VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY- HO CHI MINH CITY UNIVERSITY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES

A CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY: POLITENESS IN ISSUING ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE SPOKEN INVITATIONS

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts (TESOL)

Supervisor Submitted by

ÑAËNG THÒ HÖÔÛNG, EdD LEÂ BÍCH THUÛY

Ho Chi Minh City, August 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Certificate of originality………………………………………………………………………………………………… Retention and use of the thesis…………………………………………………………………………………. Acknowledgements……………………………………………………………………………………………… Abstract………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Abbreviations and symbols.……………………………………………………………………………..…… List of charts………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… List of figures……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… List of tables………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… i ii iii iv v vi vii viii

CHAPTER 1: 1.1 1.2 1.3

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study ………………………………………………………………………………………….…..1 The aims of the study……………………………………………………………………………………………………..5 The organization of the study………………………………………………………………………………………5 LITERATURE REVIEW

CHAPTER 2: 2.1.

Written and spoken language……………………………………………………………………………………..7

2.1.1 Distinction between spoken and written language…………………………..….………..….7 2.1.2. English and Vietnamese spoken language…………………………………………………………….9 2.2. Communicative competence………………………………………………………………….….………………10

2.2.1. Definitions…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………….10 2.2.2. Sociolinguistics and the learning of English as a foreign language……………12 2.3. Speech acts………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………13

2.3.1. Direct and indirect speech acts ………………………………………………………………………..…..14 2.3.2. Indirectness in requests………………………………………………………………….………………………....16 2.3.2.1. 2.3.2.2. 2.3.2.3. 2.4. The most direct strategies (Bald-on-record strategies)…………………… ……. 16 Conventionally indirect strategies ………………………………………………………………....17 Non-conventionally indirect strategies ……………………………………………………….. 17

Politeness ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..………..18

2.4.1. Theories of politeness………………………………………………………………………………………………...18 2.4.2. Politeness and indirectness………………………………………………………………………….…………...21 2.4.3. Social variables affecting politeness……………………………………………………………….…...23 2.4.3.1. 2.4.3.2. 2.4.3.3. Power……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………...23 Social distance………………………………………………………...………………………………………………24 Gender…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 27 2.4.3.4. Age………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………….. 28 2.5. Invitations …………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………….30

2.5.1. The nature of invitations……………………………………………………………………..…………………… 30 2.5.2. Written and spoken invitations……………………………………………………..……………….…………32 2.5.3. Reasons for making invitations ………………………………………………..…………….………………32 2.5.4. Problems with invitations………………………………………………………………………..……………… 34 2.5.5. The structure of English and Vietnamese spoken invitations……………….….. 35

2.5.5.1. 2.5.5.2.

The structure of English spoken invitations………………………………….…………… 36 The structure of Vietnamese spoken invitations………………………………………. 37 METHODOLOGY

CHAPTER 3: 3.1. 3.2. 3.3.

Research questions……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 40 Research design………………………………………………………………….……………………………….…….. 40 The characteristics of the subjects…………………………………………………………….…..……..42

3.3.1. The first group of subjects……………………………………………………….……………………………….42 3.3.2. The second group of subjects……………………………………………………….………………………….43 3.4. Instruments……………………………………………………….…………………………………………………………….44

3.4.1. Description of the questionnaires………………………………………………………………….……….44 3.4.2. Data collection procedure………………………………………………..……………………………………… 46 3.5. Assumptions ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………47

CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS 4.1.

DATA

ANALYSIS

AND

DISCUSSION

OF

THE

Data analysis……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………48

4.1.1. The preference of strategy use between groups: Overall results……………….48 4.1.2. Preference for and use of politeness strategies in relation to social status, age and gender …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 50 4.1.2.1. 4.1.2.2. 4.1.2.3. 4.2. Social status and age……………………………………………………………………………………..…… 51 Social status and gender……………………………………………………………………………………… 59 Age and gender……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 66

Discussion of the findings………………………………………………………………………………………… 74 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

CHAPTER 5: 5.1. 5.2.

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………… 81 Recommendations…………………………………………………………………………………………………………83

References…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………………….. 86 Appendix 1 Questionnaire to English native speakers………………………….…………………….97 Appendix 2 Questionnaire to Vietnamese native speakers……………………………………..100

CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY
I certify my authorship of the Masters’ Thesis submitted today entitled: A CROSS-CULTURAL STUDY: POLITENESS IN ISSUING ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE SPOKEN INVITATIONS In terms of the statement of requirements for Theses in Masters’ Programs issued by the Higher Degree Committee of Department of English Linguistics and Literature, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University- Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City, August 2007

LE BICH THUY

RETENTION AND USE OF THE THESIS
I hereby state that I, LE BICH THUY, being a candidate for the degree of Master of Arts (TESOL) accepted the requirements of the University relating to the retention and use of Master’ Thesis deposited in the Library. In terms of these conditions, I agree that the original of my Masters’ Thesis deposited in the Library should be accessible for purposes of study and research, in accordance with the normal conditions established by the Librarian for the care, loan and reproduction for theses.

Ho Chi Minh City, August, 2007

Signature

………………………………………

LE BICH THUY

I am greatly indebted to the lecturers.HCM City. HCM City for completing the survey questionnaires. Without Ms Dang Thi Huong.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First. Dang Thi Huong. PhD. my whole-hearted thesis supervisor. her thoughtful comments. for her enthusiastic guidance. Dean of The Faculty of Economics. I would not have finished my thesis. teaching staff and students at The Faculty of Economics and The National Institution of Politics. Vietnam National University. Charle Harmouy and their families who gave me great assistance in distributing and collecting the questionnaires for English native speakers. I also wish to thank Jack Bayfield. EdD. Sandra Jaye Smale. who has created favorable conditions and eased my workload so that I am able to attend the master program and finish my thesis. Ms. I am also grateful to Professor Nguyen Van Luan. . I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my thesis supervisor. her valuable support as well as her precious encouragement.

. Forty English native speakers and forty Vietnamese native speakes participated in answering the questionnaires. age and gender. without which I would hardly have been able to overcome difficulties to complete it. I would like to dedicate this thesis to my mother for her love and support. ABSTRACT The awareness of the interactional similarities and differences in issuing or declining invitations in cross-cultural contexts can contribute significantly to better competence of performing this speech act.Finally. This study has tried to investigate politeness in issuing English and Vietnamese spoken invitations under the effect of social status. Social status. Two questionnaires were delivered to both English native speakers and Vietnamese native speakers as an instrument for the research. age and gender also affected differently to the choice of strategies used by both groups of subjects. The results of the study showed that there were both similarities and differences in the selection of politeness strategies employed by English native speakers and Vietnamese native speakers in issuing spoken invitations.

ABBREVIATIONS AND SYMBOLS CID ENS F-T-F F-T-M HCMC NCID M-T-F M-T-M VNS Conventional indirectness English native speakers Female-to-female Female-to-male Ho Chi Minh City Non-conventional indirectness Male-to-female Male-to-male Vietnamese native speakers .Some pedagogical implications were suggested for the teachers of English on teaching spoken invitations to Vietnamese learners of English.

.52 4.VNU Vietnam National University LISTS OF CHARTS 4.………… 56 4.1 The proportion of total politeness strategies used to the invited of lower social status in situation 5…………………………………………………….……………….2 The proportion of total politeness strategies used to the invited of equal social status in situation 5……………………………………..54 4.5 The proportion of total politeness strategies made by ENS in comparing to those by VNS in situation 1 and 3…………….….6 The proportion of total politeness strategies made by ENS in comparing to those by VNS to the invited of the same gender in situations 2 and 4……………………………………………………………………………….63 4.…………….………….4 The proportion of total politeness strategies used by ENS in comparing to those by VNS in situations 1 and 3…………………………………60 4..………………….………….3 The proportion of total politeness strategies used to the invited of higher social status in situation 5……………………………………………….68 .

3 Possible strategies for doing FTAs………………………………………………………….11 2.7 The proportion of total politeness strategies made by ENS in comparing to those by VNS to the invited of the different gender in situations 2 and 4 ……………………………………………………………………….4.2 2..1 Components of communicative language ability in communicative language use…………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………71 LISTS OF FIGURES 2.20 Wolfson’s “bulge” model……………………………………………………………………………25 .

………….………………55 4. 4..3 Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of equal social status in situation 5……………….2..………………………53 4.4 Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of higher social status in situation 5……………………………………………57 .………………………49 4.1 The first group of subjects………………………………….43 The second group of subjects………………………………….……….1 3...…………….2 Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of lower social status in situation 5…………….………………………….………….………………………….…….LIST OF TABLES 3.44 The frequency of politeness strategies used by two groups of subjects ……………………………………………………………………….

8 Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of different gender in situations 2 and 4……………………………. In Vietnam. still face . However. 1. since the “open-door policy” was implemented in 1986 and the international relationship between Vietnam and other countries was developed. technology and international trade and chiefly as an international language among nations.5 Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of the same gender in situation 1 and 3……………………………………61 4.69 4.7 Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of the same gender in situations 2 and 4…………………………………. more and more Vietnamese people want to study English so that they can use it not only to access information and knowledge but also to communicate effectively in social interations. English is the main language of the world communication. It is used as a means to acquire access to the world’s intellectual and technical resources. in spite of having developed good linguistic competence. many Vietnamese learners of English. INTRODUCTION Background to the study At present.……72 CHAPTER 1.4. It is also used as a medium of politics. Nowadays.6 Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of different gender in situation 1 and 3……………………………………. science.1. English has become increasingly important.65 4.

1989: 31). They are not well aware of the fact that different languages express feelings. As a matter of fact. guiding language learners to interpret values and patterns which they would have . effectively and socially requires more than knowing its grammatical. cited in Wolfson. “Hi” “Good morning”. Due to the influence of the culture. According to Thomas (1983. etc. the hospitality and friendliness of the Vietnamese sometimes influence them to issue utterances: “You must go to our party.communication difficulties arising from the lack of sociolinguistic and communicative competence. the lack of knowledge on how to say. Furthermore. Therefore. a Vietnamese learner tends to say “Where are you going?” or “What are you doing here?’ as a sign of greeting in stead of saying”How are you?”. it is the language teachers who should take the responsibility of facilitating. obviously the ability of using a foreign language fluently. what to say and when to say can result in misunderstanding in cross-cultural communication or lead to wrong judgment such as: Vietnamese are curious and impolite people who just want to know other’s personal matter and to impose their minds on others. It is undeniable that whether the learners of English can gain communicative proficiency or not depends not only on their own efforts but also largely on their teachers. One of the typical examples is the act of greeting. Therefore. semantic rules or getting native-like pronunciation but also requires the learners’ certain knowledge of socio-cultural factors in the use of language. We really want you to come” or the like as invitations which are quite inappropriate in English speaking cultures. construct messages in different ways and each community has its own rules constraining speech behavior. they usually let their native language transfer inappropriately into the target language. “How have you been?” or just ”Hello”.

grammatical rules and pronunciation to the emphasis on communicative competence lately. the teaching of English has shifted from the focus on vocabulary. how and where to use various patterns of speech behavior is still in need and should receive more concern from the teachers. In addition. In Vietnam. further investigations on why. 1980. when. . there is a positive growing awareness of the need for socio-cultural knowledge in teaching and learning English from Vietnamese teachers of English. In social communication. the number of foreign language centres which claim to apply the communicative approach with the focus on social and communicative competence together with the provision of good teaching conditions has also mushroomed these days. Hopefully with the help of qualified Vietnamese teachers of English who can provide feedback to learners concerning the appropriate or inappropriate use of English. It is of great value to not only scholars with particular interests but also to foreign language teachers who aim at enabling their non-native learners to use target language in the most appropriate way. 1989: 31). Moreover. tactfully or in an elaborately polite manner”. cited in Wolfson. More and more course books which pay attention to the impact of socio-cultural factors on the issuing of English have been used in many educational institutions. what. in order to help the Vietnamese learners of English gain communicative proficiency. the Vietnamese learners will be in a position to communicate effectively with people of English speaking community.difficulty in interpreting as well as help them to “express themselves in exactly the way they choose to do – rudely. However. It is also the teachers who should endeavor to make their students aware of and sensitive to the sociolinguistic variables that play a role in different types of situational frames (Yorio. politeness is one of the aspects of culture which clearly influences the use of language.

interpret and response to invitations as one of the aspects to interact socially. Nowadays. has also been taken into consideration recently. Ceùsar (2003) presented a cross-cultural study of how American English and Latin American Spanish decline invitations. However. there have been some studies that took this field as a main subject. As a matter of fact. Frankly speaking. invitation has become a more essential and effective means of establishing. Because of the great significance of polite invitations in social interaction among nations where English is currently the major language and at the time when Vietnam is opening its door widely to the world for international integration.Politeness in its relation to speech acts in general and to directive speech acts in particular has long been a great concern of many linguistics and educators all over the world. accept and decline spoken invitation. Ñaëng (1992) investigated how speakers of Vietnamese and speakers of English issue. Invitation. as communication among people across cultures is increasing. the investigation of the impact of politeness on the production of spoken invitations across cultures is extremely necessary. making people well aware of the interactional similarities and differences in issuing or declining invitations in cross-cultural contexts can contribute significantly to better competence of performing this speech act. with the purpose of the improvement of communication and the elimination of misunderstandings relating to this speech behavior among cultures. Wolfson (1989) pointed out the need to have knowledge of how to give. there is a need to . It may happen daily in all communities. J. Edmondson and House (1881: 132) state that an invitation is a social activity and has a particular significance in social life. which is a kind of directive speech act. all cultures. maintaining social relationships with other people than ever before.

in order to help them avoid inappropriate transfer of Vietnamese cultural belief to English culture. I would like to focus my thesis on politeness in direct and indirect spoken invitations in Vietnamese and in English. age and gender. 2. The aims of the study are: 1. Moreover.2. To suggest some implications for teaching English spoken invitations to Vietnamese learners of English with a close attention to the effect of politeness. issuing invitations can also become one of the learners’ social activities once they graduate and access the world of bunisess people. To investigate the preference for and use of politeness strategies (indirect and direct) by English native speakers when issuing spoken invitations in relation to social status.investigate the politeness phenomenon in its relation to English spoken invitations in comparison to Vietnamese spoken invitations. I totally acknowledge the importance of politeness in business communication. . To investigate the preference for and use of politeness strategies (indirect and direct) by Vietnamese native speakers when issuing spoken invitations in relation to social status. As a teacher of English whose learners are majored in business. age and gender. and 3. 1. Therefore. The aims of the study This cross-cultural study will focus on politeness in issuing direct and indirect Vietnamese and English spoken invitations to see if there are any similarities and differences between them.

