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A linguistic interaction is necessarily a social interaction


A linguistic interaction is inevitably asocial interaction.


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In order to make sense of what is said in an interaction, we have to look at various factors which relate to social distance and closeness. Some of these factors are established prior to an interaction and thus are largely external factors. They typically involve the relative status of the participants, based on social values such as age and power. We take part in a wide range of interactions (mostly with strangers) where the social distance determined by external factors is dominant.

FRIENDLINESS Hey, Bucky, got a minute?





FACE SAVING ACT Perhaps you could just ask him if he is going to stop soon because it’s getting a bit late and people need to get to sleep.

I’m going to tell him to stop that awful noise right now!



According to Brown and Levinson (1987) everyone has self-public image which has relation to emotional and social sense of self and expects everyone else to recognize. I mean is that we have to respect or be polite with all cultures that we don`t know.

Example : Pardon me. pleased to meet you.!!!

In a common sense and linguistic politeness

In a common sense: Being polite -showing good manners and consideration for other people (e.g. open the door for a lady, give your seat to an elderly person in public transport).

Linguistic politeness: the way people choose to speak and how the hearers react to their speech.

THE CONCEPT OF FACE • Brown and Levinson (1978) have concluded that, in order to enter into social relationships, all people must acknowledge the face of other people. I mean. It refers to that emotional and social sense of self that every one has and expects everyone else to recognize.

Say nothing


One way to see the relevance of the relationship between these politeness concepts and language use is to take a single speech event and map out the different interpretations associated with different possible expresions used within that event.

Self= you

Other: Person next to you

Say something

Say something • •

Off Record • Event if you decide to say somthing, you don`t actually • have to ask for anything . These statements are not directly addressed to the other. •

Example: It´s too cold in here”

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On Record These statements are directly addressed the other as means of expressing your needs . on record: Directly asked. Mitigating divices .

Example: would you please Close the window? Would you plese Lend me a pen?

SUMMARY • Being nice to other people. • Linguistic politeness studies “face” • In pragmatics your face is your public self-image. • Politeness: is showing awareness and consideration to another person’s face.

Politeness Politeness refers to: • Non-intrusive behavior. • Expression of good-will or camaraderie. Politeness is also defined as the concern for someone’s “face”. Face need are the basic wants.

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There are two kinds of face needs: Negative face needs: need to not be imposed upon. Positive face needs: need to be liked and admired.

Polite people avoid “face-threatening” acts, and use positive polite utterance when possible.

References • A Model of Politeness (Brown & Levinson, 1978 • “PRAGMATICS”, George Yule, Oxford University Press, 1996. • “The Hand book of Pragmatics”, Laurence R Horn, Gregory Ward, Blackwell publishing, 2007

Politeness and interaction  
Politeness and interaction