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Pragmatics

When a diplomat says yes, he means ‘perhaps’;


When he says perhaps, he means ‘no’;
When he says no, he is not a diplomat.
When a lady says no, she means perhaps.
When she says perhaps, she means yes.
But when she says yes, she is no lady.
Pragmatics
• is concerned with our understanding of
language in context.
• Two kinds of contexts are relevant.
• linguistic context—the discourse that
precedes the phrase or sentence to be
interpreted;
• situational context—virtually everything
nonlinguistic in the environment of the
speaker.
Pragmatics
• Speech act theory (J. L. Austin, John R. Searle)
• Paul Grice’s theory of conversational
implicatures
• Politeness theory (Penelope Brown and
Stephen C. Levinson, Geoffrey Leech)
Pragmatics deals with facts about
• the objective facts of the utterance (the speaker, when,
where)
• the speaker's intentions (what language, what meaning,
whom he refer to, whether a pronoun is used demonstratively
or anaphorically, what he intends to achieve by saying sg.)
• beliefs of the speaker and those to whom he speaks, and the
conversation they are engaged in; what beliefs do they share;
what is the focus of the conversation, what are they talking
about.
• relevant social institutions (promising, marriage ceremonies,
courtroom procedure)
Pragmatics studies
• the ways in which context contributes to meaning
• how the transmission of meaning depends not
only on the linguistic knowledge (e.g. grammar,
lexicon) of the speaker and listener, but also on
the context of the utterance,
knowledge about the status of those involved,
the inferred intent of the speaker
• how language users are able to overcome
apparent ambiguity.
Pragmatics is the study of
• the speaker's meaning, on what the speaker's
intentions and beliefs are.
• speech act theory
• the meaning in context, and the influence that a
given context can have on the message.
• implicatures, i.e. the things that are communicated
even though they are not explicitly expressed.
• relative distance, both social and physical, between
speakers in order to understand what determines the
choice of what is said and what is not said.
Pragmatics
• deals with utterances, by which we will mean
specific events, the intentional acts of speakers at
times and places, typically involving language.
• the branch of linguistics which deals with the
study of meaning, its transmission of words by
manner, place, time, etc.
• the study of "how to do things with words" (the
name of a well known book by the philosopher
J.L. Austin), or perhaps "how people do things
with words" (to be more descriptive about it).
Speech acts

• People use language to accomplish certain kinds of acts,


broadly known as speech acts,
• distinct from physical acts (drinking a glass of water), or
mental acts (thinking about drinking a glass of water).
• Speech acts:
asking for a glass of water,
promising to drink a glass of water,
threatening to drink a glass of water,
ordering someone to drink a glass of water.
• direct
• indirect
Examples of speech acts
• Typical:
• Greeting, apologizing, describing something, asking a
question, making a request, giving an order, or making
a promise
• Watch out, the ground is slippery (performs the
speech act of warning)
• I will try my best to be at home for dinner (performs
the speech act of promising)
• Ladies and gentlemen, please give me your attention
(requests the audience to be quiet)
• Race with me to that building over there! (challenges)
Speech acts
• Direct speech acts
• Indirect speech acts
Direct Speech Acts
Speech Sentence
Function Examples
Act Type

"Jenny got an A on the


conveys information;
Assertion Declarative test"
is true or false

" Did Jenny get an A on


Question Interrogative elicits information the test?"

Orders and causes others to "Get an A on the test!"


