70 CHAPTER FOUR FACTORS DETERMINING THE CHOICE OF ADDRESS FORMS 4.0 Introduction Address forms are generally viewed as the encoding of social information in human interaction. Such information is manifested in the use of pronouns and titles of address. Filmore (1975:76) states that social deixis, that is the use of social coordinates, concerns “those aspects of sentences which reflect or establish or are determined by certain realities of the social situation in which the speech act occurs.” More specifically, Levinson (1983:89) restricts social deixis to “those aspects of language structure that encode the social identities of participants, or the social relationship between them, or between one of them and persons and entities referred to.” Therefore, speech may effectively reflect the social relation holding between interactants in a speech event. Sociolinguistically, AFs have been mainly viewed in terms of Power and Solidarity. For instance, the choice between first name John and the family name with a social honorific Mr. Brown when addressing the same individual is a matter of power and solidarity. That is, the more equal and intimate the speaker is to the addressee, the more he would call him John and the less equal and 71 more distant he is to him, the more he would call him Mr. Brown. Therefore, the choice between first name and honorificized family name almost depends on the type of social relationship between the speaker and the addressee. Thus, Hudson (1980:128) argues that “the linguistic signalling of power and solidarity can be seen as another instance of the way in which a speaker locates himself in his social world when he speaks.” The power-solidarity relationships, as described by Brown and Gilman (1960:105, 107) may vary from one culture to another, thus making room for language-specific, socially deictic phenomena. For example, the tu (‘you’ second person singular)/vous (‘you’ ك second person plural pronoun) distinction in French and the, - َ (‘you’ second person singular pronoun)/- ‘( َكُمyou’ second person masculine plural pronoun) distinction in Standard Arabic have direct indication to the power-solidarity parameter, that is, the use of the plural vous and – كُمto address one individual conventionally ك implicates power of the addressee, while the choice of tu and – َ mitigates the power of the addressee and, at the same time, promotes intimacy and solidarity between speaker and addressee; whereas, English does not exhibit such a distinction in its pronominal system. English, however, may utilize lexical resources to maintain the above distinction; for example, the choice between buddy and Sir in address fulfills, more or less, the same social function. Interestingly, some languages tilt towards power orientation, while others tilt towards solidarity orientation. Nevertheless, it should be borne in mind that the context of situation is the major determinant of the degree of power or solidarity. The following sections will explore 72 the above factors in addition to some more others, such as age, gender, social distance, deference, politeness and register. Special reference will be made to power and politeness as they cut across all other factors. One last point should be clarified before these factors are examined, namely, why the term ‘FACTORS’ is used rather than any other expression? According to Brown and Levinson (1978:79ff), there are universal factors that determine the selection of politeness strategies. These factors are ‘power’, ‘social distance’, and ‘rank of imposition’. Thomas (1995:124ff) also considers these three factors as universal ones in governing indirectness in all languages and cultures, and adds to them a fourth one which is the ‘relative rights and obligations between the speaker and the hearer’. She proceeds by saying that these factors are universal in the sense that ‘they capture the types of consideration likely to govern pragmatic choices in any language, but the way they are applied varies considerably from culture to culture’ (Ibid.). Busse (1998:46f) as well as Trudgill (1983:104) also consider power and solidarity as ‘factors’. However, Leech (1980) calls the first three factors as ‘parameters’. To Brown and Gilman (1960:105) ‘power’ and ‘solidarity’ are relationships between two persons in interaction. It is preferred here to term them as ‘factors’ following Brown and Levinson (1978), Thomas (1995) and Busse (1998), since it is believed that this is a better term and it is also the most recent. All of these factors are going to be discussed following the way they are introduced by the different authors with comments on how they are related to each other. 73 4.1 Power Power refers to the ability of participants to influence one another’s circumstances. It has been defined as ‘the possibility of imposing one’s will upon other persons’ (Holmes, 1995:17) or ‘the ability to control the behaviour of others’ (Brown and Gilman, 1960:105). Brown and Levinson (1978:77 and 1987) define relative power in a relationship as the degree to which one person can impose his/her plans and evaluations at the expense of other people’s. Similarly, Leech (1983:126) discusses power as ‘AUTHORITY’ of one participant over another. It is a relationship between at least two persons, and it is non-reciprocal in the sense that both participants cannot have power in the same area of behaviour. The distribution of power in a particular context may be derived from a variety of sources: physical strength, wealth, age, sex, institutionalized role in church, the state, the army or within the family. The power of an older child over a younger one or of a male over a female are further culturally