1. There are some major points that differentiate the two. The organization of the study The study is organized into five chapters. Distinction between spoken and written language Spoken language and written language are both forms of language but they exploit different features of the same system.3. Chapter Three deals with methodology employed in the study. Chapter Four consists of data analysis and discussion of the findings.1. This chapter has provided the background. Written and spoken language Conversation is a social activity in which language plays a decisive role. CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 2. Relevant literature reviews will be presented in the next chapter. the aims and organization of this study.1.1. It is thanks to language that differentiates human beings from animals. the aims and structure of the study. Chapter Five presents the conclusions and offers some recommendations for English teaching in Vietnam. This part will distinguish spoken language and written language but the main focus of the study lies on spoken language in general and spoken invitations in particular. Chapter One has introduced the background. Chapter Two presents the relevant literature review of the study. . 2.

By contrast. Speech is loosely structured grammatically and is lexically sparse. Speech is redundant. and coherent as possible because the writers will not be there to explain and defend it. The speakers tend to make frequent use of repetition. since written language does not have to make such demands on short term memory. unambiguous. No matter what differences may exist between speech and writing. The speakers often take turns in speaking and also have no permanent record of what they have said earlier. paraphrase and statement to help listeners comprehend and remember what they are saying. Writing. Meanwhile. e. is grammatically compact and lexically dense. the information conveyed in writing is hierarchically ordered within the clause structure. On the contrary. then…and then…). c. retrieved and recollected. written language can be stored. add languages as they go along (and…and. the written message should be as clear. speakers not only focus on their topic but also try to engage their listeners. d. b. Because of the presence of an audience and the need to keep the conversation going. it tends to avoid redundancy. by contrast. Meanwhile. scholars have mentioned the following characteristics of speech as distinguished from writing: a. The speakers may stick together elements from previous turns-at-talk.According to Cameron (2001). Speech is transient rather than permanent. they should not be regarded as two separate systems but as “a continuum with conversation . Speech tends to be people-centered and writing tends to be topic-centered. Speech is additive.

the knowledge of what to say. etc. people would have to be very careful in selecting what to say and how to say. baø. ñi aï. As a matter of fact. 1992: 27). coâ .2. when to say. less formality and politeness than the question structure “Can you open the door?” In spoken Vietnamese. in oral communication. Nowadays as the face to face communication across cultures is increasing. daï. different structures in the form of speech can convey different attitude. etc. the manner of speech is highly influenced by the use of particles which can help much to express politeness (a.) or interest (ñi maø. because of the transient characteristic of speech. Besides. how to say. naøo. English and Vietnamese spoken language Halliday (1985) finds that there are certain prosodic features which are accidental properties of a particular language. the need of effectively orally interaction becomes more urgent than ever before.at one end and formal writing at the other end with an overlap in the middle” (Ñaëng. In addition. ha. nhæ. Besides. social relation. etc. 2. chuù . etc. In spoken English. Thus. “different terms of address such as: oâng. etc. should become a habit or else they would have no time to think and choose the appropriate ones in conversation.1. nheù. are . kính. thöa. nhe. Those are partly the reasons why this study focuses on the spoken language.dì. the changes in intonation.) or solidarity (nha. baùc. etc. etc. formality. rhythm do affect to express utterance meanings. con.). the imperative structure “Open the door” can express the higher imposition. in order not to offend others by unintentional mistakes.

what’s communicative competence? 2. etc. educational background. social status.2. communicative competence involves not only the knowledge “about” language form but also the knowledge “of” what to say to whom and how to say it appropriately in any given situation. age. Communicative competence Everyday experience supports the view that communicative competence is one of the main factors determining how successful one can be in society. of participants. . communicative competence is the one that enables us to convey and interpret messages and to negotiate meanings interpersonally within specific contexts.frequently used to express politeness as well as to show different relationships and always appear in spoken situation” (Ñaëng. Generally speaking.1. we need to take these properties into account to have a better understanding about it. when investigating any spoken language. 2. In his opinion. speech behavior in both Vietnamese culture and English speaking societies is also greatly affected by social variables such as: gender. 1992: 30) In addition. According to Hymes (1972).2. So. Definitions Wofson (1989) points out that there is a need to acquire what Dell Hymes has called “communicative competence” to become an effective speaker of a new language.

Moreover. Bachman (1990: 85) considers Strategic Competence as an entirely separate element of communicative language ability which serves as an “executive” function of making the final “decision” among many possible options on wording. Bachman breaks Canale and Swain’s Sociolinguistic Competence into separate pragmatic categories: Illocutionary Competence (pertaining to sending and receiving intended meanings) and Sociolinguistic Competence (dealing with such considerations ad politeness.1 below. Discourse Competence. formality. metaphor. Bachman (1990: 79) modifies the model and builds “language competence” model in which he places grammatical and discourse competence under the term “organizational competence”.Extending this definition. Sociolinguistic Competence and Strategic Competence. register and culturally related aspects of language). Knowledge Structures (Knowledge of the world) Strategic Competence Language Competence (Knowledge of language) Psycho physiological Mechanisms Context of Situation . The components of communicative language ability suggested by Bachman (1990: 85) were presented in Figure 2. Then. Canale and Swain (1980: 112) identifies the construct of communicative competence made up from four subcategories: Grammatical Competence. In addition. phrasing and other production and receptive means for negotiating meaning.

1990: 85) Whatever definitions scholars may provide. they tend to judge each other’s behavior according to their own value systems” (Wolfson. 1989: 14). 1989: 14). 2. common questions from Asians on first encounters such as “How old are you?” or “Are you married?” or “How much do you earn each month” and the like are considered too personal and impolite by Westerners. some of the questions asked by Americans “Have you ever kissed your boyfriend?” or “Why don’t you drink?” or “Why don’t we share hands?” to Malaysians are regarded as absolutely inappropriate or taboo (Wolfson. As a result.Figure 2.1: Components of communicative language ability in communicative language use (Bachman. Sociolinguistics and the learning of English as a foreign language Language allows human beings to communicate with each other in a particular social cultural context. they accept the influence of sociolinguistics on the study of language in general and of speech in particular.2. languages are different from one another not only in areas as phonology. syntax and lexicon but also in “the norms and values which inform speakers’ knowledge as to what is appropriate to say. 1989: 26) because they normally do not drink or touch hands of people of opposite sex except when they are wearing . to whom and under which conditions” (Wolfson. Thus. Meanwhile. In other words. they all seem to agree on the need of social cultural knowledge of participants towards their own communication success.2. However. sociolinguistic rules are far from universal across cultural groups. “When people coming from different social cultural interact.

3. However. an utterance may perform three related kinds of acts: the locutionary acts of which the meaning can be totally taken from that of individual linguistic elements forming the utterance. one is normally doing something”. an inappropriate question or the failure to utter the customary apology. compliment or congratulation would receive less sympathy and tend to be interpreted as an intentional rudeness and hence be reacted negatively. Besides. requesting. etc. Native speakers seem to be more tolerant to foreigners who pronounce “man” into ”men”. According to Austin’s theory (1962). any questions regarding sex are absolutely taboo on the eyes of the Islamic religion. the learners of English also need sociocultural information on how to interpret and respond to different sociolinguistic behaviors of English native speakers such as: greeting. Speech acts Speech act theories originated in Austin’s observation (1962: 58) which states that in “saying something that has a certain sense and reference. It is obvious that to communicate effectively in the target language. inviting. intercultural misunderstanding is more likely to occur and cause more negative effect on communication than the one caused by mispronunciation or grammatical errors. In fact. the illocutionary acts through which the speakers express their intention to do something in such a way that the listener can recognize them as . 2.gloves. “want” into ”one” or “What do he do?” and the like. They tend to judge those errors as natural to the process of language learning and even find their own pleasure with those silly things.

etc). he strongly recommends that the study of speech acts . announce. While Searle classifies speech acts (illocutionary acts.). Geis (1995) introduces his Dynamic Speech Act Theory in which he argues that it is necessary to play emphasis on the social interaction nature of utterances and treat them as communications rather than merely focus on their linguistic nature. of intentions or desires to act or to cause others to act and of feelings. etc. etc. promise. commisives and acknowledgements) according to distinctions between the expression of beliefs. Commissives: commit the speaker to do something(e. 5. Expressives: express feelings and attitudes (e.). 3.g. of attitudes. etc. Bach and Harnish (1979) consider illocutionary acts as communicative actions and hence divide them into four classes (constatives. 2.g. Then.g. Representatives: state what the speaker believes to be the case or not (e. 4. name. directives.g. order. thank.well and the perlocutionary acts through which the utterance can produce certain consequential effects upon the feelings. request. in fact) into five categories. apologize.g. Declaratives: bring out changes in the world (e. threat. describe. Directives: try to get Hearer to do something (e.). etc. thoughts or actions of the audience. Searle (1969: 96) contributed to speech act theory by considering the purpose of an act from the speaker’s perspective and classifying speech acts (the term he preferred for Austin’s illocutionary acts) to five categories: 1. Similarly. assert.). report.

Direct and Indirect Speech Acts The distinction between direct and indirect speech acts plays an important part in speech act theory. we have an indirect speech act”. Thus. etc. question and command/request). “whenever there is a direct relationship between a structure and a function. or by using sentences of a type with which those acts are conventionally associated. . interrogative and imperative) with three general communicative functions (statement. Yule (1996: 54) claims that “types of speech acts can be made on the basis of structures” and that in English. Normally people do not unintentionally deliver indirect speech acts. and attitudes of participants. Austin (1962) argues that certain acts can be performed directly by using explicit performative verbs like: invite. Then. Similarly. 1996: 54-55). there are generally three structural forms (declarative. Therefore.should carefully take account of the affect of social features of context such as social relationships between participants. psychological states. in which utterances happen. Whenever there is an indirect relationship between a structure and a function. in his opinion (Yule.1. we have a direct speech act. request. Likewise. In general. Searle (1975) states that speakers can perform one illocutionary act implicitly by way of performing another illocutionary act explicitly. people have some reasons for being indirect.3. order. etc. the utterance “Could you turn on the lights?” which contains the illocutionary force of an assertion can be used to make a request. 2. we can directly use a declarative sentence to make an assertion or an imperative one to make a request.

Thomas (1995: 143) suggests a variety of reasons for the universal of indirectness including: the desire to make one’s language more/less interesting. Fukushima.Concerning why indirectness is used. 1996. Van Mulken. 2000. sentences or even whole texts with more or less interest. As another important reason for being indirect.1989. 1986. people construct indirect utterances for the pleasure of playing with language for the fact that indirectness can colour utterances. Blum-Kulka and Olshtain. The third reason for being indirect is the principle of expressibility in which people would use indirect speech acts when some ideas are too difficult to express. First of all.2. They are as follows: . Secondly. the principle of expressibility. Billmyer and Varghese. 2000). 1999.3. 1995. Thomas delineates politeness. This effect is accomplished through the greater “investment” that a hearer of an indirect uttered pronouncement has to afford concerning time and energy in order to understand what has been saying. Her article shows us that there are some circumstances in which we have to use indirectness in order to prevent hurting someone by directly stating something unpleasant or directly threatening his/her freedom of action. and politeness. Indirectness in requests There are generally three major levels of indirectness which are normally used in many cross-cultural interlingua studies of speech acts and had previously been empirically tested and successfully used by a number of researchers (BlumKulka et al. Hassall. Thomas explicates that indirectness can be used in order to strengthen our message. Trosborg. 2. the increase the force of one’s message. according to Thomas.

3... Expectation statement/ Question: “Are you/aren’t you going to tell me what happened between you and Peter?” j. Direct questions: c.3. Explicit performative: d.2. Pre-decided statement: “I’m helping myself to your cigarettes. there are eight sub strategies in this level. you haven’t paid me” Conventionally indirect strategies This conventionally indirect level covers strategies that realize the act by reference to contextual preconditions necessary for its performance.2. “Mike. Want statement: g. Reminded requests: 2. as conventionalized in a given language. The most direct strategies (Bald-on-record strategies) This most direct level is realized by requests syntactically marked (Imperatives) or by others verbal means that name the act as a request (Tell me. Need statement: “Where is the post office?” “I ask/order you to leave" “I would like/ want to ask you to leave” “You should/ ought to leave now” ”I’d like / want /wish you to clean up the floor” “You need to do that” h. Economidou-Kogetsidis: 2002: 23) . a.).1. Hedged performative: e. According to Blum-Kulka et al (1989: 18) and Economidou-Kogetsidis (2002: 23). Obligation statement: f. There are two sub strategies in this level (Blum-Kulka et al: 1989: 18. OK?’ i.2.2. Mood derivable/ Imperative: “Please look after the kids for a few hours” b.

2 of this study.2. Are you free to come?’. The sub strategies of this level suggested by ErvinTrip(1976: 28) and Economidou-Kogetsidis(2002: 23) are as follows: a. “Why not have lunch with us?” b. “Are you able to come to my party?’ b. . Mild hints: “Whose duty is it today?” This scale of indirectness is based on the transparency of the requestive force. Query preparatory: • Ability: “Can/could you pass the salt please?” • Possibility: “Would it be possible to lend me some money?” • Willingness: “Would you mind if I use your computer?” • Knowledge: “Do you know where Pizza Hut is?” 2. Suggestory formulae: “How about going out for dinner tonight?”. Non-conventionally indirect strategies This category includes strategies which are not conventionalized in the language and hence require more inferencing activity for the hearer to derive the speaker’s requestive intent. Strong hints: “The kitchen is in a mess” c.a. The issue of relationship between the scale of indirectness and the degree of politeness will be discussed later in part 2.3.4. the most direct requests are the ones in which requestive force is either marked syntactically or indicated explicitly due to the realization of performative verbs. As a result.3. Non-explicit question directives: “We’re having a party tonight.

Leech (1980: 19) defines politeness as “strategic conflict avoidance”. The first scale which specifies how much the proposed action is judged by the speaker to be of cost or benefit to the speaker. he presents a detailed analysis of politeness in terms of six maxims: Maxim of Tact. “Make the receiver feel good”.4. “Give options”. The first rule. Politeness 2. Lakoff (1977) attempts to account for politeness phenomenon. Maxim of Agreement. She suggests that “politeness is developed by society in order to reduce friction in personal interaction” (1975: 64) and comprises three rules of politeness: 1. Don’t impose. adding that it “can be measured in terms of the degree of effort put into the avoidance of a conflict situation”.2. accounts for the case in which the speaker employs devices which will make the addressee feel liked and wanted. The second that specifies to what extent the . and Maxim of Sympathy. the “optional” scale and the “indirectness” scale. The speaker shows his/her politeness by asking for permission or apologizing in advance to lessen the imposition on the hearer when requiring the hearer to do something. is associated with deference and accounts for cases in which the linguistic manifestations of politeness appear to leave the choice of confirming or not to the addressee. Maxim of Approbation. Maxim of Generosity. is associated with distance and formality. Then. Maxim of Modesty. “Don’t impose”. Give options and 3. 2. Make the receiver feel good. Similarly.1. Her third rule. The second rule. Theories of politeness Expanding Grice’s “Co-operative Principle” (1975). Leech’s concepts of politeness were based on the three scales: the cost/benefit scale.4.

or enhanced. According to Brown and Levinson (1978: 66). Without redressive action. they identify a set of strategies which can help either to avoid or minimize them. Meanwhile. “positive face” and “negative face”. and that can be lost. Following their theories. 1978: 70). baldly On record Do the FTA Off record Don’t do the FTA Figure 2. They distinguish two components of face. “face is something that emotionally invested. 1978: With redressive action Positive politeness Negative politeness . maintained. The last scale which specifies how much inference is involved in the proposed action.2: Possible strategies for doing FTAs (Brown and Levinson. and must be constantly attended to in interaction”. To deal with those acts. the central to Brown and Levinson’s theory of politeness is the concept of “Face” which is defined as “the public self-image that every member wants to claim for himself” (Brown and Levinson. “Negative face” refers to “The want of every competent adult member that his actions be unimpeded by others”. which are two related aspects of the same entity and refer to two basic desires or wants of any individual in any interaction.proposed action is at the choice of the addressee. in communication. 1978: 66). “Positive face” refers to “The want of every member that his wants be desirable to at least some others”. there is possibility of appearing some Face Threatening Acts (FTA) which are “by their nature run contrary to the face wants of the addressee and/ or of the speaker” (Brown and Levinson.

