TOPIC: POLITENESS STRATEGY IN REAL-TIME CHAT (MY ENGLISH CLUB)INTRODUCTION: Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is defined as “communication that takesplace between human beings via the instrumentality of computers” (Herring, 1996). It is nowbecoming more and more significant in teaching and learning process since technology hasbecome an essential tool of communication in this technological advancement era. This researchpaper will precisely examine on MyEnglishClub chat, one of the chat rooms that is used by thosewho are interested in improving, learning, and sharing their knowledge of the English language.The corpus will further be analyzed on language politeness based on Penelope Brown andStephen Levinson’s politeness theory and the findings of this research will be presented intabulated form.RESEARCH OBJECTIVES:The objectives of the research are as follows: 1) To investigate whether there is a language politeness strategy in real-time chat. 2) To identify which politeness strategies occur frequently in communication through real- time chat. 3) To categorize the chosen data into two major politeness category (positive and negative politeness) as listed by Brown and Levinson.RESEARCH QUESTIONS: 1) Is there any politeness strategy used by the chatters in the chat room?
2) Which politeness strategies frequently used by the chatters in their chatting; positive or negative politeness.STATEMENT OF PROBLEM: There are many researches in computer-mediated communication (CMC) done byprevious researchers that focuses more on impoliteness than politeness theory. Hence, this paperanalyzes the politeness theory used by people in the real-time chat. The interest area is in termsof politeness strategies, whether the chatters in real-time chat use more positive or negativepoliteness in their conversations. In addition, this paper will also try to examine whether thereal-time chat users adhere to the netiquette or not when chatting.LITERATURE REVIEW: This chapter reviews about the relevant literature on politeness strategy especially in thereal-time chat.Computer-mediated communication (CMC) According to Lane (1994), computer-mediated communication (CMC) is defined as“synchronous or asynchronous electronic mail and computer conferencing, by which sendersencode in text messages that are relayed from senders computers to receivers.” CMC has alsobeen described as "any communication patterns mediated through the computer" (Metz, 1992).Walther and Burgoon (1992) argue that, "for many of us, CMC is no longer a novelty but acommunication channel through which much of our business and social interaction takes place,and this transformation is expected to continue" (p. 51). They note, "CMC produces much
different affective and relational patterns than do other types of communication, due to thereduction and types of cues available to participants" (p. 51).Real-time Chat Wikipedia defined real-time chat as “a form of communication over the Internet thatoffers quick transmission of text-based messages from sender to receiver. In push mode betweentwo or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients, instantmessaging basically offers real-time direct written language-based online chat. The users text isconveyed over a network, such as the Internet. It may address point-to-point communications aswell as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers. More advanced instantmessaging allows enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling, videochat and inclusion of hyperlinks to media.Politeness According Yule (1996), politeness can be defined as the means employed to showawareness of another person’s face. In this sense, politeness can be accomplished in situations ofsocial distance or closeness. One of the most important aspects in communication strategies—politeness strategieshave not received much attention in CMC with only a few exceptions. Although Pintel ＆Pittam’s research (1997) focuses on phatic communication which involves politeness, they donot pay particular attention to politeness itself in CMC. Therefore, this paper will be focusing onidentifying the use of language politeness in term of politeness strategy.
In addition, according to Carlo and Yoo (n/a) as cited by Burke and Kraut (2008), theystated that “ they found significantly more negative and fewer positive politeness strategiesonline than in face-to-face transactions”. However, their views are different with Simmons’sresearch whereby he suggested that “over time, people show more positive-face saving strategiesonline, as people adjust to this “faceless” medium” (1994).RESEARCH FRAMEWORK This research paper will focus on language politeness specifically on politeness theory byPenelope Brown and Stephen Levinson. Thus, a data will be chosen to be the instrument of theresearch and the data analysis will be based on Brown and Levinson’s theory of politenessstrategies. In this theory, there are two major categories which are positive and negativepoliteness. They are defined as below: i. Negative Politeness: a face saving act which is oriented to the person’s negative face will tend to show deference, emphasize the importance of the other’s time or concerns , and even include an apology for the imposition or interaction. ii. Positive Politeness: a face saving act which is concerned with the person’s positive face will tend to show solidarity, emphasize that both speaker want the same thing, and that they have a common goal.METHODOLOGY In order to fulfil the objectives of this research, a set of data consisting 15 pages of real-time chat was taken from My English Club chatroom. My English Club chat room is one of thechat room designed for those who are interested in learning, practicing, improving and sharing
knowledge of English. The participants in the chat room were entirely random people whoshared common interest regarding the chat topic. However, there is no specific topic beingdiscussed in this real-time chat room. Intrigued by this factor, the data were taken and analyzedlater. In order to establish the relationship of whether the messages posted in the chat roomfollows any forms of politeness, the data were analyzed based on Brown and Levinson’spoliteness strategies. Firstly, the messages in the chat page were analyzed and categorizedaccording to positive and negative politeness strategies. The analysis was meant to cater to notonly answer the objectives of this whole research but also to find out what are the chatters’tendency politeness strategies. This corpus, consists of 15 pages long messages from the chat, was taken and analyzed inorder to find out if there is any correlation between the chatter and the politeness used. Theresults were organized in the form of tabulated data. The participants involved in theconversation were not informed earlier that the messages will be used for this research study.However, their anonymity is kept in confidential so that their personal rights is maintained andnot exploited. One of the main reasons why random chatters were picked in this research is that they areheavy users of the chat room when compared to other internet users for many of them have theirpersonal account there.
