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Rethinking face and politeness
International Journal of Language Studies (2012)
  • Mohammad A. Salmani Nodoushan
This paper addresses the concepts of face and (im)politeness from both first-order and second-order perspectives, and attempts at rethinking face, (im)politeness, and Face-Threatening Acts (FTAs). It suggests that each and every speech act is issued as a result of the interplay between self’s intention and his motivation, with intention being the ignition, and motivation the fuel. Listing a number of features of speech acts, the paper further argues that FTAs must be redefined, and suggests the existence of Face-Attacking Acts (FAAs) as well as Face-Guarding Acts (FGAs)—but uses FAAs as a cover term for both. The paper also suggests a model for the description of FAAs/FGAs, and argues that they fall into four classes: (1) self-destructive hypothetical FAAs, (2) self-/other-guarding hypothetical FGAs, (3) other-destructive objective FAAs, and (4) self-/other-guarding objective FGAs. It then goes on to rethink the concept of (im)politeness, and suggests a model for politeness theory which entails a redefinition of politeness and impoliteness. It provides colorful examples and tangible evidence to relate (im)politeness to both context and collective pragmatic competence, and claims that action can be dominant or recess to speech just like dominant versus recess genes in biology.
Publication Date
Fall October 1, 2012
Citation Information
Salmani Nodoushan, M. A. (2012). Rethinking face and politeness. International Journal of Language Studies, 6(4), 119-140.