Although there are some ideas that indirectness and politeness are not the same (Kasper.e. Politeness and Indirectness According to Sifianou (1992). second. 1978: 107).. have argued that the degree of indirectness determines the degree of politeness to a great extent. to the use of giving options as well as to indirectness.In their opinion. 2. In general. politeness is thought to be personal strategies in communication. “convey that speaker and hearer are cooperators” and “fulfill hearer’s want for some X” (Brown and Levinson. Leech. In other words. most scholars have argued that overall. hedge. so individual’s freedom and independence is highly respected. basing on the investigation of English. some of which are: Be conventionally indirect. 1998. Holtgraves. The main reason for this argument reasonably originates from the concept of Western individualism. most scholars. Meanwhile.4. minimize the imposition. they assume that politeness closely relates to the limitation of imposition. Lakoff. etc.2. 1986). the principal of distance and nonimposition plays a crucial role in social interactions. Brown and Levinson share two things in common when concerning politeness phenomenon in speech: first. questions. It is widely accepted that most English speaking societies place a higher value on privacy and individuality (i. the negative aspect of face). positive face threatening acts should be adjusted by positive politeness strategies in which the speakers should “claim common ground”. to Western societies in general and to most English speaking societies in particular. in . negative face threatening acts should be solved by applying negative politeness strategies.

. especially in request. or belong to a kind of societies where people depend on each other more and therefore individuals are less emphasized than interdependent social relations. a number of cultures prefer a show of solidarity and sincerity by directly deliver them. However. In another study which examines the politeness perceptions of speakers of Israeli Hebrew. indirectness and politeness are closely related. While the scale of indirectness seems to be universal. the assertion between indirectness and politeness differ across cultures.e. advise and suggest structurally more directly than English because they see those acts as their duty to help and support each other without any idea about imposition or non-imposition. i. most of them probably correspond to positive politeness societies where indirectness will not necessarily be related to politeness. the positive aspect of face. In other words.a kind of directive speech acts. Contrary to most English societies where the display of non-imposition and concerns for distancing in speech acts are believed to help avoid face threatening acts and hence to be more polite. speakers from those mentioned cultures either seem to pay much attention to involvement and solidarity relation. Vuõ argues that indirectness with the concept of non-imposition is not necessarily politeness in Vietnamese culture. Sifianou (1992) has proved that Greeks request. Blum-Kulka (1987) finds that speakers of Hebrew favor directness rather than indirectness. Generally speaking. Indirect speech acts in relation to politeness phenomenon in Vietnamese have just received some attention lately with Vuõ’s article (1999) on “Indirectness and Politeness in Vietnamese requests”. Wierzbicka (1985) comes to a similar result with the speakers of Polish.English.

Besides. her data mainly taken from some pieces of conversations of nine families in Hanoi are not convincing enough. Therefore.4. Social variables affecting politeness This section discusses two factors affecting the choice of politeness strategies in delivering speech acts as suggested by Brown and Levinson which are Power and Social distance. speakers use different refusal strategies. Then.4. Hussein (1995) discusses making refusals in Arabic and maintains that in three levels of social status (equal and unequal). Likewise. Power J. As Robin Lakoff (1989) argued. 2. politeness and power are closely related.3. power or social status is “an .3.though her arguments are rather reasonable. Similarly.Ceùsar-Feùlix-Brasdefer (2003) in his study has proved that the social status (power) of participants did play a role in the selection of strategies employed in declining an invitation. Age and Gender which are also believed to cause more or less significant impact on language use in spoken interactions are also pointed out. 2. the purpose of the article which is to investigate the relationship between politeness and indirectness in Vietnamese requests is. the association of politeness and indirectness in Vietnamese culture should be investigated in concerning to a specific kind of speech acts and with a larger number of informants. too large and beyond the keen of so small an article. According to Brown and Levinson (1987: 77).1. the findings of Beebe at all (1990) reveal the interaction of power with the directness of refusals. in my opinion.

2. 2. the politeness strategies used is relatively predictable.3. participants are expected to adopt various politeness strategies in particular circumstances and to people at particular social distance. in situation where that difference is not clear like the relationship between close friends or between people of equal social status. As a result.4. a professor and a student or between people of higher and lower social status in general. societies”. the more polite the speaker would be. The more powerful the hearer is in relation to the speaker. the more redressive strategies will be used by the less powerful interactant. Brown and Levinson predict that the greater the power hierarchy distance. Leech (1983: 126) defines social distance as “a crucial factor determining politeness behavior which involves . if not all. Social distance Janet Holmes (1996: 12) points out that “the relative social distance between the speaker and the addressee(s) is one of the most basic factors determining appropriate levels of politeness behavior in most. Then. Likewise. Scollon and Scollon (1995) states that power refers to the vertical disparity between the participants in a hierarchical structure. Brown and Levinson (1987: 76) identify social distance as “a symmetric social dimension of similarity or difference… based on assessment of the frequency of interaction and the kind of material or non-material goods (including face) between speaker and hearer”. in situation where there is explicit hierarchical difference between participants like the relationship between a boss and an employee. Similarly.asymmetric social dimension of relative power involving the degree to which hearer can impose his/her own plans and self-evaluation (face) at the expense of the speaker’s plans and self-evaluation”.

she says. As a result.considering the roles people are taking in relation to one another in a particular situation”. 1996: 14) According to Janet Holmes (1996). because positive politeness generally involves emphasizing what people share. people who are neither in the category of complete strangers nor close and intimate friends receive a great deal of attention in the form of linguistically polite interactions. Wolfson’s ‘bulge’ model (1988: 32) suggests that: Generally we behave similarly with less explicit linguistic politeness to those at the two extremes of social distance that is to people we do not know at all and to intimates. it minimizes the distance between them.3: Wolfson’s “bulge” model (1988. “negative politeness strategies tend both to express distance and to emphasize power distinctions…Positive politeness . Linguistic politeness Strangers Friends Intimates Figure 2. cited in Holmes. Concerning social distance as a factor in accounting for differences in politeness behavior. Meanwhile. negative politeness emphasizes the social distance among people. On the other hand.

because they work together daily and know each other well. In fact. In no cases can the lower person call the higher by his/her first name. gender of participants other than power and distance. they may have relatively close distance and hence often use positive politeness strategies. However. “solidarity has largely won out over power”.strategies express solidarity and also emphasize equality between participants” (1996: 19). the power of the superior is always respected. as Holmes (1996: 19) points out. institutional position. In Vietnamese culture. In those cases. the terms of solidarity and power are mutually integrated. Because of the influence of Confucianism. gender and education. Since the use of softeners and hierarchical kinship terms of address which make people sound to be all members in the same big family. However. most Vietnamese are well aware of who is in higher position and who is in lower one. The power differences may arise from age. No matter how well participants know each other and whether they are in formal or informal context. Power and social distance affect differently to different cultures in determining appropriate linguistic behavior. The manager of a company and his/her staff are obviously quite different in power (social status). Same situation happens between a professor and her/his students at university. They may call each other by their first names only and may more frequently use direct speech in interactions. politeness usage will be determined by factors like the formality of context. appropriate terms of address together with suitable softeners . In no circumstances can the status of the participants be challenged. In most Western societies nowadays. Vietnamese people balance the need of power realization and the need of solidarity. etc. in which age factor plays a rather crucial role. solidarity factor is also taken into account in Vietnamese spoken interactions.

They “see the world as a hierarchy in which any individual may be one-up or one-down” and the interactive task they set themselves is to gain. 1975). their speech shows a tendency to seek independencies and focus on hierarchical relationship (Chodorou. Coates. 2. I would like to focus on power. Meanwhile. Generally. not its uniqueness in talking. Deborah Tannen (1990) claims that women and men have different linguistic styles and communication goals. 1982). They seek involvement and focus on interdependencies between people. so they are likely to insist on the commonality of their experience. Gender Nowadays it is widely accepted that women and men talk differently (Thorne and Henley.3. it seems that distance does not influence as much on the choice of appropriate polite linguistic behaviors in Vietnamese culture as power. assert or maintain status. Thorne. age and gender of participants. 1975. 1974. Kramarea and Henley. Graddol and Swann. Women’s speech tends to be cooperative in character in that women acknowledge one another’s contributions and engage in more active listening.3. . Gilligan. 1983. 1995. because of the fact that people usually just issue spoken invitations to whom they somehow know well and not in too formal context. What women value is connection. 1986. Mills. age and gender of participants in this study. As a result. Lakoff.4. intimacy and solidarity. Moreover. 1989. men’s conversations are less social and more individualistic and aim at controlling the flow of talk.or particles at the end of the utterances can shorten the social distance between participants but help maintain their power (social status) at the same time.

In Vietnamese culture. Besides. it is believed that straightforwardness is one of the most typical qualities for men while women usually prefer “beating about the bush”. Holmes (1996: 115) states that because they are more sensitive to the positive face needs of intimates and friends. in public. In other words. which is a sign of the stylistic variation in language use between females and males. if there is any between males and females in English and Vietnamese cultures. admired and ratified (positive politeness). Gender differences in language use seem to be universal.Concerning the differences of gender politeness in speech. being well aware of the fact that what they say may threaten face of other people. However. etc. women are much more likely than men to express positive politeness or friendliness in private interactions. the question of how gender as a social variable affects the choice of making indirect or direct spoken invitations in . there are obviously many empirical evidences for gender differences in other aspects of Vietnamese language use such as lexical variation. Women’s utterances show evidence of concern for the feelings of the people they are talking to more explicitly than men’s do. cultural and historical factors which govern the reciprocal social status between women and men as well as different social expectations on them and so on. under the influence of social. Similarly. The difference. intonation contours. voice quality. like in most English speaking societies. McKay and Hornberger (1996: 251) suggest that men are more likely to be polite in a way that honors the wishes of others not to be imposed upon (negative politeness) rather than polite in a way that recognizes the desire of others to be liked. will partly reflect their opinions on politeness in issuing spoken invitations. women tend to use the extremes of negative politeness more frequently than men do.

To them. speech behavior of Asian people is considered to be highly deference. when talking to older addressees. age is also a social variable which influences significantly and differently to human behavior in different cultures.English and Vietnamese is still under the need of investigation for the purpose of the study and will be discussed later in chapter 4. A person would be respected for . elderly people are often given the right to decide important things within the family. age obviously has a significant impact on speech behavior in social communication.4. it seems that English native speakers do not take age factor into great consideration. Meanwhile. As a result. As a matter of fact. Westerners tend to demand more information and interaction before showing their respect to someone. the older a person is the more respect (s)he would receive from the young people. age is just as important as other social factors. the age of addressees is not considered to be the factor that automatically decides the amount of respect. When a person gets older.4. 2. Vietnamese people always try to know the age of interlocutors to choose the appropriate terms of address for polite purpose. (s)he is believed to become wiser. Conversational style and politeness strategy of Vietnamese people to people of various age levels is quite different. Asian cultures in general emphasize the importance of age related to respect and the amount of wisdom a person has.3. That explains the reason why Vietnamese often have the habit of asking the age of any people they communicate. which normally irritates many Westerners. Age Apart from gender and social status. Though they do respect elderly people. So. Besides.

more subtly. permit. entreat and also invite. ‘request’ but. Therefore. . The nature of invitations An invitation is an ask for another’s time and action and very often for a closer social relationship. 2. as Coulthard(1995: 24) says: Directives are all attempts by the speaker to get hearer to do somethingin this class the speaker is wanting to achieve a future situation in which the world will match his words and thus this class includes not simply ’order’. Therefore. ‘invite’. advise”.5. It is the inviter’s effort to get the invited to joint with her/him in a specific event. Searle(1990a: 359-360) in his explanation of directives also claims that directives “may be very modest attempts as when I invite you to do it or suggest that you do it” and that “the verbs denoting memebers of this class are “ask. command.1. pray.5. The choice of politeness strategies in issuing spoken invitations is differently affected by age factor in English speaking cultures and in Vietnamese culture. we cannot help taking the age of participants into account so that the topic investigated would be fully understood. the act of inviting is a kind of directives. ‘dare’ and ‘challenge’. request. plead. Invitations 2. beg. less deference and control is given to elderly people in the majority of those cultures in comparison to most Asian cultures.his own values not because of his age. Similarly. The differences between Western and Asian ideas about age will surely trouble Vietnamese learners of English. Therefore.

as the nature of issuing an invitation is. invitations are more likely to threat the hearer’s positive face than requests. 1983: 106). In other words. like requests. besides threatening the negative face of the hearer. more or less. However. First. It is argued by Geis (1995) that invitations constitute face respecting acts rather than face threatening acts. they are also much similar to requests in the way that the speaker acts out of a desire/ wish to cause the hearer perform an action and the hearer is indeed able to perform that action.Not only do invitations belong to the category of directives but more specifically. if one wants to reject a request to take care of someone’s cats. they are both “intrinsically face threatening activities” (Brown and Levinson. For example. 1978: 70) even though the act of inviting involves benefits to the hearer and costs the speaker in some ways. invitations and requests are not totally alike. the imposition of the speaker’s desire on the hearer to perform the suggested action. . in an invitation. According to Geis (1995). the speaker proposes that the hearer do something with him/her rather than for him/her. They threaten the negative face of the addressee and therefore “comprise a category of inherently impolite acts in which negative politeness is essential” (Leech. It is possible to reject a request because one is unwilling to perform the action without necessarily threatening the addressee’s positive face. he may say that he hates cats. invitations “imply intrusion on the hearer’s territory and limit his freedom of action” (Brown and Levinson. However. not the requester himself. invitations pay respect to the hearer’s positive face. in my opinion. Second. They differ from each other in at least two specific ways. This may be an insult to the requester’s cats. He reasons that because the hearer commonly expresses appreciation for invitations no matter how personally they feel about the prospects of spending time with the speaker. 1978: 70).

