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ETIQUETTE ASPECTS IN THE “AMERICAN NATIONAL CORPUS”
Research adviser: lect. Aurimas Nausėda Student: Vaida Janeliūnaitė
CONTENTS INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................................3 THE DISCOURSE OF THE CORPUS.......................................................................................5 2.1. Types of Corpora............................................................................................................6 American National Corpus....................................................................................................10 THE ASPECTS OF ETIQUETTE FORMULAS......................................................................12 Formulas of Greeting.............................................................................................................14 Formulas of Parting...............................................................................................................17 Formulas of Request..............................................................................................................19 ASPECTS OF ETIQUETTE ON THE INTERNET.................................................................23 SOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF ETIQUETTE..........................................26 ASPECTS OF READABILITY............................................................................................27 CONCLUSIONS.......................................................................................................................29 REFERENCES..........................................................................................................................31 Appendixes................................................................................................................................33
LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
People living in modern society claim that etiquette restricts their liberty, however the ancient time’s philosophers have ascribed that the liberty of one person ends where the others begin. Etiquette is like a wall that prevents people from overstepping the boundaries which separate the liberties of two persons. It deprives some people of doing things that they like and make them happy, while others can be shocked of the same actions. Presumably during the hot summer day many of us would prefer to work in the office without clothing, but no one does it, because etiquette requires going to work dressed. The same situation with speech etiquette, for instance a student would like to say to a lecturer what is really in ones mind, but can not do this regarding etiquette and should restrain oneself or do it in another, appropriate for society, way. Such mutual behaviour creates more comfortable atmosphere among people, makes communication more efficient. The affect of language to society and vice versa is studied by an academic field called sociolinguistics. Although this relation exists since humanity is able to speak, the study of it is rather new as dates back just five decades (Paulston & Tucker, 2003:1). Neverthesless, it “has become a recognised branch of the social sciences with its own scholarly journals, conferences, textbooks, and readers of seminal articles” (F. Coulmas, 2000:1). Concerning fast development many fields of sociolinguistics “<…>can claim to be fields in their own right, with academis courses <…>” (Paulston & Tucker, 2003:1). Though Gabriele Kasper in The Handbook of Sociolinguistics cites American linguist William Labov (1972) who expresses his concern that “etiquette manuals from Erasmus of Rotterdam’s to the latest edition of The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette do not cover verbal routines enacted among inner city adolescents, yet they fall under the proposed definition” linguistic etiquette(Kasper, 2000:374). This branch of sociolinguistics have been analysed by Brown and Levinson (1978, 1987), British linguist Leech (1983), Fraser (1990), Coulmas (1992), Watts, Ide, and Enlich (1992). The written discourse of Linguistic etiquette have been investigated by Cherry (1989), Pickett (1989), Hagge (1984) Hagge and Kostelnick (1989), Larson (1989), Limaye and Cherry (1987), Marier (1992). The subject of the work: the analysis of the letters chosen from the American National Corpus.
The aim of this work is to investigate the aspects of etiquette formulas as well as the social and psychological aspects. To achieve this aim the following objectives have been set: 1. To supply theoretical aspects of common, linguistic, and internet etiquette. 2. To clasiffy the formulas of parting, greting and request occurring in the analysed business letters taken from the American Nationa Corpus and to analyse their social and psychological meaning. 3. To analyse internet etiquette aspects in the online journal Buffy taken from the American National Corpus. 4. To reveal etiquette’s social and psychological influence to people. The methods used in the work are the following: 1. Descriptive analytical method. 2. Statistical method. As regards the structure of the work, it consists of four major parts: 1. The first part presents the discourse of corpus and introduces the American National Corpus. 2. The second part discusses the aspects of etiquette formulas in business letters taken from the American National Corpus. 3. The third part reveals the aspects of etiquette on the Internet and the examples taken from the online journal Buffy from the American National Corpus are being used. 4. The fourth part focuses on social and psychological aspects of etiquette. The scope of the research is 72 examples taken from 25 business letters, and 20 examples taken from 55 online journal’s Buffy note’s pages. At the end of the work the appendix is given
THE DISCOURSE OF THE CORPUS
When a new invention, disease or a president face the world, millions of people start discussing what changes will it bring to their lives, what influence it will have on them. Though not many of us have the same questions when a new word occurs, is learned, and being used. Every year thousands of new words are being added to every language’s dictionaries, but just a few of us notice these changes and think of its significance. The biggest part of those few is linguists, who try to prevent language from a high amount of borrowings, which could lead to language’s death. Due to new technologies linguists are able to work faster, to deal with bigger amount of words; consequently they can notice more changes in languages. An intensive establishment of various corpora in modern days indicates the growing importance of it. English professor John Sinclair defines corpus as ‘a collection of naturally occurring language text, chosen to characterize a state or variety of a language’ 1. While the British linguist David Crystal underlines that it is “a collection of linguistic data, either written texts or a transcription of recorded speech, which can be used as a starting-point of linguistic description or as a means of verifying hypotheses about a language” (Ibid). It could be understood from both ideas of both linguists that corpora are important while understanding and analyzing the language. Associations of linguists also specifies that “corpora are needed for large scale, systematic contrast of <…> language varieties, genres and modalities (e.g. American vs. British English, <…>, spoken vs. written language). Other research requires enormous amounts of data, even if from fewer genres <…>” 2 To sum up all the ideas, corpus based studies are important in linguistics as it can provide big amounts of various written and spoken sources, produced by native speakers. Therefore a more accurate study of native language can be expected. This idea is also underlined by two British linguists in their book Corpus Linguistics, an Introduction (McEnery, T., Wilson, A., 2001:1). They point out that “Corpus Linguistics” is important in the context of linguistics. In simple terms it can be described as the study of language based on examples of “real life” language use. Therefore it is important to discuss features of Corpus Linguistics (Ibid).
http://www.engl.polyu.edu.hk/corpus linguist/corpus.htm. Accessed on 15 April, 2009. http://www.clres.com/corp.htm. Accessed on 16 April, 2009.
