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Title: Politeness and pragmatic competence in Thai speakers of English
Authors: Srisuruk, Patana
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study examines the language use and specifically the level of politeness of Thai speakers of English when confronted with face threatening acts related to their daily life and workplace: requests, complaints and disagreements. Data were collected by role play and discourse completion test from people employed in hotels and travel agencies, and from Rajabhat university students. Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory was used as a framework to analyse and interpret the data. The overall results showed that negative politeness is the most common strategy for all groups, followed by bald on record and positive politeness. Their participants’ choice of politeness strategies in part reflected their occupational identities. For the hotel workers, negative politeness is the chosen strategy in most scenarios, and the focus is on showing deference to and maintaining distance from their interlocutors. For the other groups, although negative politeness is still the most common strategy, positive politeness and bald on record are found quite often. Use of both negative and positive politeness suggests that respondents attach importance to avoiding confrontation and showing solidarity as well as to direct expression. Through analysis of the use of negative and positive politeness for different scenarios and status levels, I determine that these participants possess pragmatic competence in the context of the “small culture” of the workplace. It is also clear that sociological variables (e.g. power, social distance) influence the use of language and the level of politeness on the speaker side.
Description: PhD thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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