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A Survey of Interpersonal Rhetoric

Retty Sulviana (

Tiya Attistagena (
Leechs conception of interpersonal rhetoric

Maxim of Politeness
Metalinguistic Aspects of Politeness
Irony and Banter principle principles
Hyperbole and Litotes
Politeness concerns a relationship between
self and other. In conversation, self is
identified as the speaker and other is the
hearer. Beside that, the speaker also shows
politeness to the third parties who may be
present or not in speech situation.
Maxims of Politeness

I TACT MAXIM (a) Minimize cost to other (b) Maximize benefit to other
II GENEROSITY MAXIM(a) Minimize benefit to self (b) Maximize praise to other
III APPROBATION MAXIM (a) Minimize dispraise of other (b) Maximizing praise of other
IV MODESTY MAXIM(a) Minimize praise of self (b) Maximize dispraise of self
V AGREEMENT MAXIM(a) Maximize agreement between self and other (b )Minimize
disagreement between self and other
VI SYMPATHY MAXIM(a) Minimize antipathy between self and other(b) Maximize sympathy
between self and other.
Like tact maxim, the generosity
This maxim is applied in such speech
maxim occurs in commissives and
acts as commissives and directives.
directives.This maxim is centered to
Wont you sit down? self, while the tact maxim is to other.
The speaker uses indirect utterance ''You relax and let me do the dishes
to be more polite and minimizing cost
In this case the speaker implies that
to the hearer. This utterance implies
cost of the utterance is to his self.
that sitting down is benefit to the
Meanwhile, the utterance implies
that benefit is for the hearer.

This maxim instructs to avoid saying unpleasant things about others

and especially about the hearer. It occurs in representatives and
A: The performance was great!
B: Yes, wasnt it!
This expression is a congratulation utterance that maximizes praise
of other. Thus this utterance is included the approbation maxim.

This maxim is applied in representatives and

expressives like the approbation maxim.
Please accept this small gift as prize of your
The speaker maximizes dispraise of himself.

This maxim occurs in representatives. The

disagreement in this maxim, usually is
expressed by regret or partial agreement.
A: English is a difficult language to learn.
B: True, but the grammar is quite easy.

Maximize sympathy between self and other.This maxim is

applicable in representatives.
''Im terribly sorry to hear about your father.
It is a condolence expression which is expressed the
sympathy for misfortune. This utterance is uttered when
the hearer gets calamity of fathers died or sick.

Mainly related to how a conversation is managed and structured by its participants.

- Conversational behavior (interrupting, being silent the wrong time).
- Speech acts (to request a reply, to seek permission for speaking, to apologize for
It is advisable to use the metalinguistic strategies since speech act are like other actions of
involving costs and benefits to self or other.
- Ex: Private Questions (personal Life).
- Offering advice ( other business).
- Bringers of bad news.
Metalinguistic strategies are mostly necessary to engage a person in a conversation, and
how to end a conversation without being rude.

Geoffrey Leech, The Principle of Pragmatics

In his work, Leech describes two politeness features: Over-politeness
The IRONY PRINCIPLE = signifies an avoidance of friendship. If the
addresser uses this to the addressee, it suggests that they are
trying to distance themself from the addressee and show a lack of
friendship or relationship.
The BANTER PRINCIPLE = signifies a bond and a friendship. If the
addresser uses this to the addressee, it suggests that they are trying
to show a strong friendship or relationship.
'What a good friend you are!'
IRONY PRINCIPLE: The addresser uses POLITENESS (good friend) in an
ironic way to signify that they are NOT a good friend.
BANTER PRINCIPLE: The addresser uses IMPOLITENESS (the whole
phrase in an ironic sense) as a way to signify that they ARE a good

Hyperbole is a massive exaggeration, where something is described

in a way that is so inflated that it could not be true.

"He had the strength of ten men."

"She was as big as a house."

"That dog was heavier than a cow!"

Litotes is almost the opposite of hyperbole; it is massive
understatement. With litotes, irony is almost always present, but it
does not rest in the falsity of the comparison so much as it does the
way it is expressed.

"Being tortured with fire must have been somewhat uncomfortable."

"Rap videos with dancers in them are not uncommon."

"There are a few Starbucks in America."

Hyperbole is blatant and obvious, relying on the reader or listener to
recognize the exaggeration and appreciate the humorous effect.
Litotes, on the other hand, presents its understated comparisons in a
much more subdued tone, and it often takes more careful
attention from the reader to recognize it.