Linguistic politeness strategy when using the speech act Trach (Trách) in communication

Abstract. When communicating, people not only exchange information, set a goal but also present themselves in several respects such as: their knowledge, their behavior, their culture, etc. (it is called the face of participants). Moreover, it shows the relationship between the speaker and the listener. So it is necessary to build the linguistic politeness strategy in order that people who take part in the communication can achieve their purpose, save their public self-image (face), and maintain friendly relationship. From doing research and surveying the using of speech act Trach, the research proposals the linguistic politeness strategy when using the Trach for both speaker and listener. Base on these, this article suggests using other speech acts and to heighten people’s awareness of using linguistic politeness strategy in communicating for a better civilized community.

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HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1067.2017-0041 Social Sci., 2017, Vol. 62, Iss. 5, pp. 110-119 This paper is available online at LINGUISTIC POLITENESS STRATEGY WHEN USING THE SPEECH ACT TRACH (TRÁCH) IN COMMUNICATION Nguyen Thu Hanh Officer for Political Affairs and Students, Hanoi National University of Education. Abstract. When communicating, people not only exchange information, set a goal but also present themselves in several respects such as: their knowledge, their behavior, their culture, etc... (it is called the face of participants). Moreover, it shows the relationship between the speaker and the listener. So it is necessary to build the linguistic politeness strategy in order that people who take part in the communication can achieve their purpose, save their public self-image (face), and maintain friendly relationship. From doing research and surveying the using of speech act Trach, the research proposals the linguistic politeness strategy when using the Trach for both speaker and listener. Base on these, this article suggests using other speech acts and to heighten people’s awareness of using linguistic politeness strategy in communicating for a better civilized community. Keywords: Speech act, illocutionary act, utterance, linguistic politeness strategy, face, communication. 1. Introduction Pragmatics theory concerned with the highly effective language using in communication and rules of linguistic politeness [2, 3]. Applying pragmatics theory in doing research speech acts, there are a number of researches concentrated on the using of speech acts in communication and finding out the characteristic aspects of each speech act. However, there are a few of those concerned with the politeness and effect of using speech acts. This research focuses on giving some specific characteristics of the speech act Trach (from here it is called Trach for short) (a strongly negative speech act, and easily damages both the user’s and the receiver’s face) in the context in which Trach is performed. Besides we carried out a survey on a number of conversations in which Trach is used and then proposed the linguistic politeness strategy of using Trach that can limit the lowest damage to the user and the recipient. Received date: 7/1/2017. Published date: 5/5/2017. Contact: Nguyen Thu Hanh, e-mail: hanhnt@hnue.edu.vn 110 Linguistic politeness strategy when using the speech act “trách” in communication 2. Content 2.1. Communication and linguistic politeness Everyday we interact and connect with each other by communicating. In communicating we use a semiotic system such as language, gesture, action, etc,. . . to exchange and receive information (the semiotic system is referred in this article is language). During the process of communicating we take part in a wide range of interaction and get intended goals as well. Communicating includes various factors. This article concerns to the factors like: speaker (or user), listener (or recipient), language, conversational context, conversational content and goals. Speaker is a person who opens the conversation and uses the speech act (it is presented below), the listener is one who receives and responds to the speaker’s speech act. The listener can be a person or the crowd. The conversational content is what the participants refer in a conversation. It has been mentioned that communicating has goals. To get goals, it is necessary to make the communicative strategy, and along with using linguistic politeness. Basically a communicative strategy must be given a series of elements such as: set goals, outline the communicative content, perform the speech acts to transfer the content, consider sentences and words carefully to intensify the participants’ face wants, along with using linguistic politeness. A question is given: why must the linguistic politeness strategy be carried out in communicating? Is it necessary to make sure politeness in communicating? In fact, when communicating we show ourselves, actually show ourselves in true color, knowledge, behavior and the closeness, solidarity between speaker and listener. Within a conversation, the statements