Therefore. As a result. Besides. . Edmondson and House (1981: 132) when considering the characteristics of the invitation suggested that: The invite…has therefore the following characteristics: A wishes B to know that he is in favor of a future action to be performed by B. it is impossible for us to totally apply the results of similar investigations on requests. invitations and requests belong to the same category of speech act (directives) and share somehow similar characteristics. He also believes however that the cost involved will be outweighed for himself by the social benefits consequent to B’s doing that future action.Geis (1995) argues. To sum up. As a result. invitations can also be classified as a kind of commisives. which he believes may involve costs to himself and benefits to B. an invite can be defined as “S requests (directive) H’s presence and promises acceptance of his presence”. in order to have better understanding about the preference for using indirect or direct politeness strategies in issuing spoken invitations. it is very difficult to turn down an invitation because one is unwilling to accept it without threatening the addressee’s positive face for the action he’s rejecting involves being with the inviter. In addition. However. invitations also include promises. according to Bach and Harnish (ibid: 51). some significant achievements gained from researches on requests which have largely been accepted by most scholars such as the scale of indirectness-directness in requests can be used as one of the foundations for our investigations. invitations can be considered as both a kind of directives and commisives. Therefore.

Written invitations are usually sent in special events like weddings. workshops or the anniversary of an organization. the invitation would be more likely to be considered insincere or not important. it would take the sender some sort of time before getting the exact feedback from the receiver.. In those events. In the scope . spoken invitations have outgrown written ones for the fact that they are more direct. due to the characteristics of those cases. Normally spoken invitations are made face-to-face or by telephone. especially in personal cases such as invitations to a house warming party or to a wedding party. It is not flexible and usually very formal. written invitations are more usually sent by mails or email than by directly face-to face delivery. which are normally formally organized. Invitations may be issued in written or spoken forms. the language written is always well-chosen and follows some fixed conventional styles. to maintain existing relationship or to build new relationship and the extending of invitations is a principal means of accomplishing this. a Vietnamese written invitation is more frequently delivered directly from the sender to the receiver accompanying with a spoken one. more immediate in getting feedback and they can be issued more flexibly thanks to the combination with more or less friendly. if the inviter truly wants the invited to join with her/him. etc.2. Nowadays. Without a word from the sender. (s)he will give the written invitation directly to the hand of the invited together with a spoken invitation. Otherwise. In Western societies. Written and spoken invitations A social arrangement of some sort or another needs to be made somehow to express solidarity.2. in most daily occasions. (s)he can send it by post but has to invite orally by telephone in advance. Meanwhile. Besides. Obviously. solidarity attitude from the speakers according to different contexts.5.

69) . in dealing with invitations as a social activity. long weekends. birthday party. etc. 5/ To mark anniversaris: wedding.5. etc. 2. arrival of new baby.5.3. 4/ To show respect to elders and teachers. Meanwhile. etc. 2. 2/ To show hospitality and kindness at great events: public holidays. She points out that self. people may have to face some possible problems of: self-invitation.of this study. I would like to focus on spoken invitations issued by native English speakers in comparison to those made by native Vietnamese speakers. there are some similarities between English speaking cultures and Vietnamese culture as the following: 1/ To socialize : To enjoy the company of one’s friends. 3/ To share happiness: promotion. pseudo-invitation. and 6/ To repay favors and show gratidtude. pseudo-invitations are very Ñaëng (1992: 59. traditional death anniversaries. New Year. Problems with invitations According to Ñaëng (1992). to introduce strangers to each other. non-invitation and “who pays”.. to go out for fun.4. Reasons for making invitations Concerning the reasons why invitations are made. house-warming..invitations such as “Could I drop by to see you tonight?” or “Do you mind if I come…?” do occur in English but very rarely and only in a very informal situation between familiars for the purpose of expressing intimacy.

1992) . The structure of English and Vietnamese spoken invitations Normally. Ñaëng’s study (1992) shows that in Vietnamese culture there is the existence of non-invitations which merely act as a greeting or a show of interest but have nothing to do with inviting whereas there is none of this kind in English. 2. “who pays” can possibly be a real problem to language learners in cross-cultural communication.common both in English and in Vietnamese. In addition. Ñaëng. non-invitations and of “who pays”. in order to have a better and clearer look at the topic. However. I would like to focus on analyzing the real unambiguous invitations without paying any attention to problems of self invitations. Consequently. Vietnamese learners of English sometimes do confuse between a real English invitation and a pseudo one like in the case of “Let’s get together for lunch sometimes “.5. 1981. In general. 1989.They tend not to realize that the speaker just intends to express his interest in continuing the relationship without making any definite commitment for a future meeting. their effort in negotiation for the exact time and place for lunch usually would make the English native speakers confused and uncomfortable. Wolfson. though they can skillfully deal with pseudo-invitations in their native language. Besides. considering all of these problems in this study would be beyond my keen. However. the response including positive response (satisfy) or negative response (contra) (Edmondson & House.5. further investigations on problems with spoken invitations would be very exciting and useful for both language teachers and language learners. the invitation (the head act). Therefore. pseudo-invitations. the exchange structure of an unambiguous spoken invitation consists of various moves: the lead (pre-invites).

According to Wolfson (1989). The first type functions to establish the availability of the addressee by questions which is meant to elicit the desired information such as “Are you doing anything on Saturday night?”. X. we’re gonna have to get together for lunch one of these days”.1.5. 1992: 38) They can be less tentative like in the case of: . The second type of lead is intended to convey the feelings of speakers without any specific commitment. The structure of English spoken invitations English people usually preface the head act of an invitation by the lead (preinvite). It is the question or comment which signals the adressee that an invitation will follow if (s)he makes the appropriate responses. leads are functionally classified into three types. Then.5. “What’s your schedule tomorrow?” or” Do you have any plans for the weekend?”. The final type is related to some shared knowledge of a past attempt to negotiate a social arrangement by the participants in the interaction or by someone closely associated who is not present at the moment of speaking:”Did we decide on anything specific?” or “Are we going to have lunch still?”. normally the invitation itself will follow the lead though the invitations may occur without leads.2. The head acts (the invitations themselves) can be tentative expressions as follows: Would you be free to go to a play with me this weekend? I was wondering if you would like to come round for a meal next Friday? … (Ñaëng. They are utterances such as “I’d really love/like to make a date with you to have lunch and talk things over” or “It’s really horrible that we never see each other” or “You know.

thank you. please come and join us)” or “Chuû nhaät tôùi laø sinh nhaät mình./ Thank you. 1992: 40) In the case when the declining (contra) happens. . the addressee will be likely to use a number of different expressions such as : That’s very kind of you ./ … (Ñaëng.K. 1992: 38) If the invitation is accepted (the satisfy). môøi baïn tôùi chôi (Next Sunday will be my birthday.5.5. tôùi cho vui nheù (tomorrow we will have a party at home.- I would like to invite you to join our dinner this Saturday evening? Why don’t you go with us for a movie this afternoon? How about dinner tonight? (Ñaëng. thank you.2. I would like to invite you to come and join us)” and the like. but… I’m terribly sorry. but… I’d love to/delighted to. 1992: 45) 2. Frequently they would indicate the reason for the invite by expressions as “Toái mai nhaø mình coù lieân hoan. What time?/ O. I’d love to/ That would be great/ Yes. expresions such as the following seem common: How kind of you to think of me. but… (Ñaëng. The structure of Vietnamese spoken invitations The conclusions from Ñaëng’s study (1992) show that it is uncommon for Vietnamese to clear the ground move as “Are you free next Sunday morning (Saùng Chuû nhaät tôùi baïn coù raûnh khoâng?)” and the like before isuing the real invitation.

as Ñaëng (1992) points out.Then. Vietnamese responses to spoken invitations can be accepting or declining. Type 2: Xin môøi / Kính môøi/ Môøi+ oâng/anh/ chò/ baø…+ noäi dung môøi Speaker 2+ the action to be (Polite marker)+ Performative verb “invite”+ invited For example: “Xin môøi / Kính môøi/ Môøi baùc ñeán döï tieäc vôùi gia ñình toâi” (I would like to invite you to come and join our party) Type 2: Speaker 1+ Xin môøi / Kính môøi/ Môøi+ oâng/anh/ chò/ baø…+ noäi dung môøi Speaker 1 +(Polite marker)+ Performative verb “invite”+ Speaker 2+ the action to be invited For example: “ Em xin môøi anh duøng theâm côm “ (I + polite marker+ invite you to have more rice) Similarly to that in English. the structure of the Vietnamese head act in invitations may be one of the following types: Type 1: Xin môøi / Môøi+ oâng/anh/ chò/ baø… (Polite marker)+ Performative verb “invite” + Speaker 2 This type is used in very common context when the action to be invited is stated in advance. The most common accepting expressions are as follows: . according to Taï (2004). For example: Speaker 1: (gives a packet of cigarettes to speaker 2 ) : Môøi anh.

Em coù heïn vôùi coâ em vaøo ngaøy ñoù maát roài (Oh!…Sorry!. I’ll come ) Theá naøo mình cuõng tôùi (I’ll certainly come) (Ñaëng. 2003. con seõ tôùi (Yes. . because it is uneasy at all to refuse an invitation without hurting the inviter’s feeling. gender and social status of participants. there have been so far many researches which took the leads of invitations and responses to them in relation to politeness strategies as their major subjects (J. the act of declining an invitation in Vietnamese also takes time and energy with expressions like: Oâi…(hesitation)…tieác quaù! Phaûi chi em bieát sôùm. 1987).- Daï/ vaâng aï. selection of subjects as well as instruments will be discussed in the next chapter. 1992: 62-65) Frankly speaking. 1992: 57) Meanwhile. I would like to merely focus on the head moves of invitations in relation to politeness concept under the influence of age. This chapter has provided the theoretical framework to the study. in this study. The description of method of data collection. Hironi Kinjo. Therefore..Cesaùr Feùlix-Brasderfer..If I’d known a bit earlier…I’ve an appointment with my teacher that day) … (Ñaëng.

CHAPTER 3.

METHODOLOGY

This chapter describes the methodology employed in the study. It consists of the presentation of the research questions, the research design, the description of the subjects and the data collection procedure.

3.1.

Research questions

This cross-cultural study focuses on the similarities and differences between Vietnamese and English spoken invitations under the impact of politeness. The implications for better teaching English spoken invitations to Vietnamese learners of English are the objectives of the study. Therefore, in order to successfully gain those aims, the following research questions were designed: 1/ Which politeness strategies (direct or indirect) do English native speakers prefer to apply when issuing English spoken invitations? 2/ How is the choice of direct and indirect English spoken invitations influenced by the three essential factors: social status, age and gender? 3/ Which politeness strategies (direct or indirect) do Vietnamese native speakers prefer to apply when issuing Vietnamese spoken invitations?

4/ How is the choice of direct and indirect Vietnamese spoken invitations influenced by social status, age and gender ?

3.2.

Research design

Because the nature of the study is to describe and investigate the influence of politeness on the issue of spoken invitations in order to suggest pedagogical techniques, the qualitative methodology is the main focus of the research. Data was collected through two similar sets of questionnaires. They were used as the main source of data collection in this study for four reasons: First, the use of questionnaires allows investigators to collect a considerable amount of data about the speech forms considered appropriate by social members within a relatively short time. Second, this type of data collection permits the researchers to control for “specific variables of the situation, thus giving coherence to the findings which may be difficult to achieve otherwise” (Wolfson: 1989: 70). Third, by using the same situations for both English native speakers and Vietnamese native speakers as respondents, I could directly compare the strategies used by both groups of subjects to determine similarities and differences. Furthermore, according to Ñaëng (1992: 46), with questionnaires, “fear and embarrassment of direct contact with the researcher can be avoided and guaranteed confidentiality may elicit more truthful responses than in a personal interview”. Obviously, the use of questionnaires as method of data collection is sometimes a problem. Wolfson (1989: 70) points out that “writing an answer permits more time to plan and evaluate it than one normally has while participating in an outgoing interaction”. Therefore, what people claim they say in a given situation may not be necessarily what they actually say in a real situation.

I acknowledge that this type of data collection cannot elicit data that provide the full range of insights into the speech phenomenon under investigation. However, comparing to naturalistic data collection such as role plays, interviews, observations, etc. suggested by Wolfson (1981; 1982) and others (Hymes: 1962; Wolfson et al: 1989), this type has the advantages of less time consuming, of controlling social variables and can help avoid the problems of note-taking that relies on the researchers’ memory as well as avoid matters of legal and ethical issues recording in naturalistic situations (Hinkel: 1997). Moreover, as Rose and Ono (1995: 207) says “we should not expect a single source to provide all the necessary insights into speech act usage”, I perceive that though this method of eliciting data underlies limitations, it does provide appropriate responses which can help answer the research questions of the study. In addition, I do believe that my informal talks to some foreigners whom I met and to my colleagues would more or less contribute to the findings and give reliable answers to the research questions. The data was, then, coded and analyzed with the help of quantitative techniques which aimed at a full analysis of the descriptive data related to the answers to the research questions. They are analyzed according to the scale of indirectness and directness to investigate the preference for and use of politeness strategies (indirect and direct) by English native speakers (ENS) and Vietnamese native speakers (VNS) when issuing spoken invitations under the influence of social status, age and gender of subjects. To sum up, the study would be the combination of both the qualitative and the quantitative method.

1. 6 had master’s degree and 1 had PhD’s degree. Sydney. 3. The second group included 40 VNS. medical treatment. All of the subjects were selected intentionally with the purpose of investigating the following factors: social status. HCM City for a short time. 6 were staffs and professors at the same university. 1 was American. 1 were foreign teachers of English at Duong Minh foreign language centre. business. age and gender which may have some influence on their speech behaviour. The first group consisted of 40 ENS. The characteristics of the subjects Two groups of subjects took part in the study. Concerning educational background of the subjects. in Sydney and London. and the rest was Australians. etc. Ho Chi Minh Branch (located in District 9.3. The nationality of the subjects also varied: 17 of them were English.3. 7 were tourists from English speaking countries who stayed in Pham Nguõ Laõo Street. 9 worked in business. 20 were female and 20 were male.3. all of them graduated from high school. . 8 were Canadians. Kensington. 9 were students at the University of New South Wales. 3 were New Zealanders. Australia. HCM City. HCM City). and 8 participants just graduated from high school and worked as volunteer teachers of GAP program from February 2005 to December 2006 at The University of Transportation. The first group of subjects The age range of the ENS was from 18 to 60 years old. 15 had bachelors’ degree. Among this group of subjects.