constructed sources of power in many communities. Whatever the source, high power tends to attract deferential behaviour, including linguistic deference or negative politeness. We generally avoid offending powerful people, and the way we talk to them often expresses respect (Holmes, 1995:16f). Figure (4.1) illustrates power dimension. Superior High power Subordinate Low power Figure (4.1) Power dimension (After Holmes, 1995:17) 74 4.1.1 Power Semantic The character of power semantic (by semantic Brown and Gilman (1960:103) mean the covariation between the pronoun used and the objective relationship existing between speaker and addressee) can be made clear with a set of examples from various languages through history. In his letters, Pope Gregory I (590-604 (as cited in Brown and Gilman, 1960:105)) used T to his subordinates in his ecclesiastical hierarchy and they invariably said V to him (Muller, 1914 (as cited in Brown and Gilman, 1960:105)). In medieval Europe, generally, the nobility said T to the common people and received V; the master of a household said T to his slave, his servant, his squire [in its old sense]1, and received V. Within the family, of whatever social level, parents gave T to children and were given V. In Italy in the fifteenth century penitents said V to the priest and were told T (Grand, 1930). In the fifteenth-century Italian literature, Christians say T to Turks and Jews and receive V (Ibid.). In the plays of Shakespeare (Byrne, 1936 and Busse, 1998 and 1999), the noble principals say T to their subordinates and are given V in return. The V of reverence entered European speech as an AF to the principal power in the state and eventually generalized to the powers within that microcosm of the state—the nuclear family. In the history of language, then, parents are emperor figures. It is worth mentioning here that Freud reversed this terminology and spoke of kings, as well as generals, employers and priests, as father figures. The propriety of Freud’s designation for his psychological purposes derives from the fact that an individual learning a European language reverses the historical order of semantic generalization. The individual’s first experience of subordination to power and of the reverential V comes 75 in his relation to his parents. In later years similar asymmetrical power relations and similar norms of address developed between employee and employer, soldier and officer, subject and monarch. It is clear how it might happen, as Freud believed, that the later social relationships would remind the individual of familial prototype and would revive emotions and responses from childhood. In a man’s personal history, recipients of the non-reciprocal V are parent figures (Brown and Gilman, 1960:106). Since the non-reciprocal power semantic only prescribes usage between superior and inferior, it calls for a social structure in which there are unique power ranks for every individual. Medieval European societies were not so finally structured as that, and so the power semantic was never the only rule for the use of T and V. There were also norms of address for persons of roughly equivalent power, that is members of a common class. Between equals, pronominal address was reciprocal; an individual gave and received the same form. During the medieval period, and for varying times beyond, equals of the upper classes exchanged the mutual V and equals of the lower classes exchanged T (Ibid.). The difference in class practice derives from the fact that the reverential V was always introduced into a society at the top. In the Roman Empire only the highest ranking persons had any occasion to address the emperor, and so at first they made use of V in the singular. In its later history in other parts of Europe the reverential V was usually adopted by one court in imitation of another. The practice slowly disseminated downward in a society. In this way the use of V in the singular incidentally came to connote a speaker of high status. In later centuries Europeans became very conscious of the extensive use of V as a mark of elegance. In the drama of 76 seventeenth-century France the nobility and bourgeoisie almost always address one another as V. This is true even of husband and wife, of lovers, and of parents and child if the child is an adult. Madame de Sévigné in her correspondence never uses T, not even to her daughter the Countesse de Grignan (Schliebitz, 1886 as cited in Brown and Gilman, 1960:107). Servants and peasantry, however, regularly used T among themselves. For many centuries French, English, Italian, Spanish and German pronoun usage followed the rule of non-reciprocal T-V between persons of roughly equivalent power. There was at first no rule differentiating address among equals but, very gradually, a distinction developed which is sometimes called the T of intimacy and the V of formality. Brown and Gilman (Ibid.) name this second dimension solidarity. 4.1.2 Power and Indirectness The general point is that we tend to use a greater degree of indirectness with people who have some power or authority over us than to those who do not. You would probably be more indirect about conveying to your employer that you are annoyed by the fact that he or she always arrives late, than in conveying the same to your brother. This is partly because your employer can influence your career in a positive way, this is called reward power, or in a negative way, that is coercive power (Thomas, 1995:124). These two types of power are most apparent in obviously hierarchical settings, such as courts, the military and the work place. Reward power and coercive power are the most obvious kinds. However, power is present to a degree in all relationships, at least most of the time. Thomas (Ibid.:127f) summarizes her account 77 very briefly. In addition to the two categories already mentioned, we find: 1. Legitimate power, where one person has the right to prescribe or request certain things by virtue of role, age or status. 