Language and Power: Politeness Theory Quiz

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12 Questions

What is the definition of power in the context of language and social interactions?

The capacity to make things happen or influence others' behavior and decisions.

What is the primary goal of politeness in social interactions?

To manage social interactions while mitigating threats to individuals' positive and negative faces.

What is the positive face, according to the theory of face?

The individual's desire to be liked, admired, ratified, and related to positively.

Provide an example of a negative face-threatening act.

I need you to finish this report by tomorrow morning.

What is the purpose of politeness strategies in communication?

To limit the threat to the listener's face when face-threatening acts are inevitable.

What is one of the four politeness strategies used to avoid face-threatening acts?

Bald on-record.

In what contexts is brevity considered polite, and what example illustrates this?

In urgent or familiar contexts, brevity is considered polite. The example is: 'Watch out!' which conveys a sense of urgency.

What type of politeness involves affirming common ground and expressing friendliness, and what is an example of this?

Positive politeness involves affirming common ground and expressing friendliness. The example is: 'Looks like you're running a bit late today. No problem, happens to the best of us!'

What is the purpose of negative politeness, and what example illustrates this?

Negative politeness is used to avoid feelings of awkwardness or embarrassment. The example is: 'Would you mind grabbing me a coffee? It's just around the corner, won't take much of your time!'

What is the term for the type of politeness that involves implying intentions rather than stating them directly?

Off-record politeness involves implying intentions rather than stating them directly. The example is: 'Wow, it's really hot in here.'

How is politeness used to acknowledge authority in power dynamics?

Politeness is used to acknowledge authority in power dynamics by using formal language, such as titles or honorifics, to acknowledge the listener's status. The example is: 'Yes, Mr. Johnson, I understand your instructions and will make sure to complete the task by the end of the day.'

What is the term for the variety of English used in the Philippines in controlling domains such as science and technology?

Philippine English is the legitimate nativized variety of English used in the Philippines in controlling domains such as science and technology.

Study Notes

Language and Power

  • Power refers to the capacity to make things happen or influence others' behavior and decisions.
  • Politeness is the use of language and behavior to manage social interactions while mitigating threats to individuals' positive and negative faces.

Theory of Face

  • The theory of face refers to the positive public image individuals seek to establish in social interactions, also known as "self-image".
  • There are two types of face:
    • Positive face: an individual's desire to be liked, admired, ratified, and related to positively.
    • Negative face: the desire not to have basic rights and freedoms impeded by others.

Face-Threatening Acts

  • A face-threatening act is when communication can damage a person's sense of face or affect the needs and desires of someone's positive or negative face.
  • Examples:
    • Positive face-threatening act: "The project failed because of your negligence. You're responsible for the consequences."
    • Negative face-threatening act: "I need you to finish this report by tomorrow morning.”

Politeness Strategies

  • Politeness strategies are used to limit the threat to the listener's face when face-threatening acts are inevitable.
  • Four types of politeness strategies:
    • Bald on-record: used in urgent or familiar contexts, seen as polite because it avoids unnecessary elaboration.
    • Positive politeness: uses language and actions to affirm common ground, express friendliness, and emphasize shared interests or goals.
    • Negative politeness: used when imposing on the listener and wishing to avoid feelings of awkwardness or embarrassment.
    • Off-record (indirect): the speaker's intentions are implied, and it is up to the listener to interpret them.

Power Dynamics

  • Power dynamics refer to interactions and relationships where power is exerted, negotiated, and challenged within political, social, and organizational contexts.
  • Politeness as a tool within power dynamics:
    • Acknowledging authority: respect and deference to those perceived as having more power or authority.
    • Maintaining social harmony: preserving social harmony by mitigating conflict and minimizing potential threats to interpersonal relationships.
    • Asserting dominance or status: asserting dominance or status within a social hierarchy.
    • Negotiating power: negotiating power in social interactions.

Varieties of Philippine English

  • Philippine English: a legitimate nativized variety of English used in controlling domains such as science and technology, the judiciary, the legislature, bureaucracy, higher education, scholarly discourse, and the like.
  • Yaya English: a non-standard form of English spoken by caregivers or domestic helpers when interacting with children.

Test your knowledge on the concepts of power, politeness, and face theory in social interactions, including positive and negative faces.

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