Paper presented in EFL seminar “Innovation in English Language Teaching” hosted by UPT Balai Bahasa UniversitasMulawarman, on 24 Mei2013FTA in EFL Teaching1Face-Threatening Acts (FTA) in EFL Teaching:How to Elicit Students’ Language Politeness in the ClassroomBySusiloMulawarman UniversityEmail: Olisusunmul@yahoo.comIntroductionTeaching foreogn language is not only a matter of enabling students to speak in targetlanguage but also tranferring values, cultures, and norms during the process of learning inthe classroom. Values, cultures and norms are things with which all human beings shouldconcern to nobly behave in a society otherwise they cannot be well accepted by membersof the society. Therefore it is quite wise if students should also be equipped with suchquality.Indonesia is one of the expanding circles, according to Kachru, where English is notused as a lingua franca; as a consequence, it should be taught in schools as a foreignlanguage. As nonnative speakers of English, it might be very hard for Indonesian studentsto manisfest language politeness in verbal interaction when they negotiate their intentionsin the conversation since English is not their mother tongue. What often happens in EFLclass is that teachers as well as students focus the learning more on language forms insteadof language function. This results in the lack of paying attention to social context in theprocess of teaching and learning English in the classroom. If this happening goes ahead ina long time in EFL class, students might be very fluent in speaking English but they cannotperform good communication in an appropriate contexts.Karl Burler introduced “organon model” to describe how language should meetcontext as the verbal instrument in society. According to him, there are three signs inrelation with using language in a society, i.e. 1) a symptom (appeal function) - as a signsays something about a sender, for example, whether a sender is female or male; 2) asymbol (reference function) - as a sign refers to objects and state of affairs; and 3) a signal(expression function) - as a receiver must interpret the sign or react to what has been said.Meanwhile, the social context, according to Halliday, concerns the Field (what is goingon), Tenor (the social roles and relationships between the participants), and Mode (aspectsof the channel of communication, e.g., monologic/dialogic, spoken/written, +/- visual-
Paper presented in EFL seminar “Innovation in English Language Teaching” hosted by UPT Balai Bahasa UniversitasMulawarman, on 24 Mei2013FTA in EFL Teaching2contact, etc.). Language politeness resides in the function of language in which contextplays a very important role. Thus, language politeness should be explicitly taught and beelicited from the students in the classroom in order that the students finally can performbetter communication in English instead of only being very fluent in speaking English.What is politeness, then? To average people, being polite means showing good mannersand thinking about other people’s feelings. However, for sociolinguist, politeness meansthe way that people choose to speak and how their listeners react to what they say. In thispaper, the term ‘politeness’ refers to the sociolinguistics’ terms.It is most likely the final impact of teaching and evaluating language politeness thatthe students can internalize universal values in social communication, i.e. courtesy, whichwill gradually build the students characters. This concern is quite important not only in thecontext of learning English as a foreign language in Indonesia, but also in equippingstudents with strong character internalization through education in order that they can livetogether with other people in international neighbourhood. Courteous people as citizens isnow extremely needed in the context of building Indonesian young generations’ charactersin the future. As is stapulated in the “UU No.20/2003 Sistem Pendidikan Nasional Pasal 3,the final end of Indonesian educational efforts is “Mengembangkan kemampuan danmembentuk watak serta peradaban bangsa yang bermartabat dalam rangka mencerdaskankehidupan bangsa”. This implies that in the process of EFL teaching, building students’characters is a must. Therefore, politeness in EFL might obviously be important.Etymologically, the English word ‘polite’ is originated from the Latinate pastparticiple ‘politus’, meaning ‘polished’ or ‘smoothed’. However, scientifically, politenesscan be understood from many different models, each of which can be traced back togeneral notions on sort of civilized or courteous activity. There are many different modelsof politeness concept, for example, Grice’s maxim of politeness, Lakoff’s rules ofpoliteness, Leech’s politeness principles, and Brown and Levinson’s universal model ofpoliteness. In this paper, I would refer politeness as any concept proposed by Brown andLevinson because this is the most comprehensive one. They defined politeness as “thepublic self-image that every member [of a society] wants to claim for himself ”. Accordingto them, during social interaction a speaker must rationally assess the nature of a face-threatening act (FTA). In this concept of politeness, there are three indicators to assess thepoliteness, i.e. the social distance (D) and social power (P) between a speaker and a hearer,and the absolute ranking (R) of impositions in a particular culture. Social Distance means
Paper presented in EFL seminar “Innovation in English Language Teaching” hosted by UPT Balai Bahasa UniversitasMulawarman, on 24 Mei2013FTA in EFL Teaching3degree of familiarity or solidarity which the speaker and hearer share; relative Power refersto degree to which the speaker can impose his/her will on hearer; and absolute ranking ofimpositions in the culture is the right of the speaker to perform the act, and the degree towhich the hearer welcomes the imposition.In addition, FTA concerns with the relation between politeness and interlocutor’sface. In an interaction, politeness can be defined as the means employed to show awarenessof another person’s self-image. For example, the expression “give me that!” is a directspeech act that can give the impression that speaker has a social power over hearer in acommunication. If it happens that a speaker says that expression to a hearer, it can meanthat the hearer will lose his/her face because it runs an assumption that the speaker’s poweris higher than the hearer’s. While the expression “could you give me that?” is an indirectspeech act that can be used in the conversation to remove the assumption of power; thusthe risk of hearer’s face loss can be reduced. The former expression seems to be ‘order’which might strongly threaten hearer’s face and the latter one, which is ‘request’ might lessthreaten hearer’s face. In short, there is a continuum of room where the speaker in aconversation can fill in to variably put any expressions which imply degree of politeness.Making Language Politeness-Embedded MaterialsSince English is not lingua franca in Indonesia, so it is not spoken in everydayactivity. Students must learn language politeness through the process of learning English.This implies that teachers should make balanced between focusing language forms andfunctions in teaching English. Obviously, context is really important in every singleexercise. In other words, giving authentic meaningful practices with real contexts shouldalways be done in the process of EFL teaching. Teachers, in this case, should alwaysremember Halliday’s three terms, i.e. field, tenor and modes when teaching.Preparing materials for EFL class is an important part of teaching. It is most likelythat teacher should make materials before teaching. Here is the example of materials whichis politeness-embedded.
