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Language and Power
Lakoff
Goffman
Brown & Levinson
Holmes & Stubbe
Morreal
Bernsten
Fairclough
Grice
Giles
Coupland…read more

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Power ­ Lakoff
Conversational theory:
Men ­ interrupt and disagree more
Men ­ more argumentative, use imperatives
and declaratives to do this
Women ­ indirect questions & tag questions to
appear more polite
Women - apologise & avoid using taboo
language…read more

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Power ­ Goffman
Theory of `face':
2 regions where we perform ­ front & back
Front region ­ performance is given, a person is
polite in visual but in direct conversation they
could be rude
Back region ­ suppressed feelings come out,
people knowingly contradict the actions carried
out in the front region…read more

Slide 5

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Power ­ Brown & Levinson
Positive & negative politeness theory:
Positive ­ a person recognises the hearer's
desire to be respected (friendly)
Negative ­ recognises the hearer's face but
recognises they are imposing `I don't want to
bother you but...'
Bald on record ­ person does nothing to
minimise threats to hearer's face…read more

Slide 6

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Power ­ Holmes & Stubbe
Repressive and Oppressive Discourse:
Repressive ­ indirect way of exercising power
and control through conversational constraints
Oppressive ­ linguistic behaviour that is open in
exercising power and control…read more

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