According to T. McEnery and A. Wilson, “corpus linguistics is not a branch of linguistics in the same sense as syntax, semantics, and sociolinguistics and so on. All these disciplines concentrate on describing/explaining some aspect of language use” (McEnery, T., Wilson, A. 2001). The German linguist Gruyter emphasizes that “Corpus Linguistics <…> is newly founded <…> research focusing on theoretically relevant issues in all core areas of linguistic research (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics), or other recognized topic areas”3. However there were linguists who have criticised the usage of corpora for linguistic studies. The very first one was the American linguist Noam Chomsky. He realised, that “corpora, by their very nature, are incomplete. Language is non-enumerable and <…> no finite corpus can adequately represent language. <…> some sentences are in the corpus because they are frequent constructions, some by sheer chance” (McEnery, Wilson, 2001:10). Though the English professor John Sinclair in his publication Developing Linguistic Corpora: a Guide to Good Practice emphasizes that corpora of modern-days are being built by experts who take into account “<…> a danger of a vicious circle arising if they construct a corpus to reflect what they already know or can guess about its linguistic detail.” In order to avoid that, the people collecting data for corpora keep the principle that: “the contents of a corpus should be selected without regard for the language they contain, but according to their communicative function in the community in which they arise”4. Thus, it could be noted according to linguists, that Corpus Linguistics is very useful method while analyzing language and the results of these researches are reliable, but should not be taken on trust. As languages tend to change, there is no kind of source that can provide very detailed information about it. In the present work examples have been taken from the American National Corpus (further ANC), therefore in the following paragraph the structure of it and the main goals are presented.
2.1. Types of Corpora
Different corpora are suitable for different kinds of linguistic investigation. For example, they can be used for studies of lexis or grammar, also for variation, discourse,
http://www.degruyter.de/journals/cllt/detailEn.cfm. Accessed on 18 April, 2009 . http://ahds.ac.uk/creating/guides/linguistic-corpora/chapter1.htm. Accessed on internet April 20, 2009.
diachronic studies. If a fairly frequent phenomenon is being studied, a small corpus gives enough examples, while studying a very rare phenomenon a large corpus is needed 5. According to Iman Tohidian, corpora can be classified in two types: 1) general corpora; 2) specialized corpora (Tohidian, 2008). General corpus is designed to include language samples from a wide range of registers or genres and specialized corpus focuses on a particular spoken or written variety of language (Ibid.). The American linguist David Leech distinguishes more features for corpora classification: written, spoken, diachronic, historical, specialized, corpora for research on first language acquisition, learner’s corpora, non-English, the web as a corpus, parallel & multilingual, multimodal, multimedia corpora, etc.6. The following figure (see Figure 1) has been prepared by us to illustrate the classification of corpora according to Grahame Bilbow7.
Written Corpora Spoken Corpora Monolingual Corpora Multilingual Corpora
Types of Corpora
General Corpora Specialized Corpora
Annotated Corpora Corpora Unannotated Corpora
Synchronic Corpora Diachronic Corpora
Figure 1. Types of Corpora. Prepared by the author.
http://folk.uio.no/hhasselg/UV-corpus.htm. Accessed on 22 April, 2009. http://devoted.to/corpora. Accessed on 17 May, 2008 7 http://www.engl.polyu.edu.hk/corpus linguist/corpus.htm. Accessed on 15 April, 2009.
As it can be seen from Figure 1 corpora differ in a lot of respects, for example size, regional variety, diachronic variety, text types included (i.e. spoken/written). Though Leech’s classification is more detailed, it can not be stated that Tohidian is wrong, because his classification’s is enough to understand the main difference among corpora. The following figures (see Figure 2 and Figure 3) have been prepared by us to illustrate the usage of different corpora for different fields. It is known that English language is divided into American English and British English. It is written in the American National Corpus that “Americans speak English differently than the British or Australians or even Canadians do. These differences are not only pronunciation or calling things by different names; there are many other peculiarities of American English in its phrasing and syntax that set it apart from other brands of the English language” 8. Linguists do care about these differences in language use; they study it and document its variations. However, there are far more practical reasons for caring about the difference between American and other kinds of English, for example: conveying information from other country to interlocutors in USA, teaching English as a second language in USA. The usage of British English can cause a short confusion because of the different meaning of used words (Ibid). Thus, the different corpora are being used for analyzing these languages. Figure 2 represents corpora related to British English. The Bank of English The BNC CANCODE
British English Corpora
HK Corpus of Spoken English London-Lund Corpus
http://americannationalcorpus.org. Accessed on 25 April, 2009.
Figure 2. British English Corpora. Prepared by the author. In Figure 2 the most popular corpora are presented. All of them are used for analyses of British English. The most popular one, the BNC – British National Corpus, is being used for wide range researches, while the smaller corpus CANCODE – the Cambridge and Nottingham Corpus of Discourse – a unique collection of spoken English that has been built up by Cambridge University Press and University of Nottingham, is being used just for particular dialects studies9. The CANCODE is different from other spoken corpora by its recordings coding, which shows whether speakers are intimates (living together), casual acquaintances, colleagues at work, or strangers. “This coding allows us to look more closely at how different levels of familiarity (formality) affect the way in which we speak to each other” (Ibid). Thus, it could be understood that every corpus has its own specific features and that every one has been established for different purposes. The following figure (see Figure 3) demonstrates corpora which are being used for studying American English.
The Brown Corpus The ANC CSPAE
Santa Barbara Corpus
American English Corpora
The Longman Spoken American Corpus
BYU Corpus of American English North America Tunsten Corpus
Figure 3. American English Corpora. Prepared by the author.
http://www.cambridge.org/elt/corpus/cancode.hmt. Accessed on 25 April, 2009.
Figure 3 illustrates the corpora which are being used for the studies of American English. The biggest corpus is BYU Corpus of American English (BYUCAE). It is the first large corpus of American English, which contains more than 360 million words of text and is equally divided among spoken, fiction, popular magazines, newspapers, and academic text. The corpus is still new, so it is not on the top of the list of American English as the American National Corpus is (Ibid.). Thus, it can be stated that it is worth discussing the content of ANC, because it provides information about the American English and at the moment is considered to be the best. To sum up it can be stated that different types of corpora cover more areas of specific language use than it have had before. It is possible to analyse not only the language of everyday use, but also speeches typical to academic society, scientific fields, to study code language proper for internet users. Comparing corpora of two languages the borrowings can be noticed, so the originations of the words can be traced.
