WEEK 4 READING (POLITENESS IN INTERCULT. DISCOURSE AND COMM. (THEORETICAL…
WEEK 4 READING (POLITENESS IN INTERCULT. DISCOURSE AND COMM.
Each individual typically follows the interactional norms of their own culture, and they unthinkingly and instinctively use those norms to interpret the behaviour of others.
People make judgements about others, including how polite or impolite they are, based on their behaviour in relation to those norms.
Researchers tend to agree that politeness is concerned with affective aspects of interaction and with aspects of face-work. Affect includes respect and friendliness and can be communicated in may ways (facial expression, gesture, body stance, language)
is defined as strategic interaction - linguistic devices are used to maintain harmonious relations and avoid conflict with others.
People regularly make judgements about what is considered polite and what is not, and these judgements are
No sentence is inherently polite or impolite. Researchers generally agree that politeness cant be evaluate in a vacuum. Politeness involves an evaluation or judgement of the behaviour of others in relation to social norms.
What is evaluated as "polite" often emerges contextually from instances of socio-communicative verbal interaction".
Politeness is a matter of interactional negotiation between participants, with social relationships constructed through the interaction itself.
Researchers have attempted to make a distinction between 'commonsense' notions of politeness and a more abstract theoretical concept of politeness.
If determining what counts as polite is a matter of evaluation and judgement, then researchers need to look for evidence of HOW participants interpret each other's behaviour.
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS FOR ANALYSING POLITENESS IN INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION:
While it's generally accepted that politeness is conceptualised and expressed differently in different cultures, The Politeness Theory (Brown and Levinson) identifies general or even universal principles, that underline ways in which politeness is instantiated in underlying general principles.
This has drawn to important differences in the ways in which politeness is perceived and conceptualised in different cultures.
Lackoff (1973) proposed three rules of politeness - Don't impose, give options, be friendly (the first two being common-sense).
Levinson's theory of politeness - negative politeness and positive politeness, 'faces'.
Negative politeness -
a means of paying people respect, it involves behaving appropriately in terms of social distance and status difference. Eg. using ma'am and sir when greeting a customer in a shop.
Positive politeness -
solidarity-oriented, it emphasises attitudes and values. It addresses the need to be liked and admired and to maintain positive self-image.
Why Levinson's framework is so popular:
The adoption of the term 'face' ( they define linguistic politeness as a means of showing concern for people's 'face'.
The detail with which they outlined the different kinds of strategies which could be used to express these different types of politeness in different cultures.
Weaknesses of Levinson's approach:
it focuses predominantly on speech acts expressed in single utterances
It places the speaker at the centre of the analysis, with inadequate attention to the dynamic nature of interaction.
The contextual factors considered relevant, are widely regarded as inadequate.
They are conceptualised as static social entities.
Asian cultures often contest Levinson's conception of face, as they believe that how face is conceptualised and how face-needs are addressed, differs in different cultures.
In languages such as Japanese and Korean, a speaker's use of certain polite expressions is a matter of social convention and social indexing, rather than strategic choice.
They also claim that western conception of face is very individualised
These approaches emphasise the dynamic and indeterminate nature of meaning in interaction, and question the proposition that people necessarily agree on what constitutes polite behaviour.
Meaning is co-constructed, and hence politeness is a matter of negotiation between participants.
Interaction is regarded as a dynamic discursive struggle, with the possibility that different participants may interpret the same interaction quite differently.
incorporating both the traditional and postmodern approaches.
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES IN POLITENESS NORMS:
There's contrasting patterns in the use of politeness strategies in speech acts like apologies and requests in numerous languages.
People prefer different politeness strategies in particular contexts
INTERCULTURAL POLITENESS IN INTERACTION:
Cultural relativism -
not judging someone based on their culture
Opposite to this is