Penelope Brown And Levinson's Politeness Theory

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This research paper demonstrates a very important theory in the pragmatics field, that is proposed by Penelope Brown and Stephen C.Levinson, which is the Politeness theory. It is based on the notion of 'face' by Goffman (1967). This paper applies the theory to two plays, which are The Misanthrope by Moliere and The Harlequin /Al-Bhlwan/ by Yusuf Idris. In both plays, the authors point out the hypocrisy in the society they each belong to, through the main characters. The researcher explains the theory through the qualitative method to understand the human behavior in the plays and reasons that govern such behavior. The aims of this research is to be able to identify between the different types of face and the politeness strategies, and to be…show more content…
Review of literature The study of Politeness began to appear in the mid-1970s. Brown and Levinson's Politeness theory was influenced by Goffman's theory of face. The goal is to demonstrate language behavior through human interaction (Cheshire, 1991, p.25). Brown and Levinson (1978) wrote an article about how speakers work to "save face" through politeness to hearers (Gleason & Bernstein, 1993, p.286). In Politeness: Some Universal in Language Use, by Brown and Levinson, Grice's theory " The Cooperative Principle" was extended, by showing that people use politeness to modify their human behavior (Pinker, 2007, p.380). 1.4. Theoretical Framework 1.4.1. Definition of the theory of politeness. As Watts (2003) mentioned that "Politeness is not something we are born with, but something we have to learn and be socialized into" (p.9). Each linguist defined politeness in a different way, Cobley (2010) said that politeness is a way of showing consideration and social position in language. Politeness includes words show respect such as 'please'. He indicated that "the phenomenon has been the object of the considerable scrutiny in…show more content…
Brown and Levinson (1987) define 'face' as "the public self-image that every member wants to claim for himself/herself"(p.311). While Goffman define 'face' as "positive social value that a person claims for himself" (Pinker, 2007, p.380). In general, people help each other in maintaining face through interaction, because they depend on each other. Furthermore, the content of face differs in different cultures because of the difference of personalities (pp.311-12), Brown and Levinson assume that "the mutual knowledge of members' public self-image or face, and the social necessity to orient oneself to it in interaction, are universal"
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