of participants reflect their “public self-image” [6] (or “face”) according to the politeness theory of Brown and Levinson. Moreover, our statements can also be a threat to another’s face. It is possible to show a fact that we must aware of being polite in conversation in order to save our face, to be respected, to maintain and establish the friendly relationship. In fact, it is difficult to get all of these. In addition, communicating is an interaction. It means that by communicating the participants interact with each other, make a change in attitude, awareness, action, behavior,. . . Communicating has goals as well. Therefore, it is actually important to set up the communicative strategy and the linguistic politeness. Particularly, choosing and organizing language is suitable for the communicative content and the individual so as to receive the cooperation from the partner and get goals together. Lakoff (1973), Leech (1983), Brown and Levinson (1987) gave politeness theory and took notice of how to use language politely, especially in using the illocutionary acts. According to politeness rule of G.N.Leech, when a speech act is carried out the strength or weakness politeness of this illocutionary act depends on three-factors: essence of the speech act, form of language to contain the speech act and the closeness or distance relationship between the speaker and the listener. Although Brown and Levinson supplied different norms to make politeness in communication, they had a common point of view: when an illocutionary act is performed, if the speaker expects to get his initial intended goal, he will need to base on the relation with the listener and base on the intrinsic illocutionary act so as to think and choose a suitable utterance which can’t threaten the 111 Nguyen Thu Hanh listener’s face and attempt to enhance greatly another’s face and benefit; the speaker also needs to reduce his benefit, even enhance disadvantage for himself. Therefore, when the speech acts are performed via utterance we must aware how to attract the listener’s cooperation, save participants’ face, both speaker and listener have reached the summit of one’s hope and get goals. This is the purpose of researching about Trach that we supply this speech act in use. 2.2. Linguistic politeness strategy when using the “trách” act in communication 2.2.1. The speech act Trach According to Vietnamese Dictionary, Trach is defined: Trach is “speaking out not satisfied with someone who has the close relationship with the speaker, whose behavior and attitude towards the speaker are thought not true, not suitable, not good or involved with the speaker. (Trách là “tỏ lời không bằng lòng về người có quan hệ gần gũi nào đó, cho là đã có hành vi, thái độ không đúng, không hay, không tốt đối với mình hoặc có liên quan đến mình”) [4]. Base on the understanding about the verb “trach”, we give a definition: Trach is an act which reveals the speaker’s dissatisfied attitude towards another’s action (or work, or attitude, state, feature,. . . ) when being aware of that action (or work, or attitude, state, feature,. . . ) is not true, not good or not suitable according to the speaker’s attitude. We emphasize: the speaker’s evaluation (good or bad, suitable or not suitable) towards the recipient is only the speaker’s opinion, it is not the same common awareness as the community. There are some performative verbs in Vietnamese which has the similar feature to Trach such as: reprimand, criticize, remind, warn,. . . Despite being a performative verb, Trach is rarely to use directly in a conversation (in speech events) in compare with reprimand, criticize, remind, warn. In fact, people tend to use one of these above verbs (depend on the extent of recipient’s deed, action, attitude) to perform Trach. So in this article we also survey some examples in which the above performative verbs are used. From the definition of Trach, it can be pointed out its features: - It contains the speaker’s strongly subjective thinking. - Speaker aims at recipient’s fault or unsatisfied deed to reveal attitude and so it is easily caused the negative respond or negative attitude of the recipient. It is a face threatening act. These two-features show that Trach contains an implicit threat to the recipient’s face. However, this performative verb has its positive meaning: the speaker expects the recipient to aware of his/her fault or unsatisfied deed to correct, change or adjust. Due to Trach is a speech act which has strongly negative features and easily threaten to both the speaker’s and the recipient’s face. Furthermore, it can have the negative answerback from the recipient. Thus, when using this speech act we must consider carefully in order to mitigate the negative effect of the participant’s face and participant’s benefit. From the given knowledge about Trach, this article proposes some using ways which both get goals and ensure politeness, avoid causing loss, and save face for both the user and the recipient. 