American National Corpus
It is significant to emphasize that American National Corpus is still incomplete, so it is possible to talk only about a small par of it and its future vision. “The ANC has so far released 22 million words of American English and it is expected to contain at least 100 million words, comparable across genres to the British National Corpus, which is inappropriate for the study of American English due to the numerous differences in use of the language. The genres in the ANC will be expanded to include “new” types of language data that have become available in recent years, such as web blogs and web pages, chats, email and rap music lyrics”, because it also represents the language, shows its development according to different people10. It also keeps track of changes in the way the Americans use the language (Ibid). To illustrate the composition of ANC the following figure (see Figure 4) has been prepared by us.
Soken Fiction Magazines (popular) Newspapers Academic (journals)
http://americannationalcorpus.org. Accessed on 25 April, 2009.
Figure 1. The composition of American National Corpus. Prepared by the author. Figure 4 illustrates the distribution of parts of corpus (i.e. spoken, fiction, magazines (popular), newspapers, academic journals). It has been mentioned above that ANC consist of 22 million words at the moment, and this amount of words have been reached with two released. Editors explain why they do not release all 100 million words at once, by presenting the aim of second edition (the same purpose was of the first edition too) which is “to get feedback from the community about its structure and annotation, so that modifications can be made, if necessary, for the final release of the full 100 million words” (Ibid). The biggest parts of current size corpus – fiction and magazines –approximately consist of 5 million words each. The other parts – spoken, newspapers and academic – contain about 4 million words each11. Thus, it can be stated that corpora is well balanced, so the results of reserches based on the American national Corpus should be objective. On the whole, as nowadays are full of technologies it is quite easy to collet millions of words together and make them accessible to everyone. This advantage gives opportunity not only to compare language of modern days with the language of past, but also make specific investigations concerning narrow fields and get precice results. It allows exploring fields of study, which has been imposible to do without digital corpora, and predict the future of language and society using that language.
http://www.americancorpus.org/. Accessed on 18 May, 2008.
THE ASPECTS OF ETIQUETTE FORMULAS
As etiquette of one nation slightly differs from the other it can be understood that it is mostly cultural subject which develops in parallel with the countrie’s history; is affected by ages, events, persons of influence, even peace supporters. Ethnolinguists also claim that etiquette is very dependant on nation’s culture and common norms of social behaviour (Gudavičius, 2000). American journalist E. M. Timberlake in his article From George Washington to Emily Post, Good Manners have been a Popular Subject, name the most influential people to the development of American etiquette. Though the first known book of etiquette, which is also the oldest known literary work, belongs to Egyptian philosopeher Ptah-Hotep who wrote it on the papyrus during the Fifth Egyptian Dinasty around 3550 BC12. “The term "etiquette" itself dates from 17th century France, where King Louis XIV used small placards or "etiquettes" to remind his guests of the rules of court behaviour” (Ibid). As it is mentioned above, etiquette tends to change and nowadays it has a different meaning than it have had before. It ranges from the simplest actions, for example how to hold the fork, to the clothing details. It is very important to state that etiquette is not only decorum or gear; it is also a matter of speech. The way person speaks and the things one says mirror his/her personality, indicates character’s features. According to A. Kučinskaitė (1990:3) speech is the first indicator that informs others about a person. She also claims that it is impossible to separate speech etiquette from common etiquette, because behaviour has strong relations with the meaning and usage of courtesies (Ibid). The Lithuanian professor Aloyzas Gudavičius in his book Etnolingvistika (2000:115) describes speech etiquette as the norms, rules of intercommunication accredited generally received in society, which indicate the way of speaking in one or another situation in order to
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1052443/a_history_of_etiquette_guides_.html?cat=4. Accessed on the 16th of May, 2009.
achieve examples of good behaviour. The other Lithuanian professor Giedrė Čepaitienė defines speech etiquette as speech fomulas (usually stiff) that are being used in linguistic societty’s interactive communication, which reveals polite/impolite relations of collocutors and mirrors their social intercommunity or disjuncture. Speech etiquette is usually named as a linguistic politeness. Politeness – such an activity, which aim is to cultivate or strengthen intercommunion between collocutors; sometimes politness helps to prevent oneself from detectable danger. The formulas of speech etiquette mirror requests of both ethics and speech systems (Čepaitienė, 2007:11). The Russian professor Anastasia Koralova in her report Speech Etiquette Formulas in Translation defines speech etiquette fomulas as the ones that “reflect norms, values, and mindset of a certain language community. Many of them bear a heavy cultural imprint which comes to the fore when contrasted with a different language” 13. In the same report she underlines that “each language has a number of speech formulas which are expected to be used in certain communicative situations. They frame or intersperse our speech thus forming a kind of a scaffold which supports the communicative act <…>. They can be almost devoid of real meaning, yet they are extremely important as signals of propriety of language and social behavior”. The professor also expresses the importance of correct usage of such formulas by saying that “inobservance of rules ‘prescribed’ by speech etiquette may create a culture shock or a breech of communication. If this can easily happen within the same language community, the intercultural contacts can turn into a virtual mine field” (Ibid). Giedrė Čepatienė in her book Lietuvių kalbos etiketas: semantika ir pragmatika (2007) distinguishes such etiquette formulas: • Formulas of Greeting; • Formulas of Parting; • Formulas of Request; • Formulas of Invitation; • Formulas of Dictate; • Formulas of Thanks/acknowledgements; • Formulas of Apology; • Formulas of Congratulation and wish; • Formulas of Compliment. She also claims that ritual and standardized forms of etiquette are directly related with one of the most important speech etiquette’s functions – phatic function. It occurs in those
http://gsti.miis.edu/conference/image/s1.pdf Accessed on the Internet 14th April, 2009
etiquette situations where the striking up a conversation, its continuation or demonstration and finishing it is common, i.e. while greeting, familiarizing, talking about other person, parting, wishing, apologizing. It is possible to exclude and other functions of speech etiquette, such as referential (invitation, acknowledgement), expressive (praise, compliment), appellative (persuasion, request), poetic (sound wishes, persiflage), metalanguage (specification during a conversation) (Čepatienė, 2007:43-50) What concerns the written language, and the etiquette of business letters, the ideas of the exper author Neil Payne can be expressed. He claims that the way you write your letters and the etiquette you employ have a huge influence on your success or failure in business. Failure to observe correct business letter may end in misunderstanding and soured relations14. To sum up what was said above it is important to underline, that these etiquette formulas that we have today, have been formed through ages due to the affection of historical and cultural events. Every country has those formulas, a little bit differing from each other due to cultural issues, but in every country these formulas are expected to be used and a failure to do this can cause misunderstanding. The etiquette formulas have a phatic function, which allows a purposeful, reasonable conversation of a good atmosphere to happen. As letter conatin the main elements of phatic function, in the following paragraphs the formulas of greeting, parting and request occurring in business letters taken from the American National Corpus will be analysed.