Imperative
Requests behave in certain ways
Did Jenny get an A on the test?
• Do you know if Jenny got an A on the test?
1. Yes, I do (uncooperative answer in actual social life, but I'm
not necessarily going to tell you".
2. Yes, she did
3. No, she only got a B
• 2-3: the reply is directed to the speech act meaning, not the
literal meaning.
• Indirect:
• I'd like to know if Jenny got an A on the test.
I wonder whether Jenny got an A on the test.
Direct request: (Please) close the window
• Conventional indirect requests
• Questions
• Could you close the window?
Would you mind closing the window?
• assertions
I would like you to close the window.
• complaints, meant as an indirect request for
action
The window is still open!
I must have asked you a hundred times to keep
that window closed!
Indirect speech acts
• commonly used to reject proposals and to
make requests
• "Would you like to meet me for coffee?"
• "I have class."
• The second speaker used an indirect speech
act to reject the proposal.
Speech acts
• A) Locutionary: saying a sentence with a
specific meaning.
• B) Illocutionary: the intent that the speaker
has while saying the sentence.
• C) Perlocutionary: the result achieved by the
sentence.
J. L. Austin (1911-1960)
• a British philosopher of
language
• widely associated with the
concept of the speech act and
the idea that speech is itself a
form of action.
• How to Do Things With Words.
Oxford: Clarendon, 1962,
(Written version of Austin's
William James Lectures
delivered at Harvard in 1955)
John Searle (born 1932)
• American philosopher
• In his book Speech Acts
(1969), gives an account
of so-called
‘illocutionary acts’,
which Austin had
introduced in How to
Do Things with Words
(1962)
John Searle
• Speech Acts, Cambridge University Press 1969,
• "Indirect speech acts." In Syntax and
Semantics, 3: Speech Acts, ed. P. Cole & J. L.
Morgan, pp. 59–82. New York: Academic
Press. (1975). Reprinted in Pragmatics: A
Reader, ed. S. Davis, pp. 265–277. Oxford:
Oxford University Press. (1991)
SPEECH ACT ACCORDING TO SEARLE

• to understand language one must understand the speaker’s


intention.
• Since language is intentional behavior, it should be treated like
a form of action. statements as speech acts.
• The speech act is the basic unit of language used to express
meaning, an utterance that expresses an intention.
• Normally, it is a sentence, but it can be a word or phrase as
long as it follows the rules necessary to accomplish the
intention.
• When one speaks, one performs an act.
• understanding the speaker’s intention is essential to capture
the meaning.
Classification of illocutionary speech
acts according to Searle (1975)
• assertives = speech acts that commit a speaker to the truth of
the expressed proposition
• directives = speech acts that are to cause the hearer to take a
particular action, e.g. requests, commands and advice
• commissives = speech acts that commit a speaker to some
future action, e.g. promises and oaths
• expressives = speech acts that expresses on the speaker's
attitudes and emotions towards the proposition, e.g.
congratulations, excuses and thanks
• declarations = speech acts that change the reality in accord
with the proposition of the declaration, e.g. baptisms,
pronouncing someone guilty or pronouncing someone
husband and wife
Four types of speech act ACCORDING
TO SEARLE:
• utterance acts
• propositional acts (referring is a type of
propositional act)
• illocutionary acts (promises, questions and
commands)
• perlocutionary acts (can be used to elicit some
behavioral response from the listener)
Paul Grice’s
theory
of
conversational
implicatures
Paul Grice (1913–1988)

• a British-educated philosopher of language,


who spent the final two decades of his career
in the United States
• best known in the philosophy of language for
introducing the term “implicature,” and his
theory of conversational implicatures
• The Gricean Maxims (four Maxims of Quality,
Quantity, Relevance and Manner), or The
Cooperative Principle
Paul Grice (1913–1988)
• was the first to systematically study cases in
which what a speaker means differs from what
the sentence used by the speaker means
• What is said has been widely identified with the
literal content of the utterance;
• What is implicated, the implicature, with the non-
literal, what it is (intentionally) communicated,
but not said, by the speaker.
• The study of such conversational implicatures is
the core of Grice's influential theory.
Alan: Are you going to Paul's party?
Barb: I have to work.
Alan: Are you going to Paul's party?
Barb:
• . I have to work.
• Barb did not say that she is not going, she implied it.
• Grice introduced the technical terms implicate and
implicature for the case in which what the speaker said
is distinct from what the speaker thereby meant
(implied, or suggested).
• Barb implicated that she is not going; that she is not
going was her implicature.
• Implicating is what Searle (1975: 265–6) called an
indirect speech act.
• Barb performed one speech act (meaning that she is
not going) by performing another (saying that she has
to work).
Implicatures

• Alice: Bill is not present.


• Carol: Bill has a cold.

• I ask you to lunch.


• You reply, “I have a one o'clock class I'm not
prepared for.”
Implicatures

• Alice: Bill is not present.