112 Linguistic politeness strategy when using the speech act “trách” in communication 2.2.2. Some ways of using “Trach” to ensure politeness a. From the speaker (or user) The effect of using Trach is ruled over by some factors such as: speaker and recipient, conversational context, conversational content, participant’s goals, language, participant’s relationship. Consequently, all of these factors need to consider carefully, adjust suitably. Apart from the conversational context can’t be changed in some situations, the other factors can be considered, adjusted and changed. For example, now we analyze a communicative event with the context: the teacher doesn’t satisfy with a student about his playing truant. Consider and judge this event: Firstly, this is an event that the speaker has to reveal his disagreement with the student’s breaking school discipline; Secondly, the relationship between the speaker and the recipient is propriety: teacher and student. From this judgment we can give a communicative strategy: - Determining the relationship between the speaker and the recipient and then finding the way to shorten the distance. In particular, this event the relationship between the speaker and the recipient is propriety (distance): teacher and student, so the speaker has to shorten this distance by using the addresses like: “cô” and “em” instead of “tôi” and “cậu” along with Trach. - Determining the propositional content and then deciding which extent should be performed (base oneself on what serious extent of recipient’s act). In this situation the teacher’s intended meaning should be performed in reasonable extent in order that the student is aware of this and then never do it again. - Determining the way of performing Trach (it means which utterance should be performed). In this example the speaker has to choose: uttering by an explicit performative or an implicit performative? Direct or indirect speech art? And finding, recognizing words, structure, etc. . . For instance, along with Trach’s content the speaker can use the depended act, the expanded components or using the pre-utterance before performing this speech act. - It can be determined a suitable time and place to perform Trach. In this situation the teacher can choose about time and place: inside the classroom, among other students or outside the classroom, only with the student. - Moreover, the speaker has to determine her attitude, loudness of voice, glide,. . . when performing Trach. From analyzing some necessary factors in this situation, there are some performing ways of this speech act can be shown: (1) Tôi phê bình em về hành động vô kỷ luật vì trốn học hết lần này đến lần khác. (I criticize you about your undisciplined action because of having played truant again and again). (2) Dạo này cậu vô kỷ luật lắm đấy nhé. (Nowadays, you are undisciplined.) (3) Tú này, cô nghe các cô thấy phàn nàn là gần đây con rất hay trốn học. (Tu, I heard other teachers had complained that you have played truant several time recently). (4) - Giáo viên: Tú này, cô có chuyện này muốn nói với em. - Học sinh: Dạ. 113 Nguyen Thu Hanh - Giáo viên: Cô nghe các cô thấy phàn nàn là gần đây con rất hay trốn học. (- The teacher: Tu, I have something to talk with you. - The student: Yes! - The teacher: I heard other teachers had complained that you have played truant several time recently.) In (1) and (2) the teacher use the direct act to aim at student’s action, by an explicit performative (1) and an implicit performative (2). The propositional contend Trach fit to the fact. In (3) and (4), the propositional contend Trach wasn’t performed directly, but used an indirect performative. In (3) the indirect speech act is performed via a statement and use an expanded hedges. . . (Tú này). In (4) a pre-utterance was given before performing Trach. What is the teacher’s benefit and loss in the above Trach performing? From the user, when using this speech act, in general the teacher puts herself in a higher position than the student and lets herself a right criticize the student. Thus, the teacher’s positive face will be enhanced. But the losing side of using this speech act is the teacher’s negative face will be threatened, in case the student responds by a negative responded utterance. From the recipient, when receiving this speech act, the student suffers from both negative and positive face because of being criticized and aimed at his fault by the teacher. Moreover, if the teacher criticizes among the class the student will be damaged his honor. Consequently, the ways of performing in (1) and (2) are difficult to get the intended conversational goals (in this situation the teacher’s goals not only performs Trach but also prevents the student from redoing his/her action) and it is difficult to make the student positively changeable. In addition, it has also a negative effect on the relation between the teacher and the student, and makes the initial relation become far from. And in the student’s insight into his respectable the teacher can be declined. In conclusion, (1) and (2) are not appropriate speaking. In (3) and (4) are the indirect speech acts. It both mitigates the cutthroat extent of Trach and keeps on its effect towards the student. There is a fact that the gentle speaking has its heavy convincing. By using the indirect speaking, the