Formulas of Greeting
If you take few books that contain advice about proper behaviour or in the other words, books of etiquette, and only review its content, you will easily notice that the most important chapter after the introduction is the one that introduces formulas of greeting and parting. Those two usually goes together, because they inframe the process of the communication, so are inseparable (Čepaitienė, 2007:114) It is very interesting to follow the changes of greeting formulas during the different periods of history and to notice not only the changes of word use, but also the transformation of meaning of the same word. In the times of villains and masters, to put it in other words, times of feudalism, by “master” or “mistress” have been called everyone who has had more property than a person who has been calling. The others have been called by names15.
http://www.sideroad.com/Business_Etiquette/businness-letter-etiquette.html. Accessed on 19 May, 2009. . http://www.silaine.lt/2007-10-23/kalba-20.htm. Accessed on 4 May, 2009.
Later, when all the property was made public and for citizens it was explained that times of masters are gone, everyone became “Friends”. It was allowed to call everyone by “friend” independently from person’s age, social or wealth position. Thou, these times are gone as well (Ibid). In modern days the difference among social classes can be felt again. This usually can be recognized at once when the addresser greats addresse and addresses to him/her. A. Valeckienė defines words of addresses as forms and groups of words by which the addresser appeals to collocutor pointing the subject of speech to him/her (Valeckienė, 1998:211). She also suggests to clasiffy addressees according to their names and surenames, the level of affinity, social condition or relation to addresser, gender, age, profession or occupation, estimation (positive or negative) (Ibid). Though, the Russian linguist N. I. Formanovskaja divides all addressees into two groups: 1) addressing to unknown person; 2) addressing to familiar person. (2002:58). In this research the classification of N. I. Formanovskaja will be used, because the analysed 25 business letters taken from the American National Corpus were nearly all written to the unknown people. All the letters can be ascribed to the same group – letters of request – because different organizations are writing to other charitable organizations or simple citizens and asking for donation. In those 25 letters the donations are being asked for organization that takes care of illiterate people (GILL), also for Salvation Army, Girls Scouts, Goodwill, United Way of Central Indiana, YWCA – the organization of pioneering women helping for females and their families, The American Cancer Society, which is a nonprofit organization, the Community of Indiana and the Visiting Nurse Service. As a letter written by organisation is going to be send to thousands of people it is natural that there can not be noticed any relationships and those greetings of all letters are nearly the same. The following table (see Table 1) has been prepared by us to show the small difference that occurs in the formulas of greeting. Table 1 The Formulas of Greeting No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Formulas of Greeting Dear Dear (Name) No Greeting Dear Friend of Literacy Dear Employer Dear Donor Rate 6 5 4 1 1 1 15
7 8 9 10 11 12
Dear Mr. Business Owner Dear Friend Dear Mr. & Mrs. Smith Dear Mr. & Mrs. Two-Shoes Dear Doctor and Mrs (Name) Gentelmen
1 1 1 1 1 1
As it can be seen from Table 1, 80% of all letters start with the greeting Dear and 70% of those are followed by concretized addressee. It is normal that only 8% of presented greetings have very concrete addressees: Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Mr. & Mrs. Two-Shoes, because the rest of the letters are only templates. The following figure (see Figure 5) has been prepared to illustrate Table 1.
Rate of Different Greetings
30 25 20
10 5 0
Dear (Nam e)
No Greeting Generalized Concrete Greeting Greeting
Figure 5. Rate of Different Greetings. Prepared by the author. It should be noted that all of those 25 letters start with the word Dear, except of course those that do not have greeting at all. The purple and cherry pyramids that represents the rate of Dear and Dear (Name) are excluded from other greetings, because 24% of letters have been started only with the word Dear and 20 % have been started with the word Dear followed by a space, left to write a name by hand after printing the letter out. Such letters equals to the ones that do not have greeting at all, which in this case totals to 20%, because people reading those letters do not feel exclusive and they pay less attention to what is written in the letter’s body. What concerns generalized greatings (28%), where the word Dear is followed by a word attaching person to a particular group, e.g. friend, employer, donor, doctor, gentlemen, Mr. Business owner, friend of literacy, it prompts that the person or
organization that is sending the letter at least knows where it is being sent and what occupation has the persons who is going to receive it. The smallest, blue pyramid represents 8% of those letters where the word Dear is being followed by a concrete name or surename. The number is not unexpected. It is easy to understand that organizations send hundreds of thousands such letters every year and it is just imposible to write names on all of them. Letters with concrete greetings are being started only for those who, in this case, are donating every year and organizations want them to continue doing so. This is one of the ways to appreciate gifts given by people Summarizing what was said above it should be underlined that the formulas of greating are the most important ones while starting a communication, because depending on them the relations and the atmosphere between the addresser and collocutor is set. As formulas of greeting contain addressee, they can be very informative. If addresser applies to the familiar person, the greeting gives information about their relationship, whether they belong to the same social group or not. Though if addresser does not know the collocutor, the greeting formula used is a general one, which is not very informative.