15 had bachelors’ degree and worked as staffs at the Faculty of Economics. The second group of subjects Number 19 10 7 4 20 20 18 15 6 1 Percentage 47. HCM Branch. VNU or at the National Political Institution. Vietnamese subjects’ age range was from 20 to 60.2. 10 participants were third year students at the Faculty of Economics.The information about the ENS subjects was presented in Table 3. 13 had masters’ degree .5% 25% 17. .1.5% 15% 2. 20 of them were female and the rest was male.5% 10% 50% 50% 45% 37. They were lecturers at the same two educational institutions.5% Age range Gender Education Meanwhile. Characteristics of the subjects 18-29 30-39 40-49 Over 50 Female Male High school completion Bachelor Master PhD Table 3. 2 had PhD‘s degree.3. VNU.1: The first group of subjects 3.

Characteristics of the subjects 18-29 30-39 40-49 Over 50 Female Male High school completion Bachelor Master PhD Number 23 9 6 2 20 20 10 15 13 2 Percentage 57.2. The second part of the questionnaire consisted of five situations . 2: The second group of subjects 3.5% 32. The first part of the questionnaire was conducted to obtain the subjects’ personal information such as their educational background. Instruments Description of the questionnaires Two similar questionnaires containing five situations that ask for spoken invitations were organized into two parts. 3.4. gender and status which all have significant impact on their choice of politeness strategies when issuing spoken invitations in given situations.The information about the VNS subjects was presented in Table 3.1.5% 22.4.5% 45% Age range Gender Education Table 3.5% 15% 5% 50% 50% 25% 37. age.

The five situations were formulated as follows: Situation 1: inviting someone to a party made to celebrate the completion of the inviter’ master degree. Concerning the appropriateness of situations.together with a number of discourse completion questions to collect data for the study. Situation 5: inviting someone to join the inviter’s promotion party. Situation 2: inviting someone to have more food during the meal. I could say that: firstly. both ENS and VNS often issue spoken invitations for showing hospitality. Similarly. which is to investigate common spoken invitations (See Appendix 1 and 2 for more detail). celebrating special events or of socializing themselves. There are six discourse completion questions in each situation. to consider the impact of gender and age of participants on the inviter’s decision whether to choose this or that politeness strategies in making spoken invitations. because all subjects are intentionally chosen for their relatively high educational background. In general. Situation 4: inviting someone to dine out. secondly. Situation 3: inviting someone to join the inviter’s house warming party. two situations (Situation 2 and 4) were . following the result of the investigation on invitations done by Ñaëng (1992: 52). the five given situations can be considered to be much likely to happen and familiar to them. Each situation of the questionnaire was designed to serve a certain purpose. Situations 1 and 3 are to investigate the effect of gender and social status of participants when issuing spoken invitations. five given situations are appropriate for the purpose of the study.

The process of getting data from English native speaker subjects had some difficulties. the number of questions would be 18. Data collection procedure It is not difficult for me to collect data from Vietnamese subjects because all of them are willing to help.given with six discourse completion questions in each.2. It took me more than two months to get only 14 questionnaires . I had to spend time and effort to explain how to complete the questionnaires to my third year students. neighbors. However. a sample of 30 subjects involved to investigate a phenomenon is large and idealistic enough to come to a conclusion about that phenomenon. because these subjects are my colleagues. Therefore. which would trouble subjects a lot and may lead to inaccurate data. The result is that six of them let some questions unanswered. students. some of them got confused. I had to ask for help from another group of students to get all the needed data. 3. close friends who are willing to help with the data collection. As a result. according to the theory of statistics. Moreover. I just look at one situation (situation 5). Besides. In general. Although they were very eager to help their teacher. their answers were very clear and reliable. I do believe that the sample of 40 subjects may provide significant data. the collected data are therefore reliable and appropriate to serve for the purpose of the study. I would consider it one of the limitations of the study. The combination of three levels of age and three levels of social status would form 9 discourse completion questions for the subjects to answer. Therefore.4. because most of them are working for educational institutions. If there were two situations for this case. when taking the effect of Age and Social status into consideration.

The teachers and staff who have at least B. I could not do this quickly without the accompany of an Australian female student who was the English volunteer teacher of the University of Transportation near my house. Then. or at National Politic Institution. degrees and are teaching or working at the Faculty of Economics.5. most foreigners whom I met were very friendly and willing to help me. Without this precious help. Fortunately. friends. making friends with foreigners and asked them for help. they sent them to me by post and email. neighbours. colleagues.who are volunteer teachers at Ho Chi Minh Branch of The University of Transportation. 3. I spent my time in Phaïm Nguõ Laõo Street (it is named “Foreign Town” in many guide books for foreign tourists) in Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City (located in District 9) as well as my third year students who are . The rest of the questionnaires that I got were from Sydney and London by both email and post. university professors and staff as well as to the members of their family and even to their neighbors when they came back home after spending their time in Vietnam. etc. Three other Australians and one Londoner who used to work as volunteer English teacher at the same university delivered them to their classmates.answered. VNU. Ha Noi (located in District 9. HCM City) with the assistance of their family members. I could not get the essential data for the study. professors at university. Some of them did refuse for some reasons. Obviously. Assumptions The study was based on the following assumptions: The major sample population involved to investigate politeness phenomenon in Englsih spoken invitations is my foreign friends – Australian and English students.A. who are all English native speakers and are willing to help.

constitute another crucial sample population. neighbors. the collected data are reliable and appropriate. VNU.studying at the Faculty of Economics. close friends. my colleagues. classmates and professors at the university of my foreign friends. Therefore. This chapter has presented the methodology employed in the study. students. All informants are my teachers. Those people are willing to help and have educational background. . close friends as well as their family members. The next chapter will report the results of data analysis and the discussion of the findings.

4. and the influence of interlocutors’ status. age and gender on strategies used across cultures.1.1. I examined the overall use and preference for politeness strategies between two groups of subjects including status. The preference of strategy use between groups: Overall results . age and gender on strategies used. Data analysis In order to answer the research questions. to account for the effect of interlocutors’ status. Each head act of invitations made by subjects in given situations was coded and analyzed to compare the average frequencies of direct and indirect strategies across cultures. CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS This chapter presents the results of the study regarding the preference for and the use of politeness strategies (direct or indirect) by both ENS and VNS on issuing spoken invitations. the preference for these strategies in each situation was analyzed.CHAPTER 4. Then.1. age and gender. The findings are analyzed and discussed to find out answers to the research questions raised in the previous chapter. I also used the scale of directness-indirectness described in chapter Three as the model for cross-linguistic analysis of inviting strategies. 4.

076 100 n 282 814 216 8 1320 ENS % 21.Come to a party of mine on Saturday (Sit 1.As mentioned in the preceding chapter. these results indicate that the Vietnamese respondents are more direct in making spoken invitations than their English counterparts.Have some more (Sit 2.1 shows.09 12.conventional Indirect No invitation Total 1110 162 47 1 1320 VNS % 84.indirectness in English spoken invitations are: • Direct: . 33 discourse completion questions of 5 given situations answered by 40 subjects per group totaled 1320 strategies.364 0. The proportion of conventional indirectness in English is 61. As Table 4.364 61. the number of participants who chose not to issue FTA in English also outnumbered in Vietnamese.364% in English and 84.364%) than VNS did (only 3.667% in comparison to only 12.94 3. ENS gave more hints (16. Generally.) .606 100 Table 4.61%) in given situations of issuing spoken invitations. Strategies n Direct Conventional Indirect Non.1) . direct inviting strategies constitute 21. 40 questionnaire responses by 40 ENS and 40 VNS were collected. Besides. Furthermore.3.1: The frequency of politeness strategies used by two groups of subjects Typical examples of the three levels of directness.61 0.94% in Vietnamese.09% in Vietnamese.667 16.

5.Ñöøng khaùch saùo nheù (Sit 2) .5) .Would you like some more?(Sit 2) . (Sit 4) • Non-conventional indirect: .Sao baùc duøng ít theá aï? Meï chaùu seõ buoàn ñaáy aï (Sit 2) . and 4) .Nhôù ñeán döï tieäc taân gia ñaáy (Sit 3.I’m having a party. 3. Sit 3)… • Conventional indirect: .Môøi baùc duøng theâm (Sit 2.6) .That boy would join my party.Everybody would come to my party (Sit 1. 5) . 5)… The following examples are typical for the three levels of directnessindirectness in Vietnamese: • Direct .I would like to invite you to my party (Sit 1.Let’s go out for dinner. 3.. (Sit 1.3. 3. 3.3) . 5) .1.Would you like to come over…? (Sit 1.4) • Conventional indirect . You have to be there (Sit 1.Em coù theå môøi anh ñeán döï tieäc ñöôïc khoâng aï?( (Sit 1.Anh Cöôøng toái nay ñi duøng côm vôùi em ñöôïc khoâng anh? (Sit 5) • Non-conventional indirect: . 5)… .Party at mine! Won’t be fun without you (Sit 1.1) .Can I offer you some more? (Sit 2) . (Sit 5) .Môøi Hoaøng ñeán nhaø döï tieäc cuøng mình (Sit 1.Loan aên theâm nöõa khoâng? (Sit 2.You should come over for my housewarming party.

To be polite in speech. If there were two situations for this case.1.2. 4. The inviter were in the same social status and at the same age as the invited. The inviter were in lower status and younger than the invited.4. . in this part. Therefore. It was to investigate what kind of politeness strategies was employed if 1. age and gender Social status. gender and age) to find out the impact of each pair on the selection of strategies employed by both groups of subjects. The inviter were in lower status than and at the same age as the invited. Social status and age The effect of social status and age on spoken invitations issued was investigated with situation 5 in the questionnaire. gender and age of both the inviter and the invited may affect significantly to the choice of politeness strategies employed by ENS and VNS when issuing spoken invitations. The inviter were in the same social status as and older than the invited. The combination of age and social status would form 9 discourse completion questions. 3. the three social variables were analyzed in pairs (social status and age.1. Each question in the situation was designed to serve a certain purpose. 4. 2. participants always take account for these factors before making any utterances. which would be too many for subjects to answer and hence may lead to inaccurate data. They not only influence strategy used but also affect each other in speech. 5. social status and gender.1. the number of questions would be 18.2. The inviter were in lower status and older than the invited. Preference for and use of politeness strategies in relation to social status.

the majority of spoken invitations used by ENS was in conventional indirect forms when the invited was in lower status. Meanwhile. The inviter were in higher social status than and at the same age as the invited.1 indicates. Participants making spoken invitations to the invited of lower status in relation to age 100 80 60 ENS 40 20 0 direct CID NCID VNS Chart 4. Besides.6. The inviter were in higher social status and younger than the invited. The preference for politeness strategies used by ENS and VNS was analyzed in three separate cases. 7. The inviter were in the same social status as and younger than the invited. . direct strategies were mostly employed by VNS and the proportion of non-conventional ones were pretty few in the same case. The inviter were in higher social status and older than the invited. a. the number of direct and non-conventional politeness strategies were relatively equal. 8. 9.1: The proportion of total politeness strategies employed to the invited of lower social status in situation 5 As Chart 4.

5 The invited Younger age Politeness Strategies Direct Conventional indirect Nonconventional indirect Total Same age Direct Conventional indirect Nonconventional indirect Total Older age Direct . there is an undeniable tendency of ENS to give more hints to the invited of older age (25.2 showed.5 7. 70% of head acts by ENS was in conventional indirect forms.5%) than of same age (15%).?”. It is rather clear from the figures that the younger age of the invited influenced ENS differently from VNS. the number of hints they used for both groups of invited was few and completely equal (5%) VNS n 37 2 1 40 35 3 2 40 32 % 92. the proportion of direct head acts used by VNS was always much higher (87. mostly in the suggest formulae like “ Why don’t we…? / How about …. Meanwhile. different from VNS who tended to totally gave direct invitations to the invited of younger age (92.5 5 2.5 5 100 80 n 8 28 4 40 10 24 6 40 7 ENS % 20 70 10 100 25 60 15 100 17. when the invited was older than or as young as the inviter. The highest proportion of politeness strategies used by ENS in the two cases was in conventional forms.?” Or “Would you like to….5%).5%). though VNS did give more conventional indirect invitations to people of older age (15%) than to people of the same age (7. In addition.5% and 80%) than by ENS (25% and 17. ENS also employed more hints (10%) in comparision to only 2.5%).5 100 87. Similarly.As the data in Table 4.5% by VNS.

3% and 10%). On the contrary.Conventional indirect Nonconventional indirect Total 6 2 40 15 5 100 24 9 40 60 25. In this case. The number of direct and non-conventional indirect ones was rather equal (13. Participants making spoken invitations to the invited of equal status in relation to age 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 direct CID NCID ENS VNS Chart 4.2: Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of lower social status in situation 5 b.67%).5 100 Table 4. VNS mostly employed direct invitations to this group of counterparts (89%) in comparison to only few conventional indirect strategies (approximetely 8% ) and only 1% hints issued .2 provided an overall look at the strategies issued by both ENS and VNS when they invited people of equal social status under the impact of age. the majority of politeness strategies used by ENS was conventional indirect (76.2: The proportion of total politeness strategies used to the invited of equal social status in situation 5 The columns in Chart 4.

They only used hints when inviting people of older age but with a very small proportion (5%).5 1 100 15 77.5 72.5 5 n 7 29 4 40 6 31 3 40 3 32 5 ENS % 17.As Table 4. The invited Politeness Stategies n Younger age Direct Conventional indirect Nonconventional indirect Total Same age Direct Conventional indirect Nonconventional indirect Total Older age Direct Conventional indirect Nonconventional indirect 39 1 0 40 34 6 0 40 33 5 2 VNS % 97.5 .3 showed. 85% was to people of same age and 82.5%) when they were younger. Besides.5 80 12.5 12. the older age of the invited still made them deliver spoken invitations less directly (7.5 100 7. though they were at equal social status. 15% to same age people and 12. Quite different from ENS.5% to those of older age. They used this strategy more frequently (7.5%) than when inviting people of the same age (15%) or of younger age (17.5% to younger people.5 0 100 85 15 0 100 82. Besides. when the invited was younger. VNS tended to employ almost all spoken invitations indirectly to the invited of younger age( 97.5%).5% to people of older age).5%).5%) when they were as young as the invited and most regularly (12. ENS rarely issued hints to invite orally (only 1%).5 2.5 7. the conventional indirect politeness strategies were also employed in this case though more rarely (2.

Total 40 100 40 100 Table 4. Participants making spoken invitations to the invited of higher social status in relation to age The overall results from Chart 4. VNS did issue both kinds of indirect strategies but few.3: Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of equal social status in situation 5 c. in comparison to the previous two cases when the invited was of lower or equal social status. the use of explicit ones was more faroured in this case. To ENS. However. While most ENS employed indirect politeness strategies. it seems that the higher status of the addressee did influence VNS to employ more indirect politeness strategies such as questions or hints.3 showed that VNS and ENS differed significantly in the choice of strategy for spoken invitations in the settings where the addressee was in higher social status under the influence of age. 100 80 60 40 20 0 direct CID NCID ENS VNS Chart 4. between the explicit and non-explicit indirect strategies.3: The proportion of total politeness strategies used to the invited of higher social status in situation 5 . the majority of VNS chose to use direct ones. As appeared in the chart.

