The Politeness Principle

The politeness principle is the concept on how and why we are polite to one another. The first important word to understand is ‘face’. This is the speakers sense of linguistic and social identity. We all have two of these ‘faces’: we have a ‘positive face’ and a ‘negative face’. The positive face is our right to be approved and appreciated, whereas, our negative face is our right not to be imposed upon. We have 4 ways in which we approach this ‘face’.

‘Bald on-record strategy’ – 

this is where we threaten the ‘face’; we do absolutely nothing to be polite and minimize threats to the listeners’ face.

Positive politeness-

we appeal to the positive face and we appreciate and accept the listener as well as using politeness markers to ask of something to the listener.

Negative politeness – 

here we recognize the listeners’ negative face and use apologies and politeness markers to say something to the listener.

Off-record indirect strategy- 

is were we either use hints to communicate something or you rather just leave it and wait for someone else to say it.

One thought on “The Politeness Principle

  1. Thank you so much! Now I fully understand the Politeness Principle!
    Have a nice day!

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