Ling 122:  English as a World Language - 9

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Ling 122: English as a World Language - 9

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1. Ling 122: English as a World Language - 9 Politeness Readings: Y. Kachru & L. Smith, Chapter 3 Kyung-Ja Park

2. The concept of politeness is crucial in any communication, but particularly in cross cultural communication Communication with others must take culture into consideration Norms of politeness vary from culture to culture Politeness and Culture

3. Politeness in High and Low Context Cultures What is meant by a ‘high context message’? What is meant by a ‘low context message’? What is meant by a ‘high’ or a ‘low context culture’? Why is the understanding of this concept important? High and Low Context Cultures

4. All languages have devices to indicate politeness and formality. Linguistic markers of status, deference, humility Posture, facial expressions, gestures, etc. Politeness is closely tied to cultural values. One must know the cultural values in order to function successfully in a society. Ways to indicate politeness

5. Face Status Rank Role Power Age Sex Social Distance Intimacy Kinship Group membership Parameters of Politeness

6. The public self-image that every member wants to claim for him/herself Negative face – the claim to freedom of action and freedom from imposition. Positive face – the positive self-image of the conversation partners. FACE

7. Negative face-threatening speech acts threaten to restrict addressee’s freedom of action or freedom from imposition Could you lend me $100 until next month? If I were you, I’d consult a doctor. That sounds serious. You’re so luck to have such a good job! Positive face-threatening speech acts threaten the positive self-image of the addressee by signaling undesirable qualities or disagreement Wasn’t that report due today? I’m not sure I agree with your interpretation of that. ‘Mabel thinks you have put on some weight.’ Face-Threatening Speech Acts

8. Are all requests considered threatening to the negative face of the interlocutor(s) in other cultures? Are all less-than-positive comments about one’s appearance considered threatening to the positive fact of the interlocutor(s) in other cultures? Are notions of positive and negative face universal?

9. ‘… a collection of rights and duties’ ‘… hierarchy and position in a system of roles’ General Rule: The higher the status, the more politeness from the lower status participant Japanese Politeness Assignment Rule: If the speaker is lower in social status that the hearer, then the utterance has to be polite. If the speaker is higher in social status than the hearer but is lower than the subject of the sentence he is uttering, then the utterance has to be polite. Status

10. Rank: A hierarchical organization with reference to a social institution. One’s rank often serves as the term of address One’s rank often cues the level of politeness required. Cultures vary as to which relationships are treated as rank relationships and which ones are treated as status relationships Rank

11. Role refers to the less institutionalized position one assumes in some interaction Host/guest Captain/team Etc. Role

12. Power: The ability to impose one’s will on others Sometimes high status and high power don’t coincide Constitutional monarchy In Britain, Japan, Thailand, special terms of address & other markers of polite language use signal the monarch’s high status & power. Power

13. Age The relative ages of the speaker and the hearer determine how politeness is expressed In many speech communities , a younger person may not address an older person by his/her name, even if the younger person is of higher status. In Thailand, even among close friends & casual acquaintances, the younger person uses a term of respect in addressing the older.

14. Sex or gender differences exist in all cultures with respect to polite language In general, women’s speech is supposed to be more polite. In many cultures, men’s speech is constrained in the presence of women. Sex differences take precedence over intimacy in male-female interaction. Sex

15. Social distance is a factor affecting politeness. Social distance is linked to intimacy. The more intimate the participants are, the less social distance between them. The more intimate , the less polite they are to each other Social Distance

16. Of participants – significant others Of setting – boss/employee at a bar-be-cue Intimacy

17. The relationship between participants determines what linguistic features are used. India: use of honorific / plural forms of pronouns to address or refer to parents-in-law Kinship

18. In some societies, group membership is important in determining what politeness strategies are used. Japan: certain honorifics used with out-group members only; others for in-group AAE: signifying & marking Marking: narrator affects the voice mannerisms of the speaker in the story Signifying: ‘I see you got your furniture rearranged.’ Group Membership

19. Cultural values determine which parameters (i.e., face, status, rank, role, power, age, sex, social distance, intimacy, kinship, group membership) interact with each other, and which ones are weighted more heavily in comparison with the others. Observation about Politeness Across Cultures

20. Pronouns of address Romance languages - ‘tu’ vs. ‘vous’ forms Thai – use of pronouns for ‘I’ and ‘you’ depends on status, rank, age, sex, social distance/intimacy & kinship/group membership ‘I’ ‘you’ phom/dichaîn khun chan th?? uá? lur kuu m?? rau kćć kháu n??? phîi naay nuu than etc. etc. Instruments of Politeness

21. Honorifics Japanese Yamada ga musuko to syokuzi o tanosinda. Speaker H, referent & son L Yamada-san ga musuko-san to o-syokuzi o tanosim-are-ta. Speaker L, referent & soon H Yamada-san ga musuko to o-syokuzi o tanosim-are-ta. Speaker & son L, referent H “Yamada enjoyed dinner with (his/my) son.” German – ‘Herr Doktor Professor Hubner’ English ‘Honorable,’ ‘Respected,’ ‘Sir,’ ‘Excellency’ Instruments of Politeness