5 100 The invited Younger age Politeness Stategies Direct Conventional indirect Nonconventional indirect Total . One noticeable point is that ENS did take the age of the invited into account in this situation.5 17. However. 10% was conventional indirect and 7. the use of kinship terms is closely related to age and politeness. less (15%) to those of younger age and least (12. Because in Vietnamese culture.5%) to those who are older. older than or as young as they were.5%).4 below.5%) and equal to the rest of addressees (17. The number of hints given in this case was highest to the invited of the same age(22.5 10 7.5 % invitations were direct.5 % was non-conventional indirect. the appropriate and extended use of kinship terms according to age is taken as a way of expressing a good manner. second position is for younger and the third was for people who are as young as they were (57. VNS used different terms of address to the invited of different age ranges as a way to express their politeness.In Table 4. the results indicated that there seemed to be no difference in the kind of politeness strategies VNS employed to orally invite the people who were younger. this factor did influence significantly the terms of address they used.5 100 n 6 27 7 40 ENS % 15 67. Concerning the amount of conventional indirect politeness strategies used by ENS. Age factor tended not to affect much to the choice of politeness strategy used by VNS to the invited of higher status. VNS n 33 4 3 40 % 82. the majority of them was for older people (70%). ENS offered more direct spoken invitations (20%) to people of the same age. 82.5%). in stead of employing different politess strategies. As a result.

VNS. age and social status affected differently to the choice of politeness strategies employed by ENS and VNS: the majority of choices from ENS was for conventional indirectness while that of VNS was for directness. used more conventional indirect politeness .4: Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of higher social status in situation 5.5 100 12. the major difference is that ENS saw the necessity to invite younger people indirectly whereas VNS considered direct spoken invitations suitable.5 7. Meanwhile. when the invited was in lower status.Same age Direct Conventional indirect Nonconventional indirect Total 33 4 3 40 32 5 3 40 82. Therefore. Differently.5 40 8 23 9 40 5 28 7 40 20 57. the answers from VNS show that the top proportion of indirectness would be for the older invited while the largest amount of directness would be for younger partners.5 10 7. in the setting where the invited was of equal position. though. ENS issued more direct spoken invitations to younger people. most hints to the one who was older and most conventional indirect to the younger person. In summary. in ENS’ data.5 70 17.5 22. subjects tended to employ most direct invitations to the invited of the same age.5 100 Older age Direct Conventional indirect Nonconventional indirect Total Table 4. However.5 40 80 12. more nonconventional indirect ones to older partners while the majority of conventional indirectness was for the same age people.

Therefore. 4. in total. 4. Each question in the situation was designed to serve a certain purpose. though VNS were still loyal to the use of directness. The content of the two situations was totally similar. The invited were a male and in equal social status. It was to investigate what kind of politeness strategies the inviter would employ if 1. 12 discourse completion questions would help to investigate the frequency distribution of politeness strategy used by both groups of subjects when issuing spoken invitations under the influence of social status and gender. The preference for politeness strategies used by both ENS and VNS when issuing spoken invitations under the impact of social status and gender was analyzed in the following section.1. 3.2.strategies to the same age people together with more hints to older ones while they kept issuing the largest amount of directness for the younger. . The combination of gender and social status created 6 discourse completion questions in each situation. the higher status and age of the addressee also made VNS invite more conventional indirectly to the invited of older age. In addition. The invited were a female and in lower social status.2. Meanwhile they affected ENS to deliver more direct and hints spoken invitations to the same age people. The invited were a male and in lower social status. Social status and gender The impact of social status and gender on the kind of spoken invitations issued was investigated with situation 1 and 3 in the questionnaire. 2. The invited were a female and in equal social status.

4 and Table 4. Vietnamese males tended to invite their male partners more directly (94. Chart 4. there were pretty few subiects in the group who chose to deliver hints in this setting. The invited were a female and in higher social status.4 also indicates that females issued a few more direct spoken invitations (26.67%) and less indirectly (4. Moreover. Compared with ENS. The results revealed that both male and female ENS prefered conventional indirect politeness strategies to the other two strategies when they orally invited the same gender addressees.67%) than the ways females did to the invited of the same gender. as appeared in the chart. In addition. VNS mostly employed direct strategies to the partners of the same gender. The invited were a male and in higher social status.47% in comparing to 91. Participants making spoken invitations to the invited of the same gender in relation to status Both Chart 4.5. there was only one female who gave the same response). .7% in comparing to 6.67%) to their females counterparts than males did to their male partners (25%). The preference for politeness strategies used by ENS and VNS was analyzed in two separate cases: a. 6. meanwhile. Remarkably. This point seems to be different from what the ENS males and females did in the same case. Besides. one crucial point to notice is that the number of males who refused to do this kind of face threatening act in the case tribled that of females (3 male subjects answered they would not invite the people who were of the same gender and in higher social status.5 below illustrate the spoken invitations used by ENS and VNS to their partners of the same gender in relation to status.

5 20 100 27.5 2.100 80 60 40 20 0 D CID NCID No FTA ENS(M-T-M_) VNS(M-T-M) ENS(F-T-F) VNS(F-T-F) Chart 4. The invited Politeness Stategies VNS Male Male % Lower status D CID NCID Total Equal status D CID NCID Total 38 1 1 40 38 2 0 40 95 2.5 57.4: The proportion of total politeness strategies used by ENS in comparing to those by VNS in situations 1 and 3 The results in Table 4.5 5 100 92.5 47.5 indicated the difference in the frequency distribution of strategies used by both groups of subjects in relation to status.5 7.5 45 27.5 0 100 ENS to Male Male n 14 20 6 40 11 18 11 40 % 35 50 15 100 27.5 2.5 100 to Female Female n 13 19 8 40 11 23 6 40 % 32.5 100 95 5 0 100 to Female Female n 37 1 2 40 37 3 0 40 % 92.5 15 40 to .

the direct strategy presents 35%. In addition. to deliver hints is 2. the percentage of subjects who chose to invite directly is 95% (males) and 92. 47.5% and 15%). Meanwhile.5 % (same for both males and females). the data shows 32. men also issued more hints than women (27.5 100 36 4 0 40 90 10 0 100 5 25 7 37 12.5% for conventional indirect and 20% for hints. there were not as many ENS males who employed the conventional indirect to the invited of equal status as female did (45 % for males and 57.5 62.5% for females). in VNS data. Another noticeable point is that ENS men invited more conventional indirectly than women in the case. men continued to invite more directly and less indirectly than women.5% for males and 5% for females. .5 17. One crucial question is that neither men nor women delivered any hints.5% for direct.5 25 97.5 92. in this case. the conventional strategy shows 50% and the nonconventional takes 15%. Quite contrary to the previous situation. It is clear that ENS and VNS shared one thing in common: males employed more direct politeness strategy and provided less hints than females did. Similarly. in VNS’ data.5: Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of the same gender in situation 1 and 3 In ENS’ data.Higher status D CID NCID Total 37 2 1 40 92. to invite indirectly by using suggest formulae is 2.5 8 21 10 39 20 52.5% (females). When they were females.5 5 2. when the invited group was males and in lower social status than the inviters.5 Table 4.

5% and 62. the number of women who chose the same strategy doubled that of men (10% in comparing to 5%). in VNS’ data. Moreover.5%) than women (90%). Vietnamese male native speakers kept issuing more direct politeness strategy (92. both ENS and VNS males issued more direct strategies than females. ENS outnumbered VNS in this situation.5%). although men of both groups did deliver hints. the choice of strategies by ENS males shifted to indirectness while both VNS and ENS females continued issuing a high degree of indirectness to their female parners.5 show that there were significant differences in the frequency distribution of politeness strategies between ENS and VNS males and females when they were asked to orally invite people of different gender. none of female VNS chose this strategy. in contrast to women of ENS group who employed fewer conventional indirect invitations than men (52.5%) than women (20%). . In summary. unlike the case of female ENS who issued many hints (25%) to invite people of the same gender and higher status. the results also revealed that there were significant differences in the strategy selection employed by ENS and VNS when the invited were of higher social status. Participants making spoken invitations to the invited of different gender and in relation to status The results presented in Chart 4. In higher status than their male partners.5. b. the fact that the invited and the inviter were of the same gender and under the impact of social status affected differently to ENS and VNS.As presented in Table 4. VNS males kept unchanged in their selection. Besides. While men in ENS group became less direct (12. when they were at equal and lower status. However. Meanwhile. Also.

The results showed that the number of VNS who invited directly nearly tribled that of ENS. Besides.5: The proportion of total politeness strategies made by ENS in comparing to those by VNS in situation 1 and 3 As appeared in the chart. ENS females tended to employ much more direct spoken invitations(31. there were fewer VNS females who used direct politeness strategies to invite males than VNS males did to invite females. However.100 80 60 40 20 0 D CID NCID No FTA ENS(F-T-M) VNS(F-T-M) ENS(M-T-F) VNS(M-T-F) Chart 4. they issued fewer both conventional and nonconventional indirect politeness strategies in the case. different from ENS group. there was only one ENS female who refused to do this face threatening act in comparing to three males who chose the same solution. The biggest difference between the two groups was that none of VNS refused to do FTA in this situation while there were four ENS who did the act.83%). in general. Moreover.67%) than ENS males (20. . the data of VNS group showed no similarities between the two groups. the number of conventional and nonconventional indirect strategies employed by VNS females was also more than by VNS males. Unlike ENS females. Meanwhile.

quite contrary to ENS males who employed 27.5 % for hints. In short. VNS males were more direct( 97.5% ENS females who chose the same solution to orally invite male partners. Meanwhile.5%) than VNS females( 92.5%.5%). the percentage of ENS males who employed hints was even more (17. the results indicated that there were more differences than similarities in the frequency distribution of politeness strategies between ENS and VNS when the invited was in lower status than and different gender from the inviter. Under the impact of status.5% ENS males answered that they would directly invite equalstatus females while there was 42.5%). In this setting. In contrast to the previous case. the frequency distribution of direct spoken invitations by VNS males was 87.5%). the percentage of those strategies used by ENS males and females was much higher than that of VNS (55% and 2.5% direct strategies and hence fewer than ENS females (32. the results in ENS data also showed that ENS men tended to give fewer direct spoken invitations than ENS women.5%) than that of females in the group(12. though the preference for strategies of ENS group presented different percentages.5%:2.5%. both VNS and ENS female inviters were more direct than males in their groups. VNS females and males was totally equal (55%:55 % = 2. though the proportion of conventional strategies employed by both ENS.In Table 4. 7. the politeness strategies used by VNS females constituted 90% for direct ones.5% for conventional indirect and 2. Besides. As appeared in the data. of conventional indirects was 10% and of hints was 2.6 below. Only 27. while VNS males delivered no hints in the case. the results indicated that in the situation where the invited was of equal status.5% = 1:1).5%). The number of conventional indirect invitations . it seems that VNS females were more indirect and ENS females were more direct than males in the same circumstances. Similarly.

5 55 12.5 100 42.6: Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of different gender in situation 1 and 3 Another noticeable point is that the higher status of the invited affected differently the choice of politeness strategies employed by both ENS and VNS of different gender when they were asked to orally invite the people of opposite gender in situations 1 and 3.given by ENS men was 60 % ( 45% in women choice) and for the use of hints was 12. though the use of conventional indirect politeness strategies was still prefered.5 2. To ENS.5 45 12.5 55 17.5 5 100 90 7.5 10 2.5 60 12.5% (same as women).5 67.5 20 97.5 to Female Male n Lower status D CID NCID Total 37 1 2 40 36 3 1 40 34 6 0 40 Equal status D CID NCID Total Higher status D CID NCID Total Table 4.5 100 95 5 0 100 to Female Male n 13 22 5 40 17 18 5 40 8 23 8 39 % 32.5 40 7.5 100 20 57.5 2.5 to Male Female n 11 22 7 40 11 24 5 40 3 27 7 37 % 27.5 92.5 100 85 15 0 100 n 39 1 0 40 35 4 1 40 38 2 0 40 % 97.5 17.5 2. ENS women kept being more direct than .5 0 100 87.5 100 27. The invited Politeness VNS Stategies ENS to Male Female % 92.

1 (95%:85%). even though direct spoken invitations were mostly favored by the majority of participants.5%: 67. Age and gender The impact of age and gender on politeness strategies employed was investigated with situations 2 and 4 in the questionnaire. VNS females seemed to be more indirect than males when the invited was in lower and higher status and more direct to the people of equal status.5%). the combination of age and gender formed 6 discourse completion questions in each situation. To VNS. The number of females issuing indirect politeness strategies tribbled (15%:5%) that of males while the proportion of direct invitations by men over by women was only 1.85 (57.men. Meanwhile.6 (20%: 7. the data in VNS group showed an opposite result.5%) was still higher than the sum of both proportions of conventional and nonconventional indirect strategies used by females over males which was 0. Similarly to the previous case. The content of the two situations was totally alike. The data also showed that there were more males than females in the group who refused to do this FTA (3 for men and 1 for women). The impact of gender and age would be investigated in the following section of this chapter.2.1. 12 discourse completion questions would help to investigate . 4. Meanwhile. To sum up. more VNS females tended to employ indirect politeness strategies when inviting males than VNS males in the same situation.3. The proportion of direct strategies used by females over males which was 2.5% + 20%:17. ENS females always use more direct invitations than ENS males do in all three situations. in the setting where the invited was of opposite gender. Therefore. in total.

ENS mostly favored the conventional indirect politeness strategies when they orally invited someone under the influence of age and gender. they showed a high tendency of using more hints (23. Though the majority of subjects kept issuing direct spoken invitations.the frequency distribution of politeness strategies used by both groups of subjects when issuing spoken invitations under the influence of age and gender. 3. 6.5 indicates that. they tended to deliver much more indirect politeness strategies. Besides. the data also indicated that. The invited were a male and at the same age.33%) and fewer direct invitations(15%). The invited were a female and at the same age. The invited were a male and at younger age. The invited were a male and at older age. though females employed fewer numbers of conventional indirectness (61. VNS’ data revealed a different result. VNS females were more direct than males because they employed more direct . in comparing to the previous settings. like other cases. Making spoken invitations to the invited of the same gender The overall results presented in Chart 4. 4. 5. In addition. The preference for politeness strategies used by ENS and VNS was analyzed in two separate situations: a. unlike ENS females. It can be inferred that ENS females were more indirect than males in this setting. Each question in the situation was designed to serve a certain purpose. The invited were a female and at younger age. The invited were a female and at older age. It was to investigate what kind of politeness strategies the inviter would employ if 1.67%) comparing to males (65%). 2.

fewer conventional ones (15.5%) and fewer direct strategies (17. They tended to be more indirect than men.5%) and also issued fewer conventional indirect ones (10% and 17.67%). Moreover. ENS females issued much more hints (32.5%). the number of ENS subjects who chose suggestory formulae or query preparatory strategies still took 50% of the total strategies used. 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 D CID NCID ENS(F-T-F) VNS(F-T-F) ENS(M-T-M) VNS(M-T-M) a. Meanwhile.5%) than ENS males did (10% and 40%). However.82% and 18. Firstly.7 presented the responses from both subjects when taking the age of the invited into account. in the situation where the subjects were asked to orally invite people of younger age. VNS women delivered more direct invitations (85%) than males (77.33%) and fewer nonconventional indirect strategies ( 4.strategies (80% and 76.17% and 5%) than men did in the same situation. VNS females and males shared one thing in common: they . Chart 4.6: The proportion of total politeness strategies made by ENS in comparing to those by VNS to the invited of the same gender in situations 2 and 4 The detailed analysis of the data in Table 4.