Formulas of Parting
The formulas of parting as well as formulas of greeting set the relations and help to create atmosphere. These formulas are being used at the end of communication and are expressed by both, addresser and addressee. The failure to use these formulas causes the embarrassment and misunderstandings, so the following attempt to start a communication with the same person can fail as well (Čepaitienė, 2007: 114). There are such parting formulas that occur only in letters e.g. sincerely/ faithfully. It is also common to finish them with phrases saying that the addresser is expecting a quick response e.g. Hope to hear from you soon, or Look forward to hearing from you (Čepaitienė, 2007: 137). In the analysed letters the wish to get a quick response has been expressed in a different form: Your gift today will help students grow tomorrow. Make your donation today so Indy Reads <…>. Please send your most generous gift today. Make a tax-deductable investment in the community today.
Use the enclosed card and give a generous gift to Goodwill today! These phrases are used at the very end of the letter and express the idea that the quicker you act the quicker the benefit will come. They occur either before the formula of parting or is added post scriptum. The phrase “Today’s girls will be tomorrow’s leaders--and they’re counting on YOU” occurs 5 times in 25 letters and also can be considered as an encouragement to act as quickly as possible, because the future of girls depends on you. It is natural that in these letters the common phrase of business letters Look forward to hearing from you does not occur, because the addresser is not waiting for an answer; the donation of money is being expected. The following table (see Table 2) has been prepared by us to present the rate of different parting formulas used in analysed material. Table 2 The Formulas of Parting .No 1 2 3 4 5 6 Formulas of Parting Again, I thank you Sincerely Sincerely yours On behalf of <…> Blessings No parting Rate 1 17 2 1 2 2
The following figure has been prepared to illustrate table 2 (see Figure 6).
No Parting 8% Blessings 8% On behalf of 4%
Again, I thank you 4%
Sincerely 68% Sincerely Yours 8%
Figure 6. The Rate of Parting Formulas. Prepared by the author. 18
According to the American expert on etiquette Amy Vanderbilt (2007:434) the most common formulas of parting are Sincerely Yours and Sincerely. In this case Sincerely is the most popular one and totals to 68% as the organizations write to unfamiliar people, so they tend to keep distance in order not to offend them, not to be importunate. What concerns the parting Sincerely Yours, it totals just to 8%. Both letters are written by persons who are sharing their good experience and whose life have became better, because of those people who have been donating. Consequently those who are wrtitng feel very grateful and express their gratefulness in such a way. A. Vanderbilt suggests that if writing to an associate or friend it is better to use warm and sincere formulas e.g Wish you all the best; Best wishes (Ibid). As it can be seen from Figure 6, not only official parting formulas are used in analyzed business letters, which are supposed to be official ones, e.g. Blessings (8%); Again I thank you (4%); On behalf of <…> (4%). Notwithstanding the letters are signed by chairmen of the companies, instead of official parting formulas an informal ones are used. This shows that people who have a better social condition than the ones, who receive letters, tend to forget it and equal themselves to lower social classes. In this way, the addressee feels more important; therefore he/she has more reasons to help. According to G. Čepatienė, such type of relations can be called horizontal as the addresser and addressee belongs to the same social group, so the communication should not be very official. Though, in the other environment the same addresser and addressee are connected through vertical relations, because it is clear that a chairman of company belongs to a higher class than “a friend of literacy” (Čepatienė, 2007:70). To conclude what was said above it should be underlined that formulas of greeting and parting are inseparable ones and both of them should be used by chosing an appropriate style to the situation. It can be also excluded that there are such parting formulas that occur only in letters. The official ones that are supposed to be closed with official formulas can be finished with informal phrases, though it depends on the purpose of writing. Too familiar formulas in the business letters can be misunderstood and cause and embarrasement.
Formulas of Request
The Australian linguist (originally Polish) Anna Wierzbicka in her book English. Meaning and Culture expresses the idea that “for the new society to function smoothly and efficiently, lots of people have had to be told what to do” (Wierzbicka, 2006:173). Thought, such an action have been supposed to happen “in the context of a democracy, where people might be willing to take “directions” or to follow “instructions” but not obey “orders” or “commands” (Ibid). People understand the importance of politeness in such situationsas there is even a saying that when you treat others nicely, you can expect to get more benefit from them than if you treat people in a bad way. Since the action of request has a strong psychological issues through the ages a variour formulas of it have been stereotyped. Lithuanian professor G. Čepaitienė describes request as one of the most complicated linguistic etiquette’s situations, because the success of this act depends on the relations of addresser and addressee. The request can be described as a situation when addresser applies to addressee verbally or in writing in order to make the last-mentioned to do something (not to do), or to give something. This is what makes the situation distinctive, because the addresser admits to addressee, that he/she lacks something or can not do by oneself (Čepaitienė, 2007:144). A very similar idea expresses the Russian linguist N. I. Formanovskaja, though she emphasizes that the person who is requesting have to organize his speech activity so that to get a positive answer. This is why in this act of speech the repect for an addressee is underlined and the level of request’s politeness is very important (Formanovskaja, 2002:12). A. Wierzbicka claims that people, in this case, English speakers, do not avoid “direct orders and requests, by issueing more tactfull and indirect <…>”, they have their ways of “reporting such requests that seem to require the same cultural perspective” (Wierzbicka, 2006:173). The various ways of expressing requests have been noticed in the analyzed business letters and the classification of prime ones are presented. Though, all of them can be divided into two groups: direct orders and indirect ones. The direct orders, e.g.: Make your donation today so Indy Reads can continue teching people to read and help them achieve their dreams. (4) Invest in the future of girls – the future of us all. (12) Use the enclosed card and give a generous gift to Goodwill today! (34) It is clear that these requests sound as an orders because of the usage of the imperative mood. Thought, these orders are given in order to achieve the aim, to make the same community where the people who receive those letters live. So this is mutual benefit. 20
The group of indirect orders actually contains all the other examples, which is about 95.4 %. Your gift can plant the seed of learning in an Indy Reads student <…>. (3) Your investment in Girl Scouting is sure to help build tomorrow’s leaders today. (7) <…> we need your continued support to help these become a reality. (11) Thus it can be understood that the influence of this type of requests are much bigger and gets more positive answers, as people do not feel the direct pressure to send their money. This large group can be divided into smaller units according to the used words and the psychological pressure that people get. There are a large amount of requests expressed with the word please: Please consider an increase in your contribution to the Girls Scout Annual Campaign. (7) Please use the enclosed envelope so we can help you. (20) Please prayerfully consider how much you can give… and give just a little more. (25) They sound more like an asking for a help, support. It leaves for a reader a chance to choose and if a person feels that he/she has such a chance, that he/she is not spaced in the corner, he/she is more tending to answer positively. The other group of indirect requests are made in a form of question: Will you help them change? (2) Won’t you help the WYCA provide a great summer for those kids? (5) These examples contain more psychological pressure. In the other word the same questions would sound like this: How can you be nonchalant when others need your help? Some of the requests sound as encouragemenets: Take the first step toward making a difference in the lives of our young women and become a shareholder in the Girl Scout vision. (8) Take a step toward making a difference in the lives of our youn woman and recommit to the Girl Scout vision. (10) If you would like to help us keep going, please send a contribution in the enclosed envelope. (21) When a person reads a letter where he/she is being asked to give some of his/her money to someone else it is normal that one starts hesitating if it is worth doing that, if the gift will be appreciated. The encouragement to act, not to hesitate, sure makes an influence and the positive answer can be expected again.
