. They should feel wanted and secure. Financial and emotional security are essential for people. The other person must be made to feel he or she is gaining from the relationship. Know what you want. You must be very clear about your goals. Be clear about what the other person expects of you. After all, the person who your dealing with also expects something in return for interacting with you. Be persistent. Do not give up so easily. It takes time to achieve your goal. One has to work hard at it. Use first names if possible. Initially, be formal with a Mr. or Ms. After you buildup a good rapport start using first names as then the relationship would become more amicable. You transcend barriers. Pay attention to what the other person is saying. By not being attentive, you lose out on the person. Have high expectations. When you expect a lot you achieve a lot. Be a good listener. You will win over people easily. Communicating with the other person is easy if you he or she feels you pay more attention to what he or she is saying. Do not appear domineering. See the other person¶s point of view. Be sure of your facts. You need to be well versed in your respective field in order to convince the other person. Respect the sentiments and feelings of the other person. Make him or her feel you care for him or her. Do not appear to be indifferent. Get rid of distractions while conversing with a person. Your full concentration will be on what the other person is saying. The flow of conversation will be smooth and easy. The questions you ask require specific purpose or else you will lose out on credibility. Your message has to be well understood. Avoid ambiguities. Message with benefits are more appealing. The other person must gain by interacting with you. (Journal Of Pragmatics,vol 39)
APPLICATION OF POLITENESS THEORY: INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION We have noted on several occasions that there are significant differences in how the basic elements of the system ± power, social distance, and cost of the imposition ± are calculated in different groups. The differences can account for a good deal of variation in how politeness is realized. This raises the interesting question of whether Brown and Levinson¶s framework can be used to better understand what happens when speakers from different social or cultural backgrounds interact. Some researchers have found this framework useful for deconstructing problems and misunderstandings in how politeness is expressed in cross cultural situations. For example, we briefly considered the differences in how students address university professors in English-speaking universities and in German universities. What happens when people who have acquired the politeness norms of one community find themselves in a completely different community? At a superficial level, such intercultural contact often
12 reinforces stereotypes about groups, e.g., New Zealanders¶ and Australians¶ perceptions that the English are distant and unfriendly can perhaps be reduced to a difference in what the conventional assumptions are about the social distance between new acquaintances. These differences can lead to misunderstandings between individuals: an Australian working in England may interpret English social distance as indicating that coworkers don¶t like them as a person. Intercultural contact can create some quite interesting day-to-day dilemmas for individuals. What happens, for instance, when Japanese students who are used to attending overtly to the negative face wants of their professors move to the US or New Zealand, where the norms are more geared towards attention to positive face wants ± e.g., through reciprocal use of first names? This can present them with a clash between their own sociolinguistic norms and the norms of the community they are now studying in. They can respond to this dilemma in a number of ways. One would be to remain true to the politeness norms they grew up with, and to continue to use the most respectful address forms available to them in English. Along the way to resolving this issue there can be a stage in which there is some uncertainty, and these points are particularly interesting for the sociolinguist because they highlight both the enormous creativity of language users and the ways in which their creativity can be constrained by the systems that they are most familiar with issue. One example was the way that Japanese students in linguistics at the University of Hawaii converged on a short-term solution that satisfied both US and Japanese sociolinguistic norms. The Japanese norms for interacting with professors are to use deferential forms of address, such as (Last Name) + Title, as Tanaka does when he calls his professor Sensei (µteacher¶). At the University of Hawaii¶s, however, most graduate students would call professors by their first name, especially a younger professor. For a period, the Japanese students in linguistics took to calling the youngest professor by her first name, but they would add the respectful address term sensei to it at the end. For example, instead of the canonical Japanese form, Yoshimi-sensei (µProfessor Yoshimi¶), they used Patricia-sensei (roughly, µProfessor Patricia¶). In this way, they ended up with something that satisfied the US norms of positive politeness (based on reciprocal first naming) and their own Japanese negative politeness norms based on respect and social distance (achieved through the use of titles). (Miriam Meyerhoff) Researchers such as Gabrielle Kasper have looked at a number of kinds of FTAS that are central to Brown and Levinson theory. They have observed different social and linguistic skills across cultures. For example if you want a drink in a bar in English, you will say ³Could I have a glass of red wine, please?´ However in German, you will say like ³I¶ll get red wine, without any please´. In some cases, situations like these can cause a lot of problems for learners. (Bourdieau, Pierre (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge) CRITIQUES OF POLITENESS THEORY Although politeness as a research area of pragmatics and sociolinguistics was initiated by Brown and Levinson, it seems to be a topic which still offers enough space for new definitions and theoretical frameworks within which researchers concentrate on various politeness strategies and also language devices used for their manifestations, often in different languages and culture The already established theories reflect different scope of coverage of the multifaceted notion of politeness, the diversity of models by which to approach this cognitive space by linguistic or rather socio-linguistic means, and the consequent diversity of a partly redundant and partly overlapping terminological apparatus, very often giving the impression of adding the air of newness to the already existing terms. Its very title explicitly offers a critical standpoint. (EELEN, G. A Critique of Politeness Theories. Manchester)
