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Submitted to:

Ma’am Irna Nirwani Dj, Dra.M.Hum

Created by:

Adiba Hilal Bahajjaj






As human being we need to do the interaction with other people. Every interaction will
has different sense depend on the person who do it. As a human we also are able to separate
fromthe socialinteraction. Especially when we talk about linguistic interaction. We will know if
there are many factors that talk about it. To get the sense of interaction we should look at various
factors which relate to social distance and closeness. Every interaction that people do usually got
the impact from their culture and behavior. So when we do the interaction with them. We will
think how to show our politeness to our listener/ partner. To show it we usually adapted from
their culture and behavior. Pragmatic is the one of the study that talk about it especially in the
politeness and interaction.

People are not born polite but acquire it from learning. When we are communicating with
each other consciously or unconsciously, cultural backgrounds affect our behaviors and
reactions. People live in a certain cultural environment, and his/her behaviors are featured by
his/her cultures. In order to avoid cultural misunderstandings which will lead to communication
failure, people should abide by a certain courtesy criteria. The American philosopher and
logician, Paul Grice pointed out that in conversation, the participants must first of all be willing
to cooperate; otherwise, it would not be possible for them to carry on the talk. In another hand, I
will talk it more in this paper because when we learn to get sense of interaction we will examine
about Politeness and Interaction too.

According to Brown and Levinson (1987) everyone has self-public image which has
relation to emotional and social sense of self and expects everyone else to recognize.Politeness
refers to the common notion of the term, that is, the way politeness manifests itself in
communicative interaction. Politeness is one of the constraints of human interaction, whose
purpose is to consider other`s feelings, establish levels of mutual comfort, and promote rapport.
Hill et al. (1986: 282). Politeness is what we think is appropriate behaviour in particular
situations in an attempt to achieve and maintain successful social relationships with
others (Lakoff 1972: 910).

According to To Watts (2003:39) politeness can be identified as follows:

1. Politeness is the natural attribute of a ‘good’ character.

2. Politeness is the ability to please others through one’s external actions .

3. Politeness is the ideal union between the character of an individual and his external actions


· A student to teacher

Student : Excuse me Mr. Buckingham, but can I talk to you for a minute?

· Friend to friend

Hey Bucky, got a minute?

politeness = the means empoyed to show awareness of another person’s face, showing
awareness for a socially distant person’s face respect, deference showing awareness for a
socially close person’s face friendliness, solidarity
Leech’s (1983) Maxims of Politeness

A. Tact maxim

The tact maxim is 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?”

“Could I interrupt you for half a second – what was the website address?”

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 tact maxim states: ‘Minimize the expression of beliefs which imply cost to other; maximize
the expression of beliefs which imply benefit to other.’ The first part of this maxim fits in with
Brown and Levinson‘s negative politeness strategy of minimising the imposition, and the second
part reflects the positive politeness strategy of attending to the hearer’s interests, wants, and

Could I interrupt you for a second?

If I could just clarify this then.

B. 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. Unlike the tact
maxim, the maxim of generosity focuses on the speaker, and says that others should be put first
instead of the self. This maxim is centered to self, while the tact maxim is to other. Examples:

You relax and let me do the dishes.

You must come and have dinner with us.

maximize cost/minimize benefit to yourself

Could I copy the web address?

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.

C. Approbation maxim

The approbation maxim needs 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 and expressives. Assertives/
representatives are utterances that express the true propositional. Meanwhile, expressive are
utterances that show the speaker feeling. The example is sampled below.

A: “The performance was great!”

B: “Yes, wasn’t it!”

minimize dispraise/maximize praise of the other person

Yogie you’re always so efficient – do you have copy of that web address?

The Approbation maxim states: ‘Minimize the expression of beliefs which express dispraise of
other; maximize the expression of beliefs which express approval of other.’ It is preferred to
praise others and if this is impossible, to sidestep the issue, to give some sort of minimal
response (possibly through the use of euphemisms), or to remain silent. The first part of the
maxim avoids disagreement; the second part intends to make other people feel good by showing

-I heard you singing at the karaoke last night. It sounded like you were enjoying yourself!

-Maudy, I know you’re a genius – would you know how to solve this math problem here?
In the example, A gives a good comment about the performance. He talks the pleasant thing
about other. This expression is a congratulation utterance that maximizes praise of other. This
utterance is included the approbation maxim.

D. Modesty maxim

In the modesty maxim, the participants must minimize praise of self and maximize dispraise of
self. This maxim is applied in assertives/ representatives and expressives like the approbation
maxim. Both the approbation maxim and the modesty maxim concern to the degree of good or
bad evaluation of other or self that is uttered by the speaker. The approbation maxim is exampled
by courtesy of congratulation. On other hand, the modesty maxim usually occurs in apologies.
The sample of the modesty maxim is below.

1. “Please accept this small gift as prize of your achievement.”