Some requests are being expressed by assuring that what a person is doing is the right thing and that he/she will be appreciated for it: We will be grateful for your contribution, and I am sure you will feel good about giving. (19) You can be assured that a donation to the Girl Scouts is a sound investment opportunity. (8) I would most appreciate receiving your generous check made payable to the American Cancer Society and sent to me in the enclosed envelope, if you have not already done so. (16) There is a group of requests which sound as pleadings: We need your support. (2) But we can not do it alone. We need your help. (24) Because we believe everyone in our community should have an opportubity to learn to read and write, we are asking you to help by sending your contribution to Indy reads today. (2) There is such type of request as an invitation. For instance, Lithuanian professor G. Čepaitienė as well do not analyse invitation in separate pargrph from requests as it is asking to come, but is expressed in a warm and sincere manners (Čepaitienė, 2007:172). The following examples have been found in the researched material: Please join me in making a generous contribution to this year’s <…>. (12) <…> would like to invite you to join us in an investment opportunity---an investment in our future business and community leaders. (13) Please join the thousands of companies that believe that caring for the communitie’s well-being is an important part of doing business here in central Indiana. (31) The las group that we would like to exclude is the one which phrases of request contain a stong psychological pressure: You can be the one to open the door… to a life long dream of adults who have never learned to read. (4) Now more than ever girls need your support to help their dreams become reality. (9) Holidays are time for shearing. <…> it can also be troubling time. (24) Perhaps you’ll even save a life. (25) The writer is trying to get a positive answer by shifting the responsibility for the good life of others onto reader. The addresser tries to affect the addresse through his/her conscience. 22
Summarizing it can be claimed that indirect formulas of request are more popular and have a large variety of phrases with different psychological and social issues in order to affect the addressee. All of those phrases leaves an impression that the person who gets the letter is very important and can make differences in lives of others. Consequently people tend to act positively and this proves the saying that when you treat others nicely, you can expect to get more benefit from them than if you treat people in a bad way.
ASPECTS OF ETIQUETTE ON THE INTERNET
Regarding the development of new technologies and the process of globalization peple are able to communicate in spite of the distasnce of thousans of kilometres. It is possible because of Internet, which is defined as “a worldwide system of computer networks - a network of networks in which users at any one computer can, if they have permission, get information from any other computer”16. According to Internet usage statistics, there are nearly 1.6 milliard Internet users in the world17. This is a huge number of people getting information from the Internet and communicating through it verbally or in writing in various web sites. It happens usually that people from many different countries communicate in one web page, so the tactfulness and respect to other cultures are very important. The etiquette of electronic communication is based on the same principle as the common one: do as you would be done by. Though in this sphere people should be more careful about what they are writing or saying, because when there is no face to face communication we tend to be more relaxed and express ideas we would never could express in the presence of the other person (Post, 2004:296). As Internet can be considered as a mean of quick communication, it is natural that messages or letters send by e-mails are short ones. The author of the book Elektroniniai Laiškai Anglų Kalba Kirsten Wächter maintains that due to the briefness of those letters the abbreviations tend to occur in them. Though, she emphasizes that is it important to distiguish the common standard abbreviations that are used in every electronic letter from the
http://searchwindevelopment.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid8_gci212370,00.html. Accessed on 20 May, 2009. 17 http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm. Accessed on 20 May, 2009.
abbreviations that are being used only in spoken language (Wächter, 2008:16). The etiquette expert Peggy Post also suggests taking into consideration that not all people use and understand those symbols. Such expressions are being used and are useful only at comuniction between the two collocutors belonging to the same or similar society group (Post, 2004:296). To analyze etiquette aspects on the Internet, the online journal, in other words called weblog, Buffy have been taken from the American National Corpus. The online encyclopedia Britannica defines blog as an “online journal where an individual, group, or corporation presents a record of activities, thoughts, or beliefs18.” Blogs can operate as filters of news, where the online addresses are given with a short comments or it can be like a diary of one person for one main topic. In some blogs visitors can also leave their comments and interact with the publisher (Ibid). The chosen weblog Buffy provides information about the parts of TV serial Buffy the Vampyre Slayer. It was taken 1 part of the blog’s notes which totals to 55 pages. As the personal opinions are being expressed in this journal and the visitors of it aren’t experts or known critics it is natural that the spoken language is being used. The reaction of users is mostly expressed by interjections such as: OOh; BWah; Ha..ha……ha; yoiks; aw; yeah; err; heh; ah; hee; oh. A big number of abbreviations is also found in the notes. The following table has been prepared to present abbreviations and their explanations. Table 3. Abbreviations and their explanations No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Abbreviation Blog F2F TLA’s FLA’s TWoP FTR MoG GWTW NYPD Explanation Weblog Face to face Three Letter Acronyms Four Letter Acronyms Television without pity Fighter Music weblog Gone With The Wind New York City Police Department
All those abbreviations is a part of Internet language in other words called netspeak. A linguist Tim Shortis in his book The Lnaguage of ICT writes that if someone puts an
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/869092/blog, Accessed on 20 May, 2009.
acronym LOL it does not actually mean that a person is really doing that. This can be used in order to thank to a collocutor for trying to humor a writer (Shortis, 2001:60). In the analyzed material some rude expressions have been found, e.g. Fuck it; Bitch, according to which the conclusion can be drawn that people are not restricted by internet or linguistic etiquette. The shortened versions of worsd as y‘know, where the full form is you know confirms the proposition that the Internet language is full of abbreviations and shortened words. On the whole it can be said, that Internet allows people to get and send information quicker than ever, but because this is a new field for many of users, they do not know about the usage of proper language and Internet‘s Etiquette. It is good that many people find congenial friends and can freely and quickly express their emotions and ideas, though people who do not know the meaning of Internet slang can misunderstand the messages and the conflicts in such situations can occur.
SOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF ETIQUETTE
It has been mentioned above that speech is the first indicator that revelas the character features of a speaker. It is also should be added that according to ones language the gender, age, education and social background could be predicted. A person with a proficient hearing can also guess about the intentions of the one who is speaking. According to Emily Post “the letter you write <…> is always a mirror which reflects your appearance, taste and character. A “sloppy” letter <…> proclaims the sort of person who would have unkempt hair, unclean linen and broken shoe laces; just as a neat, precise, evenly written note portrays a person of like characteristics” (Post,2007:448). Linguists have been analyzing the selection of etiquette formulas. Sociolinguists as J. Milroy and L. Milroy in their article Varieties and Variation exclude few speaker variables that identify the covariation between linguistic and social categories. One of “the most widely used covariations is socioeconomic class” (Milroy, J. & Milroy, L., 2000:50). Other variables include age of speaker, gender, ethnic group, and social network. They also recognize as a variable contextual style, which tends to interact with speaker’s variables, i.e. “speaker’s relationship to the resources of the language and of the situational contexts in which the speaker finds himself at different times” (Ibid). The Russian linguist N. I. Formanovskaja accentuates social position and fixed features of sociall speakers (gender, age, place of birth, education) as well as shifting social roles (Formanovskaja, 2002:33). The American professor Gabriele Kasper while analyzing Leech (1983), Brown and Levinson (1987), accentuated such factors having an influence on speech expression: social power, social distance and conversation’s politeness level (Kasper, 2000:382). The Russian professor Anastasia Koralova in her report Speech Etiquette Formulas in Translation claims that speech etiquette “<…> is a mandatory and socially constructed product” that makes us to use formulas and in such way “<…>to demonstrate complete conformity to the rules, and if we do not, we are considered rude or eccentric or even mad19” It is important to underline that speech etiquette is a part of social interaction of people that leaves a psychological impression, depending on which the communication process is built. The respect for each other is very important in society. This can not be
www.ata-divisions.org/SLD/articles/misc-articles2.doc. Accessed on 18 April, 2009.
forgotten and while writing a letter. If the addresser respects the addressee, the letter then should be written in easy readable way. This is why the redability of analysed letters and Buffy’s weblog has been cheched.
ASPECTS OF READABILITY
Nowaday’s techers do not have problems with teaching children from the books, because mostly all of them are written and designed dependingly on the age group of students that is going to use them. Though, eight decades ago teachers have had such a problem. Especially when teaching science, because before students could take a book, read it and understand it, they had to study and learn a science vocabulary, which let them to have a clue what was a book about. (AAR20) Considering this problem new term readability occurred and was followed by readability tests, which are mathematical formulas, and which were designed to access the suitability of books for students and particular grade levels or ages. Due to new technologies readability tests are now computerized and available to everyone. People use them not only for checking the ease of the text books, but also contents of webpages, policy statements, and laws. As scores and percents are counted by machine, it can only predict the level of ease, because it can not take into consideration the human factor. Advantages and disadvantages of using readability tests indicated by Cheryl Stephens can be found in appendixes. Readability formulas are usualy based of one semantic factor (the difficulty of words) and one syntactic factor (the difficulty of sentences). Studies have confirmed that the inclusion of other factors in the formula contributes more work than it improves the results. In formulas “words are either measured against a frecquency list or are measured according to their length in characters or syllables. Sentences are measured for the average length in characters or words” (Ibid). The internet page Web Accessibility Technical Services (WATS21) claims that there are many ways to gauge readability and indicates the three of them commonly used: the Flesch Readability Index, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Index, and Gunning Fog Index.
http://plainlanguage.com/newreadability.html http://www.wats.ca/show.php?contentid=30. Accessed on 20 May, 2009.
Gunning Fog Index It is the easiest to use and probably the most popular readbility index. The “ideal” Fog Index level is 7 or 8 and the leve above 12 indicates that the text is difficult to read and understand (Ibid). Grade Level = 0.4 (ASL + PHW) where, ASL = Average Sentence Length (i.e., number of words divided by the number of sentences) PHW = Percentage of Hard Words In the glossary on the internet22 the Gunning Fog Index is described as a tool that “gives the number of years of education that <…> reader hypothetically needs to understand the paragraph or text”. According to the same glossary it “implies that short sentences written in plain English achieve a better score than long sentences written in compicated language” (Ibid). The tests of Gunning Fog Index and Lexical Density have been used to define the readability of business letters provided in the American National Corpus (See Table 3 and Table 4.) Table 3. Gunning Fog Index (1-13 letters) No GFI 1 7.1 2 9.3 3 8.4 4 8.5 5 8.3 6 10.4 7 7.5 8 8.7 9 7.1 10 8.8 11 6.8 12 9 13 7.4 Table 4 Gunning Fog Index (14-25 letters) No GFI 14 10 15 10.4 16 11.2 17 9.9 18 7.4 19 6.2 20 8.4 21 5.8 22 6.3 23 6.4 24 11.2 25 5.7
As it can be seen from both tables the letters are written in such a way that a person who finished high school can easily read them. Thus, it can be stated that the addresser cares about the reader.
http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/fog-index.html. Accessed on 21 May, 2009.
The Guning Fog Index of weblog Buffy equals to 6. It means that it can be easily read by teenagers and probably most of the users are teenagers.