13 THE INTERDEPENDENCE OF POWER, DISTANCE, COST OF IMPOSITION As we have seen, power in this framework is essentially a vertical measure ± a relation of superiority and subordination ± and distance is essentially horizontal ± how well people know each other. We have already noted that this provides a tidy theoretical distinction but that representing power and distance as independent factors is misleading. In practice, power and distance are very often heavily dependent on each other. This can make it difficult to keep them separate. Generally the people we know best ± that is, the people where there is least social distance ± are also roughly our equals, neither our superiors nor our subordinates. When there is a relatively big power differential between individuals, it is also likely that they will be less close to each other socially. So in many cases, if you know the relative distance between interactants, you can fairly reliably predict the relative power between them as well (and vice versa). Moreover, social distance can be simultaneously measured in different ways. When there are multiple dimensions on which distance can be calculated it can be difficult to predict whether interactants will orient themselves to one dimension or another. For example, some students from Hawaii¶s were trying to organize and systematically describe the decisions they make about whether to use Standard American English or Pidgin They felt that they were aware of two very important dimensions for evaluating social distance. The students all agreed that power and social distance are relevant factors in determining whether they will use Standard American English or Pidgin with an interlocutor, but they also agreed that the first and most salient question was whether or not their addressee was Local, too (in Hawaii¶s, people talk about those born there as Locals). Many of the students felt that Localness overrides any other constraints there might be on using a language. If their interlocutor was clearly Local, they reported that they would always start out using Pidgin, no matter how formal the context or how little they knew the other person. They reported that even if they were discussing formal matters to do with their enrolment at university or getting a driver¶s license, their first concern would be with whether or not their addressee was Local or not. If the addressee was, they said they would start out using Pidgin, and then adjust as necessary, depending on other cues their addressee might give about the social distance or power differential in that setting. (Miriam Meyerhoff) THE EMPHASIS ON A SPEAKER¶S CHOICE A number of researchers on politeness have criticized the Brown and Levinson model for focusing too heavily on the speaker. Sachiko Ide, a Japanese sociolinguist, has suggested that this reflects Western values of individualism and does not fit well with societies like Japan where a person¶s identity is perceived to be bound up in their group membership, with all the collective rights and responsibilities associated with the group, rather than with the exercise of rational selfinterest that is at the heart of Western theories of identity (Ide 1989). Some work on intercultural communication has tried to group societies according to how individualistic (a society that emphasizes and celebrates the individual over relationships) or how collectivist (a society that emphasizes the relationships and interdependence of the individuals, it is comprised of) they are. It might be appropriate to describe politeness primarily in terms of the concerns of the speaker and addressee as individuals in prototypically individualistic societies, such as Australia or the US. Setting a high value on autonomy and having choices are attributes that cluster together and help define individualistic societies. But in societies with collectivist values, such as Japan, Thailand and China, this misses key features organizing the social order, including requirements for polite behavior. In these societies, Ide argues that Japanese society (and other collectivist communities) values attention to people¶s interdependence and to reciprocal relationships (see also Ting-Toomey 1988). In this context, the importance of discerning social behavior appropriate to the social situation is emphasized. The Japanese word for this discernment is Wakimae(a Japanese term introduced to
14 the study of politeness by Sachiko Ide ,refers to the attention paid to people¶s interdependence and to the reciprocity of relationships, and, specifically, the discernment of appropriate behavior based on this). Ide argues that wakimae is a much better basis for formulating models of politeness in Japan. (Meyerhoff) It should be noted that the clusters of social attributes and the contrast between individualistic and collectivist cultures are derived from a study of one multinational corporation. Hofstede presented his findings in terms of the national origin of the employees surveyed, but his research was neither intended nor designed to thoroughly probe the values and behavioral norms of the nations themselves. This means sociolinguists should be a little cautious (or self-critical) about incorporating the distinction between collectivist and individualistic cultures into their research. Moreover, work by Morales and his associates suggests that when these constructs are brought down to the level of individuals, the