Politeness is the actions taken by a competent talker in a community in order to go to to possible societal or interpersonal perturbation. Politeness is something unusual which can be seen in different signifiers and degrees. What is polite and what non depends on “ where you grew up and what norms of niceness you acquired there ” ( Meyerhoff 2006: 81 ) . In a conversation a talker might state something that would be considered really ill-mannered by the hearer, but that talker might really merely seeking to be polite. He was being polite harmonizing to the criterions of where he grew up. So, niceness is expressed in different ways, in different topographic points.
In this essay, we will see the different signifiers and degrees of niceness and how these signifiers attend to different societal demands. Besides we will look at illustrations of the different signifiers that petitions and apologies can take. We will research how utile is separating between the niceness which is used between friends and with people that we are non really familiar with. Then we will briefly discourse about the models of niceness that are used in a workplace interaction and intercultural communicating. All these phenomenon of niceness will be discussed in this paper with consideration of Brown and Levinson ‘s theory ( 1978 ) in order to exemplify how there is more than one manner of being polite.
Harmonizing to Meyerhoff ( 2006 ) there are a figure of different ways in which linguists can analyze niceness. The assorted attacks differ chiefly in the accent placed on the talker, the addressee or both, and the accent given to accounting for behaviour that would be considered polite or behaviour that would be considered impolite ( p. 83 ) . The most widely known and extensively used attack to the survey of niceness is Brown and Levinson ‘s theory which has the most dominant place in the field. “ People associate niceness merely with ways of speech production that avoid doing offense by demoing respect to another individual. ” ( Meyerhoff 2006: 84 ) . Brown and Levinson ( 1978 ) province that respect would be inappropriate in any address community, in some contexts. Remarks that orient to in-group rank may be what starts an interaction and avoid doing offense. For illustration you do non ever answer ‘thank you so much ‘ when person helps you, ‘cheers ‘ or ‘thanks ‘ plants better. Extreme respect could be taken as dry or clannish.
Now, before go oning in more deepness with Brown and Levinson ‘s theory, it is utile to mention to Grice ‘s Maxims ( 1975 ) , a set of regulations that people follow in communicating to keep participant harmoniousness. Brown and Levinson ‘s theory suggests that these four Grice ‘s rules for speech production in a concerted manner, were right. These regulations can be summed up as the Maxim of quality where a individual should be true and sincere, the Maxim of measure: a individual must state no more or less than required, the Maxim of relevancy: being relevant to that subject and the Maxim of mode: being limpid. All of which underpins and is underpinned by the thought that the people involved in a conversation will collaborate with each other ( the co-op rule ) . These four rules are non considered to be a theory of face but constitute a foundation for a theory of face, subsequently developed by Brown and Levinson. ( Adapted for Brown and Levinson 1978:95 )
The theory of Brown and Levinson suggests that there are two types of niceness. The ‘negative niceness schemes ‘ which are the schemes that avoid offense by demoing respect ( e.g. Make you mind if I borrow it for a 2nd? ) and the ‘positive niceness schemes ‘ are those that avoid offense by foregrounding friendliness ( e.g. You look fit and healthy-any opportunity you could assist me force the auto? ) . Besides, sing a scheme to be polite or impolite depends on the attending that a talker pays to his ain ‘face wants ‘ and the addressee ‘s ‘face wants ‘ . The term ‘face ‘ derives from the work of Goffman ( 1967 ) . In Goffman ‘s work, ‘face ‘ was a personal property or quality that each of us works to protect or heighten. In Brown and Levinson the definition of ‘face ‘ accents less that interpersonal and communal nature of the face wants. ‘Face ‘ is the public self-image that every theoretical account individual ( MP ) claims for him or herself. Brown and Levinson propose that “ we want to guard our face against possible harm when we interact with others. ” ( Meyerhoff 2006: 84 )
Now, it is of import to mention to the factors involved in taking niceness schemes. Choosing what sorts of schemes would be polite or impolite in a state of affairs depends on measuring three chief factors. Power, distance and weight ( cost ) of infliction were identified by Brown and Levinson. Power refers to the difference in position between participants in discourse, distance relates to the degree of acquaintance that exists between the talker and the addressee, and weight of infliction relates to the extent to which one wishes to enforce on another individual.
Peoples frequently put more attempt to be polite to people that their place have greater societal power than we have. For illustration I will utilize more negative niceness schemes ( more polite ) to a authorities functionary treating a passport application than I will utilize ( less polite ) to a telemarketer who rings during dinner. This has to make with power because I want the authorities functionary to make me a favour and velocity up my application as for the telemarketer, he needs something from me so I am the 1 with power.
Besides, the societal distance between talkers has a immense consequence on the manner that they speak to each other. By and large, we give more attending to the negative face wants ( more polite ) of people we do non cognize really good and we are more disconnected to shut friends. For illustration when you are cooking with a close friend you might state ‘You ‘ve got the butter ‘ alternatively of ‘I think the butter is closer to you that it is to me so could you go through it to me ‘ . But, when working with person that you are non really near you might inquire in less direct manner, demoing more attending to their negative face wants, you might state something like ‘Excuse me, are those the telephone histories? Could I have them for a 2nd? ‘ .