The etiquette is a very well known word in many cultures, though some people tend to claim that it is used only by snobs, rich people, and nobles. There is a little truth in such sayings, because the etiquette started among rich people, so and polite behaviour was cmmon among rich and educated people. What concerns snobs, these are people that exaggerate the importance of etiquette in their life and tend to disdain other people, while an educated person understands that no one is perfect and do as he/she would be done by. The aim of the work was to investigate the aspects of etiquette formulas as well as the social and psychological aspects. It can be claimed that the aim has been achieved by analysing the examples found in business letters and online journal Buffy taken from the American National Corpus. Thus the following conclusions can be drawn: 1. As in the first part of the present paper the discourse of the corpus have been discussed it is possible to claim that language studies based on corpus linguistics provides us with accurate results, because the researcher is able to deal with a bigger amount of material taken from the appropriate corpus. 2. In the second part the aspects of etiquette formulas have been presented and formulas of greeting, parting, and request have been analysed. Thus, it can be stated that those phrases have a huge impact on the success of the communication. It is expected to be use by collocutors and the failure to do that can cause serious misunderstandings. The results of the analysis showed there are no strict boundaries between the formal and informal etiquette
formulas. In official letter informal phrases can occur, if the aim of the writing lets to do that. 3. The aspects of the etiquette on the internet have been presented in the third part. The results revealed that people using internet are not acquainted with its etiquette. The reason of it can be that the field of internet etiquette is quite new and that the users of it are quite young. 4. In the final, fourth part the social and psychological aspects of etiquette are briefly disscused. The claim can be made that linguistic etiquette is based on social issues, because the atmosphere of communication depends on that and many social features of collocutor can be distinguished from his/her language. All etiquette formulas have psychological aspects, i.e. is being used to achieve aims of the addresser. On the whole, there were chosen 72 examples from 25 letters and 20 examples from 55 online journal’s pages in order to analyze the etiquette aspects in the American National Corpus. Finaly, the practise value of the work lies in the contribution for students and lecturers who would like to take an interest into the aspects of speech etiquette.
1. Ed.Coulmas, F., (2000). The handbook of sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 2. Formanovskaja, N. I., 2002. Ruskij Rechevoj Etiket: Normativnyj Sociokulturnyj Kontext. Maskva: Ruskij Jazyk. 3. Gudavičius, A., 2000. Etnolingvistika. Šiauliai: Šiaulių Universiteto leidykla. 4. Kučinskaitė, A., (1990). Lietuvių Kalbos Etiketas. 2nd edition, Vilnius: “Mokslas”. 5. McEnery, T., Wilson, A., (2001). Corpus linguistics. An introduction. United Kingdom: Edinburgh University Press Ltd. 6. Post, E., (2007). Etiquette – In Society, In Business, In Politics, and at Home. New York: Cosimo Inc. 7. Post, P., (2008). Emily Post Etiketas. Versus Aureus. 8. Paulston, Ch. B., Tucker, G. R., (2003). Sociolinguistics – the Essential Readings. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 9. Shortis, T., 2001. The Language of ICT. Routledge. 10. Valeckienė, A., 1998. Funkcinė Lietuvių Kalbos Gramatika. Vilnius: Mokslo ir Enciklopedijų Leidybos Institutas. 11. Wierzbicka, A., 2006. English. Meaning and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 12. Wächter, K., 2008. Elektroniniai Laiškai Anglų Kalba. Vilnius: Alma litera.
WEBSITES 1. American National Corpus. http://americannationalcorpus.org. Accessed on 25 April, 2009. 2. A History of Etiquette Guides, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1052443/a_history_of_etiquette_guides_.ht ml?cat=4, accessed on the 16th of May, 2009. 3. All About Readabiliy http://plainlanguage.com/newreadability.html 4. Association for Computational Linguistics. http://www.clres.com/corp.htm. Accessed on 17 April, 2009.
5. Corpora in Research and Teaching. http://folk.uio.no/hhasselg/UV-corpus.htm. Accessed on 16 May, 2008 6. Corpus Linguistics. http://www.engl.polyu.edu.hk/corpus linguist/corpus.htm. Accessed on 16 April, 2009. 7. Developing linguistic corpora: guide to a good practice. John Sinclair, 2004. Accessed on internet April 20, 2009. http://ahds.ac.uk/creating/guides/linguisticcorpora/chapter1.htm 8. Encyclopedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/869092/blog. Accessed on 20 May, 2009. 9. International Conference on Translation and Interpretation. http://gsti.miis.edu/conference/image/s1.pdf. Accessed on the Internet 14th April, 2009. 10. Online Glossary. http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/fog-index.html. Accessed on 21 May, 2009. 11. Šilainės Sodas, Kalbos Pamokėlė. http://www.silaine.lt/2007-10-23/kalba-20.htm. Accessed on 4 May, 2009. 12. The Sideroad Business Letter Etiquette. http://www.sideroad.com/Business_Etiquette/businness-letter-etiquette.html. Accessed on 19 May, 2008 13. The status of Polish court translators in 2003. www.atadivisions.org/SLD/articles/misc-articles2.doc. Accessed on 18 April, 2009 14. Walter de Gruyter. http://www.degruyter.de/journals/cllt/detailEn.cfm. Accessed on 18 April, 2009. 15. Web Accessibility Technical Services http://www.wats.ca/show.php?contentid=30. Accessed on 20 May, 2009.
SOURCES CD of the American National Corpus.
Advantages and disadvantages of using readability tests: Advantages: • The primary advantage is they cnd serve as an early warning system to let the
writer know that the writing is too dense. They can give a quick, on-the-spot assessment. They have been described as “screening devices” to eliminate dense drafts and give rise to revisions or substitutions. • In some organizational settings, readability tests are considered useful to show measurable improvement in written documents. They provide a quantifiable measure of improvement or simplification.
Disadvantages (things readability tests can not tell): • • • • • • Source: It can not tell how complex the ideas are; whether or not the content is in a logical order; whether the vocabulary is appropriate for the audience; whether there is a gender, clas or cultural bias; whether the design is attractive and helps or hinders the reader; whether the material appears in a form and type style that is easy or hard to read
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