Positive Politeness & Social Harmony in Literary Discourse

Nawal F. Abbas

Abstract


The strategies of politeness are not arbitrarily chosen by speakers in interaction. Instead, the choice of a strategy is constrained by a number of contextual features (socio-cultural variables), such as the relative power of the speakers, the social distance of the speakers and what the speakers happen to be negotiating at the time of speaking. This study focuses on the linguistic strategies of politeness, and more specifically on the positive politeness, as represented in fiction. The novel chosen is that of Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables- a novel in which the main character Anne Shirley tries her best to establish common grounds with others until she achieves friendly and social harmonious relationships with nearly everybody. To show the above point, Brown and Levinson’s (1987) theory of politeness is adopted to account for the linguistic strategies, in addition to some subsequent contribution provided by Spencer-Oatey (2002) to account for sociality rights and obligations. This model is chosen to explore the relation between language use and the social relationship of the speakers. A point of departure, and according to O’Driscoll (1996), Brown and Levinson’s hierarchy of politeness strategies allows attention to positive to cover more ground than that subsumed under positive politeness (super-strategy 2). That is why baldly on-record (super-strategy 1) is used to pay positive face. The analysis shows that most of Anne’s directives in this speech event, which are linguistic realizations of both super-strategy 1 and 2, are meant to establish common grounds to achieve friendly and harmonious relationships with others.

 


Keywords


Politeness, positive politeness strategies, social power, social distance, rank of imposition.

Full Text:

PDF

References


Brown, P & Levinson, S (1987). Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chikogu, R. N. (2009). A Pragmatic study of the linguistic concept of politeness and change in social relations of power in Wole Soyinka's The Beautification of Area Boy. English Text Construction, 2(1), 70-90.

Chun, L. and Yun, Z. (2010). Apology strategies between social unequals in The Dream of the Red Chamber. Chinese Language and Discourse, 1(2), 264-287.

Coates, J. (1988). Gossip revisited: Language in all-female groups. In J. Coates & D. Cameron (Eds.), Women in their Speech Communities (pp. 94-122). London: Longman.

Ermida, I. (2006). Linguistic Mechanism of Power in Nineteen Eighty-Four: Applying Politeness Theory to Orwell's World. Journal of Pragmatics, 38, 842-862.

Holmes, J. (1982). The functions of tag questions. English Language Research Journal, 3, 40-65.

Holmes, J. (1995). Women, Men and Politeness. London and New York: Longman.

Montgomery, L. M. (2003). Anne of Green Gables. New York: Signet Classics.

O'Driscoll, J. (1996). About face: A defense and elaboration on universal dualism. Journal of Pragmatics, 25(1), 1-32.

Rossen-Knill, Deborah Faith (1995). Toward a Pragmatics of Dialogue in Fiction. Published Dissertation, University of Minnesota.

Schiffrin, D. (1987). Discourse Markers. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schiffrin, D. (1994). Approaches to Discourse. USA: Blackwell publishing.

Simpson, P. (1989). Politeness Phenomena in Ionesco's The Lesson. In R. Carter and P. Simpson (Eds.), Language, Discourse and Literature: An Introductory reader in Discourse Stylistics (pp.171-193). London: Unwin Hayman.

Spencer-Oatey, H. (2002). Managing Rapport in Talk: Using rapport sensitive incidents to explore the motivational concerns underlying the management of relations. Journal of Pragmatics, 34(5), 529-545.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.2n.3p.186

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2020 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.