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The Impacts of the Politeness Principle on Foreign Language Acquisition, Geoff Leech - Term Paper Example

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Language idiosyncracies hamper foreign language acquisition. Therefore, more attention should be given to these aspects in the foreign language classroom. Language idiosyncracies tend to confuse the language learner which sometimes result in the learner using the wrong word in the wrong situation…
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The Impacts of the Politeness Principle on Foreign Language Acquisition, Geoff Leech
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Download file to see previous pages An example of these words is the word conduct. If the stress is placed on the first syllable, conduct means “behavior.” But if the stress is placed on the second syllable, the word means “to carry out.” Plural words also cause difficulty on the part of the learner. It is sometimes very difficult to explain to the learner why some words can be made plural by adding -s and why some cannot. For example, words like monkey can be made plural by adding -s. But the rule cannot be applied to the word money. The teacher should pay attention to these idiosyncracies to help the learner have a clear idea of when and how to use an aspect of the language being studied. As a result, the learner is able to proficiently and efficiently make use of the language and avoid being misunderstood or hurting the feelings of the person he or she is talking to. This is where the politeness principle comes in. The politeness principle which was developed by Geoff Leech is a series of maxims which help explain how politeness operates in conversational exchanges. According to Leech, “ politeness are forms of behavior that establish and maintain comity or the ability of participants in a social interaction to engage in interaction in a friendly social atmosphere(Leech, 2005). Leech uses two terms for referring to two kinds of illocutionary acts. He calls representatives “assertives” and directives “impositives” (Leech, 2005). The politeness principle is comprised of six maxims. Each maxim has a sub-maxim which has less importance (Leech, 2005). These are used to show that negative politeness or avoidance of discord is more important than positive politeness or seeking discord. Leech says that not all the maxims are equally important. He also says that speakers may adhere to more than one maxim of politeness at the same time. The Tact Maxim Theoretical Application The first of the maxims is the tact maxim. This maxim aims to minimize cost and maximize benefit to another person (Leech, 2005). Examples of the tact maxim are “Peel these potatoes”, “ Hand me the newspaper”, and “ Could you possibly answer the phone?”. According to Leech, there are two levels of politeness in the tact maxim. Commands like “Sit down”, “Get a cup of water”, and “ Close the door” are considered impolite while requests such as “Please sit down”, “Could you kindly get me a glass of water”, and “Won’t you have another drink” are considered polite. Leech explains that indirect illocutions are more polite because they give the person being addressed to an option of whether or not to obey. Reiter explains in her book Linguistic Politeness in Britain and Uruguay: A Contrastive Study of Requests and Apology that “politeness is a form of social interaction, a form that mediates between the individual and the social” (Reiter, 2000). She also adds that politeness assumes that each society has its own prescriptive social rules for different cultural contexts (Reiter 2000). Trosborg in her book Interlanguage Pragmatics: Requests, Complaints, and Apologies that “politeness is a pragmatic mechanism in which a variety of structures work together according to the speaker’s attention to achieving smooth communication” (Trosborg, 1995). that Leech also explains that the more indirect ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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