Politeness in Spoken Language

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Positive Politeness

Making the Listener feel Good

  • Supportive back-channels
  • Paying compliments
  • Nicknames/Terms of Endearment
  • Convergence
  • Respectful Terms
  • Humour and Laughter

"Hey Mick, lookin' good today, lad!"

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Negative Politeness

Don't Impose

  • Apologises
  • Indirectness
  • Being Respectful
  • Tag Questions
  • Hedges and Vague Language
  • Using Modals to mitigate (soften) a command

"Sorry, I'm late! I hope everyone is doing okay today. It's a good idea to start on page nine where we left off - don't you think? Could you please start that task - that would be great."

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