associations between politeness and collectivist/individualistic attitudes become very shaky. They found that classifying an individual as individualistic or collectivist did not allow them to make reliable predictions about what politeness strategies they would choose under different circumstances (Morales et al. 1998). MIXED MESSAGES: SHOWING ATTENTION TO BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE FACE In some examples, we saw that attention to positive and negative face wants can be bundled into a single utterance, and we noted that it is not clear how such examples should be analyzed. They certainly don¶t cancel each other out, but would we want to categorize the utterance as an example of positive politeness, or negative politeness? The problem can be extended beyond the individual to the group: there are no groups of speakers who solely use positive or negative politeness strategies or that are wholly collectivist or individualistic. I have relied on national stereotypes in a number of illustrations of how politeness works, but by definition a stereotype simplifies and abstracts away from complexity and diversity. An American reader might justly object that the valorization of individualism in the US should be offset against the strong sense of a community that is manifested in the large number of hyphenated group identities: Italian-Americans, African- Americans, Polish-Americans, etc. Likewise, a Japanese reader might object that Japanese society is just as well known for the celebration of highly idiosyncratic expressions of individual difference in personal fashion as it is for its emphasis on discernment. One of the criticisms of Brown and Levinson¶s framework is that it very easily leads analysts towards overly simplistic categorizations, such as Thai society attends to deference and negative face, while Australian society attends to familiarity and positive face. Such generalizations are especially unwarranted if they depend on studies of only one or two FTAs (e.g., requests or orders). (Miriam Meyerhoff) FURTHER CRITICISM ON POLITENESS THEORY The idea that politeness is involved in social indexing may be interpreted as the idea that politeness is socially appropriate behavior and what is socially appropriate depends on the speaker¶s social position in relation to the hearer. This idea, too, appears in some form or other in most works on politeness. Liisa Vilkki will now focus on briefly considering Brown & Levinson¶s (1978, 1987) theory of politeness and work criticizing some fundamental assumptions of this theory. It has been the most influential framework of politeness so far, and it provides an important basis for the discussion of the notions of politeness and face in this paper. In the classification of Fraser (1990), Brown & Levinson¶s theory represents the face-saving view, as it builds on Goffman¶s (1967) notion of face and on English folk term, which ties face up with notions of being embarrassed or humiliated, or µlosing face¶. The face is understood as something that is emotionally invested, and that can be not only lost, but also maintained or
15 enhanced. Brown & Levinson state that every individual has two types of face, positive and negative. They define positive face as the individual¶s desire that her/his wants be appreciated in social interaction, and negative face as the individual¶s desire for freedom of action and freedom from imposition. The theory assumes that most speech acts, for example requests, offers and compliments, inherently threaten either the hearer¶s or the speaker¶s face-wants, and that politeness is involved in redressing those face threatening acts (FTA). On the basis of these assumptions, three main strategies for performing speech acts are distinguished: positive politeness, negative politeness and off-record politeness. Positive politeness aims at supporting or enhancing the addressee¶s positive face, whereas negative politeness aims at softening the encroachment on the addressee¶s freedom of action or freedom from imposition. The third strategy, off-record politeness, is based on the assumption that the addressee is able to infer the intended meaning. (Bourdieau, Pierre (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) CONCLUSION A number of very important contributions to the continuing debate about politeness theory are made, and while there has been a movement in recent times to reject Brown and Levinson¶s approach in its entirety, in particular by those who advocate the discursive approach to analysing politeness (Eelen 2000; Mills 2003; Watts 2003), this work illustrates that such a move might result in the neglect of crucial insights from research that is based in some way on Brown and Levinson¶s approach. Some work on intercultural communication has tried to group societies according to how individualistic or how collectivist they are. It might be appropriate to describe politeness primarily in terms of the concerns of the speaker and addressee as individuals in prototypically individualistic societies, such as Australia or the US. Setting a high value on autonomy and having choices are attributes that cluster together and help define individualistic societies. Morales and his associates suggests that when these constructs are brought down to the level of individuals, the associations between politeness and collectivist/individualistic attitudes become very shaky. They found that classifying an individual as individualistic or collectivist did not allow them to make reliable predictions about what politeness strategies they would choose under different circumstances (Morales et al. 1998). My personal opinion is that, whether you follow individualistic approach or collectivistic approach, relevance of speaker in choice of politeness strategies can not be negated at all.Tracy(1990)says that only negative politeness is similar to what people in everyday life mean by ³Being Polite´. So it depends on speaker which politeness strategy to choose. This choice of politeness strategy depends on following factors: (a) The social distance between speaker and hearer. (b) The relative power of speaker and hearer. (c) The absolute cost of imposition.