Face and Politeness theories

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In the exam you will need to know about some of the theories of language. There are 2 that will be covered in these notes. Irvin Goffman's theory of face and Robin Lakoff's theory of politeness. It might seem complicated, however we apply the theories and use them in conversation every day without realising it. 

Irvin and face:

Irivin Goffman came up with the theory of face (if you forget just think that Goth's have a type of face). 

This theory states and refers to a speakers sense of lingustic and social identity. 

Let's take 2 people who have never met. One person could be person who knows everything about dogs (A) and a person who knows nothing about them (B). 

If they were both talking about dogs and B said that all dogs had pink spots and person A says that person B has lost the plot then this is an example of a face threatening act! 

Robin Lakoff and politeness:

Robin stated that there are some rules about politeness and some of these even link to Grice's Maxims. Her 3 main rules are as follows:



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