politeness_theory - Politeness Theory Politeness Theory The...

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Politeness Theory
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Politeness Theory The theory of politeness, used in essay by Benjamin Bailey in our reading, originates with work by the sociologist Erving Goffman. Goffman pointed out that everyday conversation is loaded with "extra" material far beyond what might be needed to exchange information or to accomplish speech acts . Goffman argued that such “extra” material attended to "ritual" needs of interlocutors. These needs were associated with a social attribute Goffman labelled face .”
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Erving Goffman 1922-1982
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Politeness Theory In the late 1970’s John Gumperz and his students Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson, as well as Gumperz's Berkeley colleague Robin Lakoff, elaborated Goffman's insight into a general theory of attention to ritual aspects of persons, called “politeness theory”. The best-known version of “politeness theory” is found in Brown and Levinson’s 1987 book Politeness (There is also a second edition of the book that responds to critiques of the first).
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Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson(Now at Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen
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Elements of Politeness Theory Every interlocutor possesses two kinds of “face”: Positive face and negative face. Positive face : a person's right to be liked, to have other people like what they like, to have other people be interested in them. Positive face can be thought of as the need for “ involvement .” Negative face : a person's right to not be bothered, to enjoy what Gumperz called " autonomy ."
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Elements of Politeness Theory Every interactional act can be considered as a threat to “face”, as a “Face-threatening act” (FTA) FTA’s are mitigated by “ positive politeness ” – attention to positive face – and “ negative politeness ” – attention to negative face. How much mitigation (of either type) is required depends on
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This note was uploaded on 05/06/2009 for the course ANTH 276 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at University of Arizona- Tucson.

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politeness_theory - Politeness Theory Politeness Theory The...

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