• Carol: Bill has a cold.
• Implicature: the cold is a possible reason, for
Bill's absence
• Carol's comment is not cooperative — does
not contribute to the conversation — unless
her point is that Bill's cold is or might be the
reason for his absence.
Implicatures
• I ask you to lunch.
• You reply, “I have a one o'clock class I'm not
prepared for.”
• You have conveyed to me that you will not be
coming to lunch, although you haven't literally
said so.
• the need to prepare your class → you are not
coming to lunch for that reason
Conversational implicatures

• things that a hearer can work out from the way


something was said rather than what was said.
“Could you close the door?”
1. question – 2. request
1. “Yes”
2. the non-linguistic act of closing the door
• 2. the speaker used a form of words that is
conventionally a question, the hearer can infer
that the speaker is making a request.
Paul Grice: The cooperative principle
• The assumption that participants in a conversation
normally attempt to be informative, truthful, relevant, and
clear.

• "Make your contribution such as it is required, at the


stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or
direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged.”
• Introduced in 1975 (1989):
• Paul Grice, "Logic and Conversation," 1975. Reprinted in
Studies in the Way of Words. Harvard Univ. Press, 1989.

• describes the commonly accepted traits of successful


cooperative communication
Paul Grice: the Cooperative Principle or
the Gricean (Conversational) Maxims
• (1) The maxim of quality. Speakers' contributions
ought to be true.
• (2) The maxim of quantity. Speakers' contributions
should be as informative as required; not saying
either too little or too much.
• (3) The maxim of relevance. Contributions should
relate to the purposes of the exchange.
• (4) The maxim of manner. Contributions should be
perspicuous -- in particular, they should be orderly
and brief, avoiding obscurity and ambiguity.
Maxim of Quality: Truth

– (Supermaxim): Try to make your contribution one


that is true.
– (Submaxims):
• Do not say what you believe to be false.
• Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
Maxim of Quantity: Information

– Make your contribution as informative as is


required (for the current purposes of the
exchange).
– Do not make your contribution more informative
than is required.
Maxim of Relation: Relevance

• Be relevant.
Maxim of Manner: Clarity

– (Supermaxim): Be perspicuous.
– (Submaxims):
• Avoid obscurity of expression.
• Avoid ambiguity.
• Be brief (avoid unnecessary prolixity).
• Be orderly.
• Frame whatever you say in the form most suitable
for any reply that would be regarded as
appropriate; or, facilitate in your form of
expression the appropriate reply
The maxim of quantity
• Parent: Did you finish your homework?
• Child: I finished my algebra.
• Parent: Well, get busy and finish your English,
too!

• Conclusions to be drawn??

• violate" or "flout" these maxims.


The maxim of quantity
• Parent: Did you finish your homework?
• Child: I finished my algebra.
• Parent: Well, get busy and finish your English,
too!

• Conclusions to be drawn??

• violate" or "flout" these maxims.


Which maxims have been violated?
Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Polonius: What is the matter, my lord?
Hamlet: Between who?
Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
Hamlet: Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here
that old men have gray beards, that their faces are
wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree
gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit,
together with most weak hams: all which, sir, though I
most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not
honesty to have it thus set down; for yourself, sir,
should grow old as I am, if like a crab you could go
backward. (Hamlet, Act II, Scene II)
"Can you pass the salt?"

• Which maxim has been violated?


"Can you pass the salt?"

• if answered literally, would force the


responder into stating the obvious, also a vio-
lation of the maxim of quantity.

• Which maxim has been violated?


The cooperative principle
• goes both ways:
• speakers (generally) observe the cooperative
principle,
• and listeners (generally) assume that speakers
are observing it.
• meanings not explicitly conveyed in what is
said, but that can be inferred.
• possibility of implicatures
Criticism of the Cooperative Principle
• cooperative conversation, as with most social behavior,
is culturally determined, and the Cooperative Principle
cannot be universally applied due to intercultural
differences.
• the Malagasy are reluctant to share information and
flout the Maxim of Quantity by evading direct
questions and replying on incomplete answers because
of the risk of losing face by committing oneself to the
truth of the information, as well as the fact that having
information is a form of prestige.
• The Malagasy speakers choose not to be cooperative,
valuing the prestige of information ownership more
highly.
Implicatures

• deductions that are not made strictly on the basis of the


content expressed in the discourse.
• made in accordance with the conversational maxims, taking
into account both the linguistic meaning of the utterance as
well as the particular circumstances in which the utterance is
made.

• Speaker A: Smith doesn't have any girlfriends these days.


• speaker B: He's been driving over to the West End a lot lately.
presuppositions
• Situations that must exist for utterances to be appropriate
1.I am sorry that the team lost.
2.Have you stopped hugging your border collie?
3.The river Avon runs through Stratford.