teacher not only performs her initial intention but also brings up her student, prevents him from redoing his action in the future. The way of speaking out in (3) and (4) shows the teacher’s good expect. She attempted to save the student’s face and hers. She used the expanded component (Tú này) and the pre-utterance which can effect on the student’s attention and prepare for him in advance receive Trach. Besides, the addresses “cô”, “em” are used also to shorten the defaulted social distance between them. The teacher herself can save her face and avoid the negative respond from the student. Furthermore, the indirect speaking can make the good thinking of the student towards his teacher. In conclusion, the indirect speaking as in the example (3) and (4) are the best ways in this situation. From analyzing the above example, there are some ways can be shown to use Trach act politely from the speaker. a.1. Mitigating the extent of Trach in the prologue utterance In the situations which are compelled to use Trach we should use the mitigating devices in order to reduce to minimum strict extent of the prologue utterance Trach by: 114 Linguistic politeness strategy when using the speech act “trách” in communication - To avoid using the explicit performative, but using the implicit performative or the indirect performative with positive aspect. - To avoid using the accompany words which have strong and negative meaning. For example, comparing the different utterances of the same situation below: The speaker reproaches the listener because the listener often exposes/runs down other’s defect. (5) Directly performing Trach by an explicit performative: Chị phê bình em vì thói hay moi móc khuyết điểm của người khác. (I criticize you because of running down other’s defect.) (6) Directly performing Trach by an implicit performative: Sao em lại cứ mang khuyết điểm của người khác ra mà bình luận thế nhỉ? (Why do you always bring other’s defect to comment like that?) (7) Performing Trach by an indirect performative: Em đừng khắt khe quá với lỗi lầm của người khác. (You shouldn’t be strict with other’s fault.) Clearly, the utterances Trach in (7) has a lighter nuance than in (5) and (6). a.2. Using the dependent acts in the prologue utterance If the dependent acts in the prologue utterance are used reasonably, there will be the positive effects. - For the speaker, the speaker can save face himself/herself, avoid the negative respond from the recipient. - For the recipient, the dependent acts can mitigate, compensate for the damage face for him/her at once it is easily to receive the speaker’s Trach and see the speaker’s good expect behind this speech act. Example (8) Tôi biết những điều em nói ra là có ích, nhưng em tưởng cứ nghĩ gì thì nói ra như thế là hay à? (I know what you had talked is helpful, but you know whatever you thought you spoke out all like that is ok, don’t you?) The dependent act “Tôi biết những điều em nói ra là có ích” (I know what you had talked is helpful) in (8) was given in advance, in fact, aims at comforting and mollifying the listener. In here the speaker “praise” the listener before giving Trach. This saying makes the listener feel more slightly inhibit and recognize the speaker’s advice. Choosing this performing the speaker saves him/herself face as well. On the one hand the speaker gave the main Trach, on the other hand gave the dependent act which admitted the listener’s positive side of his/her reproached act. That makes the listener not respond by a negative act. a.3. Using the prologue utterance along with the expanded components, especially the expanded components belong to the politeness The expanded components are the respecting face, compensating act, modality, hedges,. . . These factors, in general, have a common point to save the participants’ face. By using these factors, the speaker can perform Trach more lightly and the listener accepts Trach without the negative respond. - The hedges respecting face like: (speaker to listener) đừng giận, bỏ qua cho. . . ; người nghe thông cảm thì người nói mới nói; biểu thức xin lỗi. . . (not be angry, overlook. . . ; or listener is sympathetic towards speaker; or the expression apology,. . . ) 115 Nguyen Thu Hanh Example: (9) Cô nói cháu bỏ qua chứ các cháu đối xử tệ với bố như thế là không được. (I would like you overlook, you shouldn’t behave badly to your father like that.) (10) Xin lỗi anh, tôi nói không phải chứ anh làm công tác tuyên truyền vận động mà ăn nói với dân kiểu ấy là không được đâu. (I am sorry. I may not right, you are a propagandist but you treat to people like that is not right.) Recognizing that performing Trach is disturbing and effecting to recipient’s face so the speaker used the hedges: “Cô nói cháu bỏ qua” (I would like you overlook) in (9) and, “xin lỗi anh, tôi nói không phải” (I am sorry. I may not right) in (10). These prepare for the recipient get ready to accept Trach. On the other hand, these mean an apologizing or asking for permission of listener (which can respect the recipient’s face). When using the expanded components in (9) and (10), the speaker attempts to
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