5 100 2.5 40 5 85 10 100 to Female n Younger age D CID NCID Total Same age D CID NCID Total Older age D CID NCID Total 34 4 2 40 30 7 3 40 32 8 0 40 % 85 10 5 100 75 17.5 17.5 20 100 Male n 16 20 4 40 11 24 5 40 2 34 4 40 % 40 50 10 100 27.5 5 100 75 20 5 100 77. From 25% to 27. to the invited of the same age. The invited Politeness VNS Strategies Female ENS to Male Male n 31 7 2 40 30 8 2 40 31 7 2 40 % 77. VNS females somehow employed more direct politeness strategies than males.5 2.5 17.5 5 100 to Female to Male Female n 7 20 13 40 10 23 7 40 1 31 8 40 % 17. the results showed that there were almost no differences between ENS females and males in their preference for the politeness strategies employed. Therefore.5% of both ENS males and .5 77.5 100 25 57.7: Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of the same gender in situations 2 and 4 Secondly.5 60 12.5 50 32.employed the equal number of hints (5%).5 100 80 20 0 100 Table 4.5 17.

ENS males were thought to be more indirect than females.5% by women) as well as more hints (5% and 2. They not only issued fewer direct spoken invitations (77. Finally. VNS males tended to be more indirect when inviting the people of different gender who were of their age. They issued a few more suggestory formulae or query preparatory strategies (20% and 17. However.5% by females). 85% of them responsed that they would invite by saying “Would you like to…” or the like to the invited of different gender who were older. ENS men seemed to prefer conventional indirect strategies more than women.5% and 80%) but also used more hints (5% and 0%). the number of females who employed hints doubled that of males (20% and 10%) while the percentage of direct invitations issued by males doubled that of females (5% and 2. Therefore.5%). . the results showed that the age of the interlocutors would cause an impact on the preference for politeness strategies used by both ENS and VNS males and make them invite a person of the same gender more directly than females. In ENS’ data. VNS’ data showed that VNS males also favored indirect politeness strategies than females. The only noticeable point is that. Similarly.by each group of gender was somehow equal. The age factor influenced both VNS and ENS females. the trend of using politeness strategies of ENS and VNS to the people who were older proved to have somehow similar result. unlike ENS group. In summary.

7: The proportion of total politeness strategies made by ENS in comparing to those by VNS to the invited of different gender in situations 2 and 4 The results in Chart 4. females issued more hints and males used more conventional indirect ones. Many VNS females chose to use direct spoken invitations to male partners in comparing to a much fewer number of males who did the same act to female partners. the gap between the selection of strategies of VNS females and males seemed to be bigger. Making 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 D CID NCID spoken invitations to the invited of different gender ENS(F-T-M) VNS(F-T-M) ENS(M-T-F) VNS(M-T-F) Chart 4.7 indicated that there were significant differences in the strategy selection done by ENS and VNS. b. the results showed that though the percentage of direct spoken invitations made by ENS females and males were totally equal. Meanwhile. VNS females also deliver much . ENS continued to be loyal to the use of conventional indirect strategies while the majority of VNS prefered the direct politeness strategies. Specifically.The frequency distribution of politeness strategies employed by ENS and VNS when the interlocutors are of different gender under the influence of age would be investigated in the following section. Besides.

The invited Politeness VNS Strategies Female ENS to Male female % 77. The only similar point between VNS females and males was that they issued relatively equal number of hints.5 12.5 100 to Female to Male male n 10 20 10 40 13 22 5 40 2 30 8 40 % 25 50 25 100 32.5 100 5 75 20 100 female n 15 21 4 40 8 27 5 40 2 34 4 40 % 37.5 100 85 15 0 100 n 24 12 4 40 26 12 2 40 25 12 3 40 % 60 30 10 100 65 30 5 100 62.8: Participants’ preference for and use of politeness strategies to the invited of different gender in situations 2 and 4 .5 100 80 12.5 7.5 15 7.7 below presents the frequency distribution of politeness strategies used by both ENS and VNS when taking age and gender of the invited into consideration.5 55 12.more conventional indirect strategies than males in the same setting.5 40 5 85 10 100 to male n Younger age D CID NCID Total Same age D CID NCID Total Older age D CID NCID Total 31 6 3 40 32 5 3 40 34 6 0 40 Table 4.5 52.5 10 100 20 67.5 30 7. Table 4.

ENS females tended to be more indirect than ENS males when inviting younger people of different gender. ENS women were less direct than men. both females and males employed fewer direct spoken invitations comparing to the cases when the invited was younger than or as young as the .5% of males who used conventional strategies. In ENS’ data. VNS females favored further direct strategies than males because the frequency distribution of direct invitations by them was 77.5% ENS females were in direct form in comparison to 65% VNS and 20% ENS males. Secondly.5% men chose the direct strategies. VNS females tended to be more direct than males. 80% of the responses from VNS and 32. Compared with VNS females. The proportion of hints distributed was 25% for females and only 10% for males while the percentage of conventional strategies was nearly equal. Besides. Besides. it was hard to reach a conclusion whether VNS females were more direct or indirect than males when inviting people of different gender who were younger. There were 55% of females and 67. when the invited was older than the inviter. Both ENS’ and VNS’ data indicated that females issued more direct invitations than males. they also issued fewer hints. the percentage of suggestory formulae or query preparatory strategies they employed was only half of that by VNS men. Therefore.5% compared to 60% of males. the results were different. In addition. they also issued much more hints than men did.7 showed that there were some similarities in the frequency distribution of inviting strategies used by ENS and VNS in the setting where the invited was as young as the inviter.As what we could see in the data. Females of both groups were found to employ much fewer conventional indirect politeness strategies than males. Only 25% of their answers were in direct form while 37. First. Nevertheless. the results presented in Table 4. Finally.

males in the group used fewer direct strategies and more indirect ones. ENS females seemed to be more indirect in the first situation and employ fewer conventional indirect politeness strategies and more hints than males in the second. VNS females were more direct than males. the data analysis revealed some significant differences between the ENS’ and VNS‘productions of spoken invitations under the impact of politeness.inviter (only 5%). In comparison to females.e. Even though this finding concerns the results from the context- . the findings were discussed to find out the answers to the four research questions. to males who were of the same age. Unlike in the previous settings. VNS’ data indicated that VNS females were more direct than men when inviting older people of different gender. Meanwhile. ENS and VNS females shared one thing in common. In the setting where the addressee was younger or older than the inviter. Unlike ENS females.2. they issued fewer suggestory formulae or query preparatory strategies and used more direct spoken invitations than men did to females who were of the same age. Although ENS females issued fewer suggestory formulae or query preparatory strategies than males.. Besides. To sum up. VNS females issued most of their spoken invitations in direct form (85%) and the other 15% was for conventional indirect. Discussion of the findings In this section. 4. i. age and gender of the invited affected not only to different groups of subjects but also to subjects of different gender. they issued more hints (20%). Meanwhile. the proportion of indirect politeness strategies used here was the majority (75% for females and 85% for males). As mentioned above.

were extensively employed by VNS subjects and perceived as socially accepted by the majority of VNS participants.specific situation. the direct spoken invitations employed by VNS in the research served to emphasize the intimacy. Meanwhile. On the other hand. direct politeness strategies. Moreover. it could be argued that the tendency for higher directness on the part of the VNS is consistent with the characteristics of a solidarity-oriented society. the VNS were found to employ a higher degree of directness as far as the head acts of their spoken invitations were concerned while ENS showed a pretty high frequency of employing indirectness. First. Therefore. normally with the use of imperatives and the performative verb “invite”. the use of particles and address . this finding does not mean VNS are less polite than ENS or ENS are more polite than VNS in delivering spoken invitations. However. the use of giving options together with the indirectness as ways of performing face saving acts. It only reflects different language habits which originate from different cultures. in English speaking cultures. concerning the answers for the first and third research questions. The results also showed how direct spoken invitations are the most favored strategies for VNS while conventional indirect ones are the most preferred strategies for ENS. closeness and solidarity. Therefore. the preference for indirect spoken invitations by ENS could be explained by their cultural values where individual’s freedom and independence is highly respected. Besides. it still offers evidence that there are distinct cross-cultural differences between VNS and ENS in making spoken invitations. they showed how important it is in the English language to acknowledge the use of conventional indirectness (normally in interrogative form) even with the inviting act which brings benefits to the addressee. Because inviting is a kind of negative face threatening acts. ENS would consider the limitation of imposition.

As a result. It is undeniable that both groups of subjects saw the need of being indirect to the people who were older no matter what levels of social status those people were in. an employee or a colleague. Meanwhile. The effect of social status.3 and 4. 4. In addition. Regarding the influence of social status and age of participants to the choice of politeness strategies employed by both groups. the data in Table 4. It is against Brown and Levinson’s hierarchy which assumes that the more indirect an utterance.2. especially in the setting when those people were at lower position. However. 1987: 17-21). the more polite it comes (Brown and Levinson.4 showed different results. In Vietnamese culture and particularly with spoken inviting behavior. considering the relationship between directness/indirectness in spoken invitations and politeness.terms in Vietnamese culture somehow achieves to soften the imperative spoken invitations and make them more polite and widely acceptable. almost VNS invited people of younger age directly though that person was a boss. ENS considered younger people as distant and hence applied negative politeness strategies to reduce the imposition of the inviting. The findings revealed that these factors did have a different impact on the choice of both groups. It can be even misunderstood as insincerity and hence may lead to the breaking of a further social relationship. indirectness with the concept of non-imposition or giving options is not necessarily politeness. age and gender on the preference for and use of inviting politeness strategies by both ENS and VNS was examined to answer the second and fourth research questions. it is evident from the above findings that politeness is not always determined by indirectness. while ENS reacted differently to people of .

and to same-age partners except when they were of equal status. the more polite the speaker would be. both ENS and VNS males issued more direct strategies than females. the choice of strategies by ENS males shifted to indirectness while VNS males kept . it is true that the power of the addressee is very important to the politeness strategies employed by the speaker. VNS took the age of the addressee in greater consideration than his/her social status in invitations. under the effect of age. That is to say. with male partners of higher status. Moreover. They used the same degree of directness to younger people regardless of their status. Therefore. Concerning the effect of both social status and gender on the choice of politeness strategies by ENS and VNS. social status of the participants did not affect as much to the selection of politeness strategies by VNS as their age did. to ENS. the more powerful the hearer is. conventional indirect to equal and most hints to higher status). However. being of equal or lower status. The majority of strategies employed by ENS has proved to follow this belief. Unlike ENS who considered age factor was not important but significant as social status. what Brown and Levinson believe is also not totally suitable in the case of VNS.the same age accordingly to status (direct to lower status. from which they mean the more indirect people would be in the speech act of requesting. gender relationships were examined together with social status. Firstly. According to Brown and Levinson. VNS only realized the necessity of employing indirectness to people of the same age when they were in equal status. However. the results show that it is not correct to the invited of lower status because ENS employed even more indirect invitations than to the one of higher or equal status.

which is not true. which states that being well aware of the fact that what they say may threaten face of other people. to VNS males. Nevertheless. there were more women than men who saw the need of inviting indirectly. Meanwhile. the strategy selection of both ENS and VNS females when inviting the people of the same gender shows the suitability between the reality and the theory suggested by Holmes (1996). Surprisingly enough. women tend to use the extremes of negative politeness more frequently than men do. their speech shows a tendency to seek independencies and focus on hierarchical relationship.unchanged in their selection. On the contrary. VNS females seemed to be more indirect than males when the invited was in lower and higher status. no matter what social status they were in. VNS males would be very impolite people who always think themselves as superior. especially in the act of inviting. This result indicates that there are not only differences in the way women and men orally invite someone but there are also differences in the selection of strategies among women and men themselves. if the choice of strategies by VNS were explained in such a way. Besides. As Chodorou (1974) and Gilligan (1982) said. This can explain the reason why more ENS chose to use directness to people of lower position and negative politeness to the ones of higher or equal positions. the necessity of realizing the status of the same gender addressees is not as important as the need to show solidarity between themselves. VNS males tended to prefer more direct patterns to their male partners as a sign of closeness and friendliness. in the setting where the invited was of opposite gender. in this case. While the majority of ENS women employed indirect politeness strategies to the invited of . It seems that. and more direct to the people of equal status. because men see the world as a hierarchy in which any individual may be one-up or one-down. ENS females always invited more directly than ENS males did in all three levels of social status.

The results showed that there are more females than males (both ENS and VNS) who tried to avoid threatening the face of the adressees and their own face also by giving options to the adressees of different ranges of age.6 showed that. with the respect to the impact of both the invited’s and the inviter’s age and gender on the selection of politeness strategies used for spoken invitations. they saw another need to show intimacy and solidarity to the people of different gender by inviting directly. Finally. It is obvious that they did not change their politeness strategy together with the change of their male partners’ age while they did employ different types of strategies when the status was different. Here. the giving options and the indirectness are more preferred. the number of those who chose to be indirect to their same gender partners outnumbered that of males. gender and age of counterparts obviously had a different impact on females of both groups. To ENS males. Secondly. different from the effect of status. the idea that they ususally do not pay as much attention to the age of the adressee as other factors such as social status or gender again proved to be correct. the fact that VNS females were always more indirect to both people of same and different gender than men except for the case of equal social status proved the perception that VNS females prefer “beating about the bush” rather than being straightforward. Firstly. To sum up. Meanwhile. the results in Table 4. when the invited was of . the reason why the majority of them issued directness may be explained by the need to show closeness and solidarity among Vietnamese peers of the same gender. To VNS males. the age of the interlocutors would somehow make both ENS and VNS males invite a person of the same gender more directly than females do.the same gender to save face. it seems that ENS females are less aware of the values of a more negative politeness society where the limitation of imposition.