• The presuppositions prevent violations of the maxim of


relevance.
presuppositions
• Situations that must exist for utterances to be appropriate
• For sentences like I am sorry that the team lost to be relevant,
it must be true that "the team lost.“are called Questions like
Have you stopped hugging your border collie? presuppose
that you hugged your border collie, and statements like The
river Avon runs through Stratford presuppose the existence of
the river and the town. The presuppositions prevent
violations of the maxim of relevance.
Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in
Wonderland

"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice,


very earnestly.
"I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended
tone, "so I can't take more."
"You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: "It's
very easy to take more than nothing."
Presupposition??

•Take some more tea


•Have another beer
Presupposition??

•Take some more tea


•Have another beer
• the presupposition that one has already had
some.
Politeness theory

• Robin Lakoff
• Penelope Brown, and Stephen C. Levinson
• Geoffrey Leech
Robin Lakoff
• Lakoff R. (1973) The logic of Politeness; or
minding your p's and q's. Papers from the 9th
Regional Meeting, Chicago Linguistics Society.
Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society

• Lakoff R. in Language and Women’s Place. New


York: Harper & Row (1975):
• Women's language is characterized by formal and
deference politeness, whereas men’s language is
exemplified by camaraderie
Robin Lakoff: 'Politeness Principle'
• (three maxims that are usually followed in
interaction)
1.formal politeness (not imposing on
others)
2.informal politeness (giving options)
3.intimate politeness (striving to make the
addressee feel good)
Politeness theory
• is the theory that accounts for the redressing of the affronts to face
posed by face-threatening acts to addressees.
• first formulated in 1978 by Brown, Penelope and Stephen C.
Levinson: Universals in Language Usage: Politeness Phenomena,
pp 56-289 in Goody, Esther [ed] Questions and Politeness.
Cambridge University Press.
• The first part is their fundamental theory concerning the nature of
‘politeness’ and how it functions in interaction. The second part is a
list of ‘politeness’ strategies with examples from three languages:
English, Tzeltal, and Tamil.
• Brown, Penelope and Stephen C. Levinson, 1987. Politeness: Some
universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.
Brown, Penelope and Levinson, Stephen (1978):
Universals in Language Usage: Politeness
Phenomena.
• introduce the notion of ‘face’ in order to illustrate
‘politeness’ in the broad sense. That is to say, all
interactants have an interest in maintaining two types of
‘face’ during interaction: ‘positive face’ and ‘negative face’.
• ‘positive face’: the positive and consistent image people
have of themselves, and their desire for approval.
• ‘negative face’ is “the basic claim to territories, personal
preserves, and rights to non-distraction” (p. 61).
• Utilising this notion of ‘face’, ‘politeness’ is regarded as
having a dual nature: ‘positive politeness’ and ‘negative
politeness’.
Positive and Negative Face
• Face is the public self image that every adult tries to
project.
• Positive Face: desires to be liked, admired, ratified, and
related to positively,
• Negative Face: the desire not to be imposed upon,
• Positive Face refers to one's self-esteem,
• Negative Face refers to one's freedom to act.
• The two aspects of face are the basic wants in any
social interaction, and so during any social interaction,
cooperation is needed amongst the participants to
maintain each others' faces.
Politeness
• is the expression of the speakers’ intention to
mitigate face threats carried by certain face
threatening acts toward another (Mills, Sara.
2003. Gender and Politeness. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, p. 6)

• Being polite consists of attempting to save


face for another.
Face-Threatening Acts (FTA-s)

• According to Brown and Levinson, positive and


negative face exist universally in human culture.
• A face threatening act is an act that inherently
damages the face of the adresser or the speaker by
acting in opposition to the wants and desires of the
other.
• positive face is threaten by being ignored.
• negative face is threaten by being imposed on.
Positive politeness vs. Negative
politeness
• ‘Positive politeness’ is expressed by satisfying ‘positive face’ in two
ways:
1) by indicating similarities amongst interactants;
2) by expressing an appreciation of the interlocutor’s self-image.
• ‘Negative politeness’ can also be expressed in two ways:
1) by saving the interlocutor’s ‘face’ (either ‘negative’ or ‘positive’)
by mitigating face threatening acts (hereafter FTAs), such as
advice-giving and disapproval;
2) by satisfying ‘negative face’ by indicating respect for the
addressee’s right not to be imposed on.