2. “Oh, I’m so stupid – I didn’t make a note of our lecture! Did you?”

maximize dispraise/minimize praise of yourself

Oh I’m so stupid – I didn’t make a not of that web address. Did you?

In this case, the utterance above is categorized as the modesty maxim because the speaker
maximizes dispraise of himself. The speaker notices his utterance by using “small gift”.

E. Agreement maxim

In the agreement maxim, there is tendency to maximize agreement between self and other people
and minimize disagreement between self and other. The disagreement, in this maxim, usually is
expressed by regret or partial agreement. ‘ It is in line with Brown and Levinson‘s
positive politeness strategies of ‘seek agreement’ and ‘avoid disagreement,’ to which they attach
great importance. However, it is not being claimed that people totally avoid disagreement. It is
simply observed that they are much more direct in expressing agreement, rather than
disagreement. This maxim occurs in assertives/ representatives illocutionary act. There example
will be illustrated below.

A: “English is a difficult language to learn.”

B: “True, but the grammar is quite easy.”


A: I don’t want my daughter to do this, I want her to do that.

B: Yes, but ma’am, I thought we resolved this already on your last visit.

minimize disagreement/maximize agreement between self and other

Yes, of course you’re right, but your decision might make her very unhappy

From the example, B actually does not agree that all part of English language difficult to learn.
He does not express his disagreement strongly to be more polite. The polite answer will
influence the effect of the hearer. In this case, B’s answer minimize his disagreement using
partial agreement, “true, but…”.

F. Sympathy maxim

The sympathy maxim explains to minimize antipathy between self and other and maximize
sympathy between self and other. In this case, the achievement being reached by other must be
congratulated. On other hand, the calamity happens to other, must be given sympathy or
condolences. This maxim is applicable in assertives/ representatives. The example is as
follows.This includes a small group of speech acts such as congratulation, commiseration, and
expressing condolences – all of which is in accordance with Brown and Levinson’s
positive politeness strategy of attending to the hearer’s interests, wants, and needs.

1. “I’m terribly sorry to hear about your father.”

2. I am sorry to hear about your father.

minimize antipathy/maximize sympathy between self and other

I was very sorry to hear about your father’s death

It is a condolence expression which is expressed the sympathy for misfortune. This utterance is
uttered when the hearer gets calamity of father’s died or sick. This expression shows the
solidarity between the speaker and the hearer.
Brown and Levinson’s Politeness Theory (The theory of face)

Brown and Levinson developed a theory of politeness that drew on Goffman’s idea of
face and expanded upon Lakoff’s rules of politeness. According to Brown and Levinson there
are two kinds of face, which reflect two different desires present in every interaction (Johnstone,

A. Negative Face (desire to express one’s ideas without resistance)

Negative face the need to be independent, to have freedom of action, and not to be imposed on
by others. Negative face need to be independentand free.negative face refers to the want of every
competent adult member that his actions be unimpeded by others For the example:

I’m sorry to bother you.

Appeal to positive face.

I know you’re busy.

B. Positive Face (desire to have one’s contributions approved of)

Positive face is the need to be accepted, even liked, by others, to be treated as a member of the
same group, and to know that his or her wants are shared by others. Positive face need to be
connected and a member of the group. For theb examples:

· Let’s do it together.

· You and I have the same problems.

· Your friend asks for a ride to the airport.

· Positive face needs: You think, I better take him because I want him to like me, and I
want the reputation of being a reliable person (Goffman: 1967).In conclusion, we can say that
negative face is the need to be independent and positive face is the need to be connected.

Brown and Levinson theorize that face must be continually monitored during a
conversation because it is vulnerable. During a conversation face can be lost, maintained or
enhanced. It is important to not only maintain one’s own face but also the face of others (Fraser,
1990). Interlocutors must be able to “save face” when they are confronted with a “face-
threatening act” (FTA), which threatens the faces of the addressees (Johnstone,
2008). Fraser (1990) outlines the four potential face-threatening acts, proposed by Brown and
Levinson, as follows.

1. Acts which threaten the audience’s negative face: ordering, advising, threatening, warning

2. Acts which threaten the audience’s positive face: complaining, criticizing, disagreeing,
raising taboo topics

3. Acts which threaten speaker’s negative face: accepting an offer, accepting thanks,
promising unwillingly

4. Acts which threaten speaker’s positive face: apologizing, accepting compliments and


The politeness and interaction can sometimes be different in some situations, some others may
think that we are being impolite because we saying things they not used to hear everyday, we
cannot blame them and they can’t either because politeness depends on where you are and who
you speak to, and face is also the main idea of this theory. Politeness and Interaction also the
most important part to be understood by use in communication with other people. In order to
make sense of what is said in an interaction, we have to look at various factors which relate to
social distance and closeness, some of these factors which are established prior to an interaction
and hence are largely external factors. They usually involve the relative status of the participants,
based such things like age and power.