FINDINGS POLITENESS STRATEGIES ELEMENTS FREQUENCY POSITIVE Joke 4 Ask for a reason 1 Solidarity strategy 1 NEGATIVE Hedging devices 9 Minimizing the imposition by 5 using mitigating device Apologizing 3 Table 1: Frequency Of Politeness Strategy Table 1 shows the frequency of politeness strategies used by the users of My EnglishClub chat room. From the table above,we found out that more negative politeness were used bythe users compared to positive politeness. As we can see from the table, the negative politenessstrategy occurs about 17 times in the corpus and it was divided into several elements which areHedging devices (9 times), Minimizing the imposition by using mitigating devices (5 times), andapologizing (3 times). In contrary, positive politeness shows lesser occurrences compared tonegative politeness which are 6 times. Similarly to the negative politeness, there are threeelements of positive politeness used by the users which are related to making jokes (4 times), askfor a reason (1 times), and solidarity strategy (1 times). In summary, it is undeniable that in MyEnglish Club chat room, more negative politeness is used than positive politeness.
DISCUSSION The goal of this research is to identify whether the users of chat room use languagepoliteness strategies or not and if they did use it, which politeness strategies are frequently usedby them, positive or negative. From the table above, we found that language politeness did appear in My English Clubchat room. As one of the computer-mediated communication tools, the spoken words areexpressed through writing. The findings that we have completed are based on analyzing thelanguage politeness on the network itself which includes politeness strategies, negative andpositive, as well as the elements of both strategies. The result describes that the users of My English Club chat room use more negativepoliteness in comparison with the positive politeness. This finding is in line with the previousresearch done by Carlo and Yoo whereby they stated that “more negative and fewer positivepoliteness strategies used in online chat” (n/a). However, this finding contradicts withSimmons’s research whereby he suggested that “over time, people show more positive-facesaving strategies online, as people adjust to this “faceless” medium” (1994). Based on our observation, the reason for the users of My English Club chat room in usingmore negative politeness is because they are bound by the chatiquette of the site. They are notallowed to use obscene words and vulgar language. Also, they have to respect, polite, andconsiderate towards each other. The rationale of this chatiquette is because they are actuallytalking to the real people. These people may have different opinions from them and the fact thatthey are coming from very different cultures, hence, proper treatment should be implied to themas well as respecting and accepting their opinions and ideas even though there is certain degree
of disagreement. So, by using negative politeness, it depicts how respectable a person towardsother members or chatters when they are conversing with each other. Moreover, in this “faceless” medium, the social distance between the users is larger thanthose in the real world. Because the real-time chat is a virtual world, people tend to hide orchange their identity and most of them are anonymous in that virtual world, more negativepoliteness are needed due to the fact that they do not know each other. One way of determiningtheir social gap is through the use of hedging devices and apologies to minimize the impositionor interruption they might do to the other members as evident in the findings of this research. In addition, though negative politeness dominate the strategies used by the users of onlinechat, there are several times when positive politeness was used. For example, when the users aretelling jokes, they tend to use positive politeness. This proves that by implying the positivepoliteness, the social distance can be reduced and that their relationship is closer. This is similaras what is said by Simmons, because after some time, they will become close to each other,therefore, positive politeness was used unlike those who are still new in the chat room who usesmore negative politeness as they are not close enough.CONCLUSION: In conclusion, language politeness strategies in real-time chat varies since it is acommunication medium involving different people. Based on our result, it is proved that bothpoliteness strategies, either positive or negative, play a vital role in encouraging good interactionbetween the users of the chat room. Furthermore, by applying politeness strategies, we will ableto identify the social relationship that they have whether they are close to each other or not.
Thus, it is pertinent to note that politeness strategies is very important not only in the face-to-facecommunication but also in computer-mediated communication (CMC).REFERENCES:Burke, M., & Kraut, R. (2008). Mind Your P’s and Q’s: When Politeness Helps and Hurts in Online Communities. Retrieved on March 25, 2013 from http://delivery.acm.org/10.1145/1360000/1358830/p3195- burke.pdf?ip=18.104.22.168&acc=ACTIVE%20SERVICE&CFID=192089738&CFTOK EN=17586125&__acm__=1363396407_f95de16a6a93854765af3ec3b54e3cc7Carlo, J.,& Yoo,Y. (in press). “How may I help you?” Politeness in Computer-mediated and Face-to-face Reference Transactions. Information and OrganizationChat Room. (2013). In wikipedia. Retrieved March 30, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chat_roomHerring, S. C. (1996). Computer-mediated Communication. Philadelphia: John BenjaminsInstant Messaging. (2013). In wikipedia. Retrieved March 30, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_messengerMetz, J. M. (1992, November). Computer mediated- communication: Perceptions of a new context. Paper presented at the Speech Communication Association annual conference, ChicagoOnline Chat. (2013). In wikipedia. Retrieved March 30, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_chat
Pittam, J. ＆ Pintel, E. S. (1997). Strangers in a Strange Land: Interaction Management on Internet Relay Chat. Human Communication Research. Vol.23(4). P.507-534.Simmons, T. (1994). Politeness Theory In Compute-Mediated Communication: Face- Threatening Acts in a “Faceless” Medium. Unpublished masters thesis, Asthon University, Birmigham, England. Retrieved March 31, 2013 from http://eric.ed.gov/ ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED381005Walther, J. B. (1992). Interpersonal effects in computer-mediated interaction: A relational perspective. Communication Research, 19, 52-90.Yule, G. (1996). Pragmatics. United Kingdom : Oxford University Press