• ‘politeness’ is expressed not only to minimise FTAs, but also to


satisfy the interactants’ face regardless of whether an FTA occurs or
not.
Negative Face Threatening Acts

• Negative face is threatened when an individual


does not avoid or intend to avoid the obstruction
of their interlocutor's freedom of action.
• It can cause damage to either the speaker or the
hearer, and makes the one of the interlocutors
submit their will to the other.
• Freedom of choice and action are impeded when
negative face is threatened.
Damage to the Hearer
Damage to the Speaker
Damage to the Hearer
• An act that affirms or denies a future act of the hearer creates
pressure on the hearer to either perform or not perform the act.
Examples: orders, requests, suggestions, advice, remindings,
threats, or warnings.
• An act that expresses the speaker’s sentiments of the hearer or the
hearer’s belongings.
Examples: compliments, expressions of envy or admiration, or
expressions of strong negative emotion toward the hearer (e.g.
hatred, anger, lust).
• An act that expresses some positive future act of the speaker
toward the hearer. In doing so, pressure has been put on the hearer
to accept or reject the act and possibly incur a debt.
Examples: offers, and promises.
Damage to the Speaker
• An act that shows that the speaker is succumbing to
the power of the hearer.
 Expressing thanks
 Accepting a thank you or apology
 Excuses
 Acceptance of offers
 A response to the hearer’s violation of social
etiquette
 The speaker commits himself to something he
does not want to do
Positive Face Threatening Acts

• the speaker or hearer does not care about their


interactor’s feelings, wants, or does not want
what the other wants.
• Positive face threatening acts can also cause
damage to the speaker or the hearer.
• When an individual is forced to be separated
from others so that their well being is treated less
importantly, positive face is threatened.
Damage to the Hearer
Damage to the Speaker
Damage to the Hearer
• An act that expresses the speaker’s negative assessment
of the hearer’s positive face or an element of his/her
positive face.
1.The speaker indicates that he dislikes some aspect of
the hearer’s possessions, desires, or personal attributes.
2.The speaker expresses disapproval by stating or
implying that the hearer is wrong, irrational, or
misguided.
 expressions of disapproval (e.g. insults,
accusations, complaints),
 contradictions,
 disagreements,
 challenges.
Damage to the Hearer
• An act that expresses the speaker’s indifference toward the
addressee’s positive face.
• The addressee might be embarrassed for or fear the
speaker.
• Examples: excessively emotional expressions.
• The speaker indicates that he doesn’t have the same values
or fears as the hearer
• Examples: disrespect, mention of topics which are
inappropriate in general or in the context.
• The speaker indicates that he is willing to disregard the
emotional well being of the hearer.
• Examples: belittling or boasting.
Damage to the Hearer
• The speaker increases the possibility that a face-threatening act will
occur. This situation is created when a topic is brought up by the
speaker that is a sensitive societal subject.
•Examples: topics that relate to politics, race, religion.
• The speaker indicates that he is indifferent to the positive face
wants of the hearer. This is most often expressed in obvious non-
cooperative behavior.
• Examples: interrupting, non-sequiturs.
• The speaker misidentifies the hearer in an offensive or
embarrassing way. This may occur either accidentally or
intentionally. Generally, this refers to the misuse of address terms in
relation to status, gender, or age.
• Example: Addressing a young woman as "ma’am" instead of "miss."
Damage to the Speaker
• An act that shows that the speaker is in some sense
wrong, and unable to control himself.
 Apologies (speaker is damaging his own act by
admitting that he regrets one of his previous
acts)
 Acceptance of a compliment
 Inability to control one’s physical self
 Inability to control one’s emotional self
 Self-humiliation
 Confessions
Politeness Strategies