22. Kinship terms In many Asian languages, kinship terms are often used for people unrelated to the speaker: Uncle / aunt Older sibling Younger sibling etc. Instruments of Politeness

23. Set formulas Arabic Alla ma?ak = ‘God be with you’ Alla yihfazak = ‘God preserve you’ Hindi Pranaaam Xuš raho Korean ‘Where are you going?’ ‘Just over there.’ Instruments of Politeness

24. Plurals In many languages (e.g., Russian, Czech, Serbo-Croatian, some dialects of Polish), plurals may be used to show politeness when addressing a single person. Instruments of Politeness

25. Questions In some societies, questions are used to express politeness, e.g. Inner Circle English- speaking cultures. ‘Could you tell me the time?’ Instruments of Politeness

26. Indirect speech acts ‘It’s cold in here.’ In Bengali, requests are sometimes made through plain statements, e.g., in a clothing shop … Aamaar šart dorkaar ‘I need a shirt.’ In some cultures, talk about some unrelated topic is first indulged in before the real subject is mentioned. Instruments of Politeness

27. Topicalization and focus In English, topicalization and focus can effect the degree of politeness. ‘If you DON’T MIND my asking, where did you get that dress? ‘WHERE did you get that dress, if you don’t mind my asking?’ Which is more polite sounding? Why? Instruments of Politeness

28. Effort The greater the effort expended in face-maintaining linguistic behavior, the greater the politeness, E.g., ‘I wouldn’t dream of it since I know you are very busy, but I am simply unable to do it myself, so ….’ Is this a universal tendency? Instruments of Politeness

29. Use of ‘little’ Many languages use the phrase ‘a little’ to convey the meaning carried by English ‘please’ in imperatives. Japanese ‘chotto’ Thai ‘nooy’ Milwaukee-ese ‘once’ (as in ‘Come here once’) Instruments of Politeness

30. Hedges Linguistic devices by which a speaker avoids statements that are considered too strong. Hedges are used to reduce friction in that they leave the way open for the respondent to disagree with the speaker and the speaker to retreat. ‘Doc, Sleepy and Grumpy are sorta short.’ Instruments of Politeness

31. Gaze, gesture, & body posture Japanese bow, exchange business cards with two hands Thais wai, avoid touching the head The ‘ok’ sign can mean Money (Japan) Zero (France) An obscene comment (Greece) Instruments of Politeness

32. Tannen examines the differences in the pragmatic uses of language in relation to regional American English dialects. - Deborah Tannen – A New Yorker. New Yorker talking about New Yorkers, first hand information. You can also talk about yourself and your language experiences with more confidence. Tannen, “Talking New York:…”

33. 3. New Yorkers have lots of ways of being friendly that put non-NYers off. E.g. “The way we ask question, to show that we are interested in the other person”. Diane: You live in LA? Chad: Yeah. Diane: Y’visiting here? Chad: Yeah. Diane: Whaddya do there? Chad: I work for Disney Prese- Walt Disney. Diane: You an artist? Chad: No, no. Diane: Writer? Chad: Yeah! Can you tell who is New Yorker here and why? Tannen, “Talking New York:…”

34. HOW DO NEW YORKERS TALK DIFFERENTLY? 1. New Yorkers can easily chime in to conversations with strangers, and get out as easily as they chime in. 2. New Yorkers find it appropriate to make comments to strangers when there’s something to complain about, since complaining give them (“us”) a sense of togetherness in adversity. “Why don’t they do something about this garbage?” “Ever since they changed the schedules, you can’t get a bus!” Tannen, “Talking New York:…”

35. 4. In a really good New York conversation, more than one person is talking a lot of time. HOW? E.g. (From taped and analyzed conversations), NY listeners punctuate a speaker’s talk with comments, reactions, questions. 5. Knowing what you’re talking about is not necessary in order to take part in any kind of conversation. Knowing what kind of comment to make, when, and how fast is not only necessary, but sufficient. Tannen, “Talking New York:…”

36. 6. NY listener does a lot of talking. HOW? E.g. By showing your appreciation fast and loud, if you like the story, or if you think that someone has made a good point. Will you feel comfortable if someone keeps on saying “Wow!, “What!”, or “Oh, God!” during your speech? Tannen, “Talking New York:…”

37. 7. NYers also think it’s nice to let others in on their thoughts, and to tell about their personal experiences; the expectation is that others will do the same Can you imagine a situation where this could lead to a “social problem”? Tannen, “Talking New York:…”

38. Author’s Assessment: “After observing many hours of conversation and analyzing tape recordings of many more, the style of New York conversation grows out of the desire to show involvement with other people” Our Lesson: Knowledge should lead us to appreciate (NOT fear) differences, and our study of dialect difference should also lead us to appreciate linguistic differences. An important book on ‘Regional and Ethnic Dialects of American English’: Wolfram, Walt and Natalie Schilling-Estes. 2006. American English (Second Edition). Blackwell. Tannen, “Talking New York:…”

39. What value system is Korea English rooted in? What are the characteristics of that value system? How do those values manifest themselves in Korea English? What are the implications for international business transactions? Kyung-Ja Park on Korea English

40. Implications for doing business in a global economy - China Conclusion

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