ENS females seemed to be more indirect in the first situation and employ fewer conventional indirect politeness strategies and more hints than males in the second. From the results of data analysis and discussion of the findings. the age of the counterparts had a stronger impact on the selection of strategies employed by both ENS and VNS females than by males. They employed various different strategies for different groups of the invited than males in their groups. This chapter has provided the results of data analysis and discussion of the findings. VNS females were more direct than males in their group. As a result.7 indicated that in the setting where the addressee was younger or older than subjects. his/her age influenced the choice of politeness strategies by ENS and VNS in another way. both ENS and VNS women shared one thing in common: they issued fewer suggestory formulae or query preparatory strategies and employed more direct spoken invitations than men in their groups.different gender. to the male invited who was as young as they were. VNS favored direct ones. some conclusions will be reached and some pedagogical implications for teaching English spoken invitations to Vietnamese learners of English will be suggested in the next chapter. Meanwhile. While ENS prefered the selection of indirect politeness strategies in issuing spoken invitations. Females of both groups seem to be more sensitive to age and gender of the adressees and always take those factors into consideration. The results in Table 4. Besides. .

age and gender has shown both similarities and differences between the two groups of subjects. They possibly preferred structural indirectness to indicate their distance. Coming from a society where the principles of non-imposition are widely accepted as being polite. VNS come .1. 5.CHAPTER 5. The investigation of the choice of direct or indirect spoken invitations by ENS and VNS under the influence of social status. both in English and Vietnamese cultures. The biggest difference between these two groups is the preference for politeness strategies employed when they invited someone orally. the majority of ENS used indirect politeness strategies to deliver the speech act of inviting. Since politeness is an integral part of the socio-cultural system. Meanwhile. As a result. Spoken invitations are one of the very frequent speech acts which can take place in daily activities. the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence would be of considerable value to any learners who want to communicate successfully in another language. which can be easily seen in communication problems in social interaction. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS This chapter draws out the conclusion of the research and suggests some pedagogical implications for the teachers of English when teaching English spoken invitations to Vietnamese learners. Conclusion Different cultures may lead to different communication styles. the awareness of the differences in politeness expression between the mother language and the target language (Vietnamese and English in this study) can contribute a lot to the development of communicative competence of Vietnamese learners of English. give options and through this they soften the impositions.

The results of this study show that issuing English spoken invitations is not an easy and simple task for Vietnamese learners of English for the fact that there are both similarities and differences. Therefore. the results indicate that they had a stronger effect on both ENS and VNS females’ selection of politeness strategies.from a society where greater importance is attached to solidarity relations and dependence rather than distance and independence. ENS males employed more strategies to invite people of same gender together with the change of addressee’s status than ENS females. because inviting is an act that brings benefits to the hearer. when both gender and age of the addressees were taken into consideration. the imposition is to save the face of the hearer than to threaten her/his face. In general. the results show that ENS took the first factor into greater consideration than the second while VNS had quite opposite selection. it seems to be more convenient for the hearer of a spoken invitation to accept if s(he) is clearly forced to do so. Some other differences and similarities between the two groups of subjects were found during the process of investigating the impact of social status. Concerning the effect of social status and age. Moreover. Moreover. age and gender on the selection of politeness strategies employed. in this case. the examination of social status and gender also indicate that men and women had different tendency in the choice of politeness strategies to invite people of different status. Besides. so most of them tended to employ structurally directness when issuing spoken invitations. in Vietnamese culture. communicative failure can . As a result. VNS females also employed similar strategies to the people of opposite gender in comparison to VNS males.

as the findings showed. They should be informed that generally ENS often use conventional indirect structures to perform the speech act of inviting while VNS have the habit of performing it directly. . Implications Being polite is becoming more and more significant nowadays while the expression of politeness clearly falls within the speaker’s communicative rather than linguistic competence. Besides.possibly happen regardless of their good will of delivering any spoken invitation to an English native speaker. 5.2. Vietnamese learners of English should be well aware of the cultural differences in the preference for the choice of politeness strategies between ENS and VNS. Therefore. 1992: 203) Basing on the findings of the study. it is necessary for the teacher to notice the learners about the different impacts of social status. 2. First of all. I would like to suggest some implications for teaching English spoken invitations to Vietnamese learners of English with a close attention to the effect of politeness. The increase of learners’ awareness will not only help them improve their communicative performance in English but also prevent them from unintentionally appearing impolite and rude. age and gender on the invitation strategies used by ENS and VNS. foreign language teachers are expected to provide language learners not only with linguistic competence but also with communicative competence which will enable them to select grammatically correct expressions which are also appropriate in the specific situation. 1. (Sifiano.

create situations themselves and challenge each other to . However. First. Besides. c. they can make groups. The lecture of cultural differences and the long lists of alternatives for drills and memorization as to what is appropriate and polite when inviting in English may possibly bore the learners and thus defeat the original purpose. teachers can invite the class to give alternative possibilities. some following ways are suggested to avoid such problems. If the learners employ a rather inappropriate construction for the inviting in a specific context. Second. As a result. if those situations are carefully chosen to depict everyday life. Moreover. they can lead to interesting class discussions about how to be more appropriate or more polite in English culture and why. Therefore. suitable teaching materials play a significant role to develop learners’ sociocultural knowledge and hence may contribute importantly to the development of communicative competence. Therefore. Vietnamese teachers of English should consciously and conscientiously try to present an appropriate model for students to imitate. Third. the supporting role of teachers during the discussion can help to demonstrate the expected structures implicitly through which learners acquire them unconsciously in a more exciting way than listening to the lecture. b. teachers should let their learners as creative as possible.3. accordingly to the level of the learners. a. it is necessary for the teachers to exploit as many authentic materials as possible so that the practice of the speech act would be more natural and enjoyable. because there is not just one way of behaving appropriately. the use of real life situations in role play activities is extremely important in practicing the use of inviting strategies.

make suitable spoken invitations in a close attention to politeness factors.. the experience is invaluable and can make really fast progress in learning. Although this kind of practice may cost. Hopefully. d. the study may contribute to avoid the communicative problems of Vietnamese learners of English in social interaction. . This chapter has given the conclusion of the study and made some recommendations about how to teach English spoken invitations effectively to their Vietnamese learners of English. teacher should encourage learners to put theory into practice by making friends with foreigners who may be tourists or teachers at foreign language centers. because classroom interaction is rather different from what happens in society. Finally. and try inviting them out for a drink..

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What would you say if A were: 1. You would like A to come. PERSONAL INFORMATION: Nationality: …………………………………. a female colleague of equal position to you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… . put yourself in given situations and then write down what you actually say in each situation: Situation 1: You are a candidate for the MA degree and have just finished your thesis.APPENDIX 1 (Questionnaire to ENS) QUESTIONNAIRE I would very much appreciate your help with my research. Richard. You open a celebration party at home on Saturday night at 6 p. First Language:…………………………………. Melanie.. a male colleague of equal position to you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2. Could you please fill in the blanks or put an X in the appropriate box in the following: I. ……………………………………………………………………………………………..m. QUESTIONNAIRE: Would you please read the following questions. Age range: 50 Gender: Profession: Education: Female Male Under 20 20-30 30-40 40-50 Over …………………………………………………………………………………………….

a male classmate of your younger brother or sister? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3. as the host. a male colleague of lower position than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4. a female classmate of your younger brother or sister? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2. your male colleague? . a friend of your parents who is much older than you are? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6. your male friend who is at your age? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5. Mrs. Nancy. a friend of your parents who is much older than you are? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Situation 3: You have just finished moving into a new house and want to invite C over to celebrate. a female colleague of lower position than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5. Mr Edward. a colleague of higher position than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Situation 2: During the dinner at your house. What would you say if C were: 1. Lisa.3. What would you say if B were: 1. Harry. your female friend who is at your age? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4. Janet. you want B to have some more food. Hampton. a colleague of higher position than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6. Sidsel. Mr. Linda. Patrick. Mrs. Harrison. Thomas.

Mrs. Mr. Mr. your boss? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6. who is older than you are? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… . Cathy. Robert. who is younger than you are? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2. who is younger than you are? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3. who is older than you are? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6. your female colleague? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3. Thatcher. Michel. Miller. your male employee? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4. Wright. Gordon. who is just about your age? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5. Lessie. your boss? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Situation 4: You and D are business partners. Mrs. What would you say if D were: 1. who is just about your age? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4. You would like D to have dinner with you to discuss more about the terms of your contract. your female employee? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5. Mr. Peterson. Mrs. Laura.…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2. Julian. Mr. Mrs.

18 p. Your employee who is at your age? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9. Your boss who is at your age? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3. Your boss who is older than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4. Your boss who is younger than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2.m. You want to invite E (male or female) to join with you. What would you say if E were: 1. on Saturday. Your colleague of equal position to you and is younger than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5. so you throw a party to celebrate at X restaurant.Situation 5: You’ve just been promoted. Your employee who is younger than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 8. Your colleague of equal position to you and is at your age? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6. Your employee who is older than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE! . Your colleague of equal position to you and is older than you? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7.

Caâu traû lôøi cuûa baïn raát quan troïng ñoái vôùi söï thaønh coâng cuûa ñeà taøi. moät ñoàng nghieäp nam coù vò trí xaõ hoäi ngang baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. moät ñoàng nghieäp nöõ coù vò trí xaõ hoäi ngang baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Hoaøng. I.APPENDIX 2 (Questionnaire to VNS) PHIEÁU KHAÛO SAÙT Baûn caâu hoûi döôùi ñaây cuûa toâi nhaèm thu thaäp döõ lieäu cho ñeà taøi nghieân cöùu. Baïn muoán môøi ngöôøi A ñeán döï. THOÂNG TIN CAÙ NHAÂN: Tuoåi: Giôùi tính: < 20 Nöõ 20 -30 Nam 30-40 40-50 > 50 Ngheà nghieäp: ………………………………………………………………… Trình ñoä hoïc vaán: ………………………………………………………… II. CAÂU HOÛI NGHIEÂN CÖÙU Xin Baïn vui loøng ñoïc caùc tình huoáng sau ñaây vaø traû lôøi theo caùch baïn thöïc söï duøng trong cuoäc soáng Tình huoáng 1: Baïn vöøa baûo veä xong luaän vaên thaïc só vaø toå chöùc tieäc chuùc möøng vaøo toái thöù baûy. 2. Mong ban vui loøng daønh chuùt thôøi gian quyù baùu traû lôøi caùc caâu hoûi sau. vaø chæ ñöôïc söû duïng vaøo muïc ñích nghieân cöùu chöù khoâng nhaèm muïc ñích naøo khaùc. Lan. luùc saùu giôø taïi nhaø. . Baïn seõ noùi theá naøo neáu A laø: 1.

baïn muoán môøi ngöôøi B duøng theâm moùn. 4. 6. 5. moät ñoàng nghieäp nöõ coù vò trí xaõ hoäi thaáp hôn baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Tình huoáng 2: Trong böõa aên toái taïi nhaø baïn. Trí. 4. moät caäu baïn cuøng lôùp cuûa em trai hoaëc em gaùi baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. moät coâ baïn cuøng lôùp cuûa em trai hoaëc em gaùi baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5. Baïn seõ noùi theá naøo neáu ngöôøi B laø: 1. Loan. Thu. Huøng. 2. vôùi cöông vò laø chuû nhaø. moät ngöôøi baïn nöõ cuøng tuoåi vôùi baïn? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….3. moät ñoàng nghieäp nöõ coù vò trí xaõ hoäi cao hôn baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3. (nöõ) moät ngöôøi lôùn tuoåi laø baïn cuûa cha meï baïn? . Truùc. Quang. moät ngöôøi baïn nam cuøng tuoåi vôùi baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. moät ñoàng nghieäp nam coù vò trí xaõ hoäi thaáp hôn baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Tuaán. Hoàng. Mai. moät ñoàng nghieäp nam coù vò trí xaõ hoäi cao hôn baïn? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Thuyù. Trang. (nöõ) caáp döôùi cuûa baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4.…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Thuïc. 6. (nöõ) ñoàng nghieäp cuûa baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. (nam) moät ngöôøi lôùn tuoåi laø baïn cuûa cha meï baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3. Baïn seõ noùi theá naøo neáu C laø: 1. Hoaøn. (nam) caáp döôùi cuûa baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Tình huoáng 3: Baïn vöøa chuyeån sang nhaø môùi xong vaø toå chöùc tieäc taân gia. (nam) caáp treân cuûa baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5. Sôn. 6. (nöõ) caáp treân cuûa baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Tuù. (nam) ñoàng nghieäp cuûa baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2. Vieät. . Baïn muoán môøi C ñeán döï.

4. Quaân. Ngaân. Baïn muoán môøi D ñi aên toái vôùi baïn ñeå hai ngöôøi tieáp tuïc baøn luaän veà caùc ñieàu khoaûn trong hôïp ñoàng.Tình huoáng 4: Baïn vaø D laø ñoái taùc laøm aên. 5. moät ngöôøi nam cuøng tuoåi vôùi baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. moät ngöôøi nöõ lôùn tuoåi hôn baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Cöôøng. Döông. moät ngöôøi nöõ nhoû tuoåi hôn baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Baïn seõ môøi nhö theá naøo neáu E laø: 1. Cuùc. moät ngöôøi nam nhoû tuoåi hôn baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. moät ngöôøi nöõ cuøng tuoåi vôùi baïn? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Ngöôøi nhoû tuoåi hôn baïn nhöng laø caáp treân cuûa baïn? . Tình huoáng 5: Baïn môùi ñöôïc thaêng chöùc vaø môû tieäc chia vui taïi nhaø haøng X luùc 18 giôø ngaøy thöù baûy. 3. 2. Baïn seõ noùi theá naøo neáu D laø? 1. Mai. Baïn muoán môøi E (nam hoaëc nöõ) ñeán döï. 6. moät ngöôøi nam lôùn tuoåi hôn baïn? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Ngöôøi nhoû tuoåi hôn baïn vaø laø ñoàng nghieäp cuøng caáp vôùi baïn? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9. 6.. Ngöôøi nhoû tuoåi hôn baïn vaø laø caáp döôùi cuûa baïn? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Ngöôøi lôùn tuoåi hôn baïn nhöng laø ñoàng nghieäp cuøng caáp vôùi baïn? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Ngöôøi cuøng tuoåi vôùi baïn vaø laø ñoàng nghieäp cuøng caáp vôùi baïn? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5. Ngöôøi cuøng tuoåi vôùi baïn nhöng laø caáp döôùi cuûa baïn? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3. XIN CHAÂN THAØNH CAÛM ÔN SÖÏ GIUÙP ÑÔÕ CUÛA BAÏN! .. 4. 7... 8. Ngöôøi lôùn tuoåi hôn baïn nhöng laø caáp döôùi cuûa baïn? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. Ngöôøi cuøng tuoåi vôùi baïn nhöng laø caáp treân cuûa baïn? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2. Ngöôøi lôùn tuoåi hôn baïn nhöng laø caáp döôùi cuûa baïn? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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