The cost of infliction, harmonizing to Brown and Levinson meant how large the societal misdemeanor is. An illustration is when you ask person for the clip, which is considered as a state of affairs with a minor infliction, you can a alien in the route for the clip and the niceness schemes pay small attending to face wants ( Sorry do you hold the clip? ) . But, inquiring for money is greater infliction. You normally ask for money person you are close to and if the sum is large you will likely inquire person who is even closer to you, like a really close friend.
Under this model there are three societal variables which shape the manner that people choose the niceness strategies they will utilize. “ Their attending to others ‘ positive and negative face wants will be determined by the comparative power and societal of the interactants and by the societal doomed of the infliction ” ( Meyerhoff 2006: 88 ) . These three factors are by no agencies independent.
Earlier, I referred to the two types of niceness and the term face. Actually, there are two types of niceness because we are concerned with keeping two distinguishable sorts of face, the negative and the positive face. The negative face is the privation of every competent grownup member of a community that their actions be unimpeded by others. The positive face is the privation of every member that their wants be desirable to at least some others. ( Brown and Levinson 1987:62 in Meyerhoff 2006: 85 ) .
Some societies orientate more towards respect and being attentive to negative face wants. In such societies it seems really ill-mannered to disregard the distance that might be between you and your addressee and talk as if you know her or him better than you do. A Language illustration is ‘Forgive me, Ms Smith, I do apologise, but could I perchance intrude for a 2nd ‘ . In this sentence the rubric ‘Ms ‘ shows respect niceness and distance go toing to negative face. ‘Forgive me ‘ and ‘I do apologise ‘ attempt to cut down the infliction of the petition and attends to negative face. A farther effort to cut down the cost of infliction is ‘could I ‘ , ‘possibly ‘ and ‘a 2nd ‘ .
In contrast, there are societies which orientate towards positive face. The interaction between aliens is expected to be more personable and friendly. In these societies it is ill-mannered to interact by stressing or pulling attending to the societal distance between the middlemans. Such a society is the Australians, where the usage of first names is the norm even in professional contexts. A linguistic communication illustration of such a society is a recognizing to an old friend that you have non seen for some clip e.g. ‘Tapper! It ‘s been ages. You ‘re looking good. What ‘ve you been making today? ‘ . In this recognizing the usage of clique codification ( the moniker Tapper ) , demoing attending to the addressee ‘s involvements ( What ‘ve you been making today? ) and overstating the talker ‘s involvement or blessing ( You ‘re looking good ) are schemes that attend to the addressee ‘s positive face wants.
Brown and Levinson suggest that some colloquial events which represent a menace to another person ‘s self-image are described as inherently facethreating Acts of the Apostless ( FTAs ) . When such an event occurs it is certain that person ‘s positive or negative face wants will be threatened, and the participants have to make up one’s mind what niceness strategies they will utilize. Examples of FTAs are showing thanks and doing an apology, these are menaces to the talker ‘s face wants. Stating ‘thanks ‘ establishes indebtedness to the other individual. Making an apology is holding to province publically that you have done something stupid or unkind, this threatens your positive face wants as other people may non place you and will be unwilling to propose that they portion your wants and desires. So “ depending on how serious an FTA is it will necessitate more or less action to extenuate ( or cut down ) the possible harm to the addressee ‘s or the talker ‘s face. ” ( Meyerhoff 2006: 90 ) .
As I said in the debut I will besides briefly discuss about the models of niceness which are used in intercultural communicating. People ‘s usage of niceness varies in intercultural communicating depending on where they come from and how their societies orientate towards niceness. An illustration of such differences is when doing a petition for a drink in a saloon in English and making the same in German. In English you normally use schemes to go to the addressee ‘s negative face wants. ( Could I have a glass of ruddy vino, delight? ) . But, in German there is non such an attending to the waiter ‘s negative face wants and it is appropriate to state ‘I will acquire ruddy vino ‘ . Sometimes a ‘could ‘ or ‘please ‘ may be added but utilizing both will sound absurd and snooty. ( Meyerhoff 2006: 97 ) .
Another illustration is how people refuse an invitation to a repast from a societal higher-up. In some civilizations a general reply like ‘I ‘m busy that dark I ‘m afraid ‘ will be absolutely acceptable but in western communities people want to give a ground for your refusal. ( Holmes 2001: 275 ) . This has to make with peoples negative and positive face wants. Peoples from western communities are more concerned about their positive face, they want their wants to be desirable to at least some others and they do non like pulling attending to the societal distance.
In decision, so there is more than one manner of being polite. As it is presented above, niceness has many signifiers and degrees and can be used in different ways. Politeness is perceived otherwise depending on where you grew up and your societal position so it can be besides expressed otherwise. Peoples use different schemes to show niceness in a conversation depending on who is the addressee, what is his societal position and how close they are to him. Harmonizing to Brown and Levinson ‘s theory there are two basic schemes, the positive and the negative scheme. These two schemes exist because we are concerned to keep two sorts of face, the negative and positive face. Peoples have to measure three factors in order to make up one’s mind what strategies they will utilize, power, distance and cost of the infliction.