• George Yule (1996):
the traditional linguists have no real social lives but the
modern linguists tend to consider that linguistic interaction
has a tight relation to social interaction.
• An interaction will make sense because of
factors relate to
o relative status of the participants
o social values: age and power
“Excuse me, Mr. Buckingham, but can I talk to You for a minute?”
“Hey, Bucky, got a minute?”
“Mr”+ Last name
one’s nickname or first name
• Politeness is the awareness of another person’s face.
”: the public self-image of a person.
: the expectations dealing with one’s
face or public image.
: a threat to another selfimage.
: an act of saving one’s
One day a young neighbor was At the same moment there was a
couple of older people who were
playing music so loudly in the
trying to sleep.
middle of the night.
• Grandpa: “I’m going to tell him to stop that awful noise
• Grandma: “Perhaps you could just ask him if he’s going to stop
soon because it’s getting a bit late and people need
to get to sleep.”
• Grandpa’s saying:
• Grandma’s saying:
need to be
independent, to have
freedom of action, and
not to be imposed on
need to be accepted,
even liked, by others. In
short, a need to be
• You want to lend a pen
Self: (looks in bag)
Other: (offers pen) Here, use this
statement, but not
directly addressed to the other
o“Uh, I forgot my pen”
o“Hmm, I wonder where I put my pen”
statement, that directly
addressed to the other as a means of expressing
o“Give me a pen”
o“Lend me your pen”
: leads the requester to appeal to
a common goal, and even friendship, via expressions
o How a bout letting me use your pen?
o Hey, buddy, I’d appreciate it if you’d
let me use your pen.
strategy: a face saving act.
The most typical form used is a question containing a modal verb
o Could you lend me a pen?
o I’m sorry to bother you, but I ask you for a pen or something?
: the tendency to use positive
politeness forms, emphasizing closeness between speaker
• Deference strategy:
forms, emphasizing the hearer’s right to freedom
• The basic assumption:
• One way of avoiding risk is to provide an opportunity for the
other to halt the potentially risky action.
A: Are you busy? (pre-request)
B: not really (go ahead)
A: Check over this memo. (request)
B: Okay (accept)
C: Are you busy? (pre-request)
D: Oh, sorry (stop).