Leech's Politeness Principle

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  • Created by: Lucie
  • Created on: 29-01-16 09:47

The Politness Principle proposes how to produce and understand language based on politeness. The purpose of it is to establish a feeling of community and social relationship. PP focuses on process of interpretation that the main focus of the study is on the effect of the hearer rather than the speaker.

The Tact maxim: minimizing cost to other and maximizing benefit to other. This maxim is applied in Searle’s speech act, commissives and directives called by Leech as impositives. Commissives is found in utterances that express speaker’s intention in the future action. Then, Directives/ impositives are expressions that influence the hearer to do action. The example of the tact maxim is as follows:

“Won‘t you sit down?”

It is the directive/ impositive utterance. This utterance is spoken to ask the hearer sitting down. The speaker uses indirect utterance to be more polite and minimizing cost to the hearer. This utterance implies that sitting down is benefit to the hearer.

The Generosity Maxim
The generosity maxim states to minimizing benefit to self and maximizing cost to self. Like tact maxim, the generosity maxim occurs in commissives and directives/ impositives. This maxim is centered to self, while the tact maxim is to other. The example will be illustrated as follows:

“You must come and dinner with us.”

It is an advice utterance that is involved in directive illocutionary act. In this case the speaker implies that cost of the utterance is to his self. Meanwhile, the utterance implies that benefit is for the hearer.

The Approbation Maxim
The approbation maxim requires to minimizing dispraise of other and maximizing praise of other. This maxim instructs to avoid saying unpleasant things about others and especially about the hearer. This maxim occurs in assertives/ representatives


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