• bald on-record,
• negative politeness,
• positive politeness,
• off-record (indirect).
Bald On-record Strategies
• Bald on-record strategies usually do not attempt to minimize the threat to the
hearer’s face, although there are ways that bald on-record politeness can be used
in trying to minimilize FTAs implicitly. Often using such a strategy will shock or
embarrass the addressee, and so this strategy is most often utilized in situations
where the speaker has a close relationship with the audience, such as family or
close friends.
Great urgency or desperation
Watch out!
Speaking as if great efficiency is necessary
Hear me out:...
Task-oriented
Pass me the hammer.
Little or no desire to maintain someone's face
Don't forget to clean the blinds!
Doing the FTA is in the interest of the hearer
Your headlights are on!
• Instances in which the threat is minimized implicitly
 Welcomes
 Come in.
 Offers
 Leave it, I'll clean up later. Eat!
Positive Politeness Strategies
•Attend to H’s interests, needs, wants
•You look sad. Can I do anything?
•Use solidarity in-group identity markers
•Heh, mate, can you lend me a dollar?
•Be optimistic
•I’ll just come along, if you don’t mind.
•Include both speaker (S) and hearer (H) in activity
•If we help each other, I guess, we’ll both sink or swim in this course.
•Offer or promise
•If you wash the dishes, I’ll vacuum the floor.
•Exaggerate interest in H and his interests
•That’s a nice haircut you got; where did you get it?
•Avoid Disagreement
•Yes, it’s rather long; not short certainly.
•Joke
•Wow, that’s a whopper!
Negative Politeness Strategies
• Be indirect
• Would you know where Oxford Street is?
• Use hedges or questions
• Perhaps, he might have taken it, maybe. Could you please pass the rice?
• Be pessimistic
• You couldn’t find your way to lending me a thousand dollars, could you?
• Minimize the imposition
• It’s not too much out of your way, just a couple of blocks.
• Use obviating structures, like nominalizations, passives, or statements of
general rules
• I hope offense will not be taken. Visitors sign the ledger. Spitting will not be
tolerated.
• Apologize
• I’m sorry; it’s a lot to ask, but can you lend me a thousand dollars?
• Use plural pronouns
• We regret to inform you. (Brown and Levinson)
Off-record (indirect) Strategies
• This strategy uses indirect language and
removes the speaker from the potential to be
imposing.
• a speaker using the indirect strategy might
merely say “wow, it’s getting cold in here”
insinuating that it would be nice if the listener
would get up and turn up the thermostat
without directly asking the listener to do so.
Payoffs Associated with Each Strategy

 Bald on record
 Positive Politeness
 Negative Politeness
 Off record
 Don’t Do the FTA
Geoffrey Leech (1936)
• was Professor of
Linguistics and Modern
English Language at
Lancaster University
from 1974 to 2002.
• since 2002 has been
Emeritus Professor in
the Department of
Linguistics and English
Language, Lancaster
University.
Geoffrey Leech: Politeness maxims
(in Principles of Pragmatics, 1983)
1. tact,
2. generosity,
3. approbation,
4. modesty,
5. agreement,
6. sympathy

• vary from culture to culture: what may be


considered polite in one culture may be strange
or downright rude in another
Social distance between parties
(symmetric relation)

– Distinguish kin or friend from a stranger with whom


you may be of the same social status, but who is still
separated by social distance
– Different FTAs are used depending on the social
distance between interlocutors
– Example: We may use less elaborate positive
strategies or we may choose to use positive rather
than negative politeness when speaking with family
– Brown and Levinson, Leech
Power relations between parties
(asymmetric relation)
– we are inclined to speak to our social equals
differently than those whose status is higher or
lower than our own in a given situation
– Example: a professor is working in her office and
people are being very loud and disruptive in the
next room
– Brown and Levinson, Leech
Power relations between parties
(asymmetric relation)
– we are inclined to speak to our social equals differently than those
whose status is higher or lower than our own in a given situation
– Example: If a professor is working in her office and people are being
very loud and disruptive in the next room, she will go over there and
tell them to be quiet but the way she does it will differ depending on
who it is
– If they are students she will use the bald on-record strategy to make
sure there is no confusion in what she is asking
– Example: “Stop talking so loud!”
– If they are colleagues she will claim common ground with them using
the positive politeness strategy or frame an indirect request for them
to stop talking
– Example: “I’m working on a lecture and it’s really hard to concentrate
with all this noise.”
– If they are really high status directors of the department she may end
up saying nothing at all or apologize for interrupting them
– Example: No FTA
• Brown and Levinson, Leech
Power relations between parties
(asymmetric relation)

– Some impositions are greater than others. Highly


imposing acts like requests demand more redress
to mitigate their increased threat level.
– Brown and Levinson, Leech
Thank you for your attention!

Anna T. Litovkina

litovkin@terrasoft.hu