Paper presented in EFL seminar “Innovation in English Language Teaching” hosted by UPT Balai Bahasa UniversitasMulawarman, on 24 Mei2013FTA in EFL Teaching4Materials for Role PlayGenre : RequestLevel : AdvancedSituation:You are undergraduate student in FKIP and are taking a course of Morphology this semester. Youhaven’t missed this class once this semester and consider yourself a diligent student. So far youhave a good average in the class, not because it is easy for you, but because you have workedvery hard. Among your classmates, you have a reputation for taking very good notes. The lecturerhas just announced that the midterm is next week. One of your classmates, who is taking classwith you for this semester and who has frequently missed the class, asks you for your notes. Youdidn’t often interact with him/her outside the class, but have occasionally done small group worktogether in class. When the class ends, he/she approaches you for your notes, but you don’t wantto lend them to him/her.Example of the possible Dialogue:Adi : Lend me your lecture notes!How about letting me have a look at your lecture notes?Could you please lend me your lecture notes?I didn’t take any notes for the last lecture.....no words but he silently looks at your lecture notes.You : I’d like to but....Sorry I don’t want to lend my notes to anyone.What if you ask the lecturer’s?Even I cannot read my notes, I am affraid....Don’t borrow my lecture notesTeaching procedure:- Ask the students to read the dialogue and discuss every possible expressions stated byboth interlocutors.- Discuss in brief the field, toner and mode of the conversation with the students- Ask the students to make their own dialogues which is politeness-embeddedTeaching evaluation:- Discourse completion task- Politeness Daily Routines PortfolioEliciting Language Politeness in EFL ClassThere is a number of evaluation forms that can be used in EFL teaching, but thesefollowing two forms are, in my opinion, appropriate for evaluating EFL teaching focusingon politeness: 1) Politenes Daily Routines Portofolio, and 2) Discourse Completion Task.Politeness Daily Routines Portofolio (PDRP)In this kind of evaluation, students are supposed to make a daily account of anyconversations in any situation. Teachers should design a natural English conversation task
Paper presented in EFL seminar “Innovation in English Language Teaching” hosted by UPT Balai Bahasa UniversitasMulawarman, on 24 Mei2013FTA in EFL Teaching5to students together with the possible contexts. When they are doing the task, they makethe account, and at the same time they fill in a checklist or questionnaire to elicit thepoliteness embedded in the conversations.An example of PDRP model:Transcript taken from real-life conversation:...........................................Speaker :......................Hearer :......................Situation :......................Reflection on Politeness:No.Speech Act(speaker)SOptional Response(hearer)HPoliteness indiators of AssessmentSocialPowerSocialDistanceAbsolut rankingof imposition ina particularculture1 Meet me at 9 o’clocktomorrow!Whatever you said.S+, H- S+,H+ N/A2 What if you meet meat 9 o’clockSorry, I have to attendthe class at 9S -, H- S-,H- N/A.....Discourse Completion Task (DCT)It is scripted dialogues representing socially differentiated situations. The dialoguesshould be preceded by a short description of situations, specifying social distance andrelative power of the interlocutors. In the situations, students are asked to give response toeach situation according to how they believe they would respond in a real-life situation.An example of DCT:Instruction:Read this dialogue, identify the situation, and fill in the blank space!Dialogue 1:Situation:In a meeting, when a man who is the boss of the place where the meeting takes place feltuncomfortable when he just sat. The women, who is the secretary, sit next to him. This is what hesaid:Man : This chair is really uncomfortable!Woman : I think that chair is designed for someone taller than you.Man : (.......................................) Psychological State of the man: the man intends tochange the chairThe answer: Give me the new one.Dialogue 2:Situation:
Paper presented in EFL seminar “Innovation in English Language Teaching” hosted by UPT Balai Bahasa UniversitasMulawarman, on 24 Mei2013FTA in EFL Teaching6In a party, when a man sits next to a women. They did not know each other before.Man : This chair is really uncomfortable!Woman : I think that chair is designed for someone taller than you.Man : (....................................) Psychological State of the man: the man intends to changethe chairThe answer: Why don’t you change your chair
Paper presented in EFL seminar “Innovation in English Language Teaching” hosted by UPT Balai Bahasa UniversitasMulawarman, on 24 Mei2013FTA in EFL Teaching7BibliographyHuang, Yan. 2007. Pragmatics. Great Clarendon Street, Oxford: Oxford University PressLeech, Geoffrey. 1996. Principles of Pragmatics. New York: Longman Group LimintedGrundy, Peter. 2008. Doing Pragmatics. Euston Road, London: Hooder EducationFelix-Bradefer, J Cesar. 2008. Politeness in Mexico and United States. Amsterdam,Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Co.