2. Referent power, where one person has power over another because the other admires and wants to be like him/her in some respect. 3. Expert power where one person has some special knowledge or expertise which the other person needs. ‘Legitimate power’, like reward power and coercive power, remains fairly constant within a relationship; it is the type of power most subject to cross-cultural variation. For example, teachers in some cultures can expect, by virtue of their role and status, that students will routinely perfume certain tasks for them (carry their books, clean the board, even run errands) while in another culture this would be unlikable. ‘Referent power’ is rather different from the other types of power, in that it is often not exerted consciously. It is the sort of power which pop stars and sports idols are alleged to have over the young. ‘Expert power’ is on the whole, more transient than the other types of power discussed above. For example, if an individual has great expertise in, say, computing, s/he may have considerable power over someone who desperately needs to draw on that knowledge. But the computer expert may, in turn, have to defer to the person s/he was instructing earlier when it comes to finding out how to prepare a lemon soufflé (Ibid.). 78 4.2 Solidarity As an AF the original pronoun was T. The use of V in the singular developed as a form of address to a person of superior power (Brown and Gilman, 1960:107). There are many personal attributes that convey power. The recipient of V may differ from the recipient of T in strength, age, wealth, birth, sex or profession. As two people move apart on these power-laden dimensions, one of them begins to say V. In general terms, the V form is linked with differences between persons. Not all differences between persons imply a difference of power. Men are born in different cities, belong to different families of the same status, may attend different but equally prominent schools, may practise different but equally respected professions. A rule for making distinctive use of T and V among equals can be formulated by generalizing the power semantic. Differences of power cause V to emerge in one direction of address; differences not concerned with power cause V to emerge in both directions. The relationships named older than, parent of, employer of, richer than, stronger than and nobler than are all asymmetrical. If A is older than B, B is not older than A (cf. 2.2.2 above). The relation called ‘more powerful than’, which is abstracted from these more specific relations, is also conceived to be asymmetrical. The pronoun usage expressing this power relation, as well as forms of address in general, is also asymmetrical or non-reciprocal, with the greater receiving V and the lesser T. Now, there is a new set of relations which are symmetrical; for example, attend the same school or have the same parents or practise the same profession. If A has the same parents as B, then B has the same parents as A. Solidarity is the name given to the general relationship and it is symmetrical. The 79 corresponding norms of address are symmetrical or reciprocal with V becoming more probable as solidarity declines. The solidarity T reaches a peak of probability in address between twin brothers or in a man’s soliloquizing address to himself. It is obvious that not every personal attribute counts in determining whether two people are solidary enough to use the mutual T. Eye colour does not ordinarily matter nor does shoe size. The similarities that matter are those that make for like-mindedness or similar behaviour dispositions. These will ordinarily be such things as political membership, family, religion, profession, sex, and birthplace. Nevertheless, extreme distinctive values on almost any dimension may become significant. Height ought to make for solidarity among giants and midgets. The T of solidarity can be produced by frequency of contact as well as by objective similarities. However, frequent contact does not necessarily lead to mutual T. It depends on whether contact results in the discovery or creation of the like-mindedness that seems to be the core of the solidarity semantic (Brown and Gilman, 1960:108). 4.2.1 Solidarity Semantic Historically speaking, solidarity comes into the European pronouns as a means of differentiating address among power equals. It introduces a second dimension into the semantic system on the level of power equivalents. So long as solidarity was confined to this level, the two dimensional system was in equilibrium (See Figure (3.1) above), and it seems to have remained here for a considerable time in all languages. It is from the long reign of the two dimensional semantic that T derives its common definition as the pronoun of either condescension or intimacy and V its definition as 80 the pronoun of reverence or formality. These definitions are still current, but usage has gone somewhat beyond them. The dimension of solidarity is potentially applicable to all persons addressed. Power superiors may be solidary (parents, elder siblings) or not solidary (officials whom one seldom sees). Power inferiors, similarly, may be as solidary as the old family retainer and as remote as the waiter in a strange restaurant. Extension of the solidarity dimension along the dotted lines of Figure (3.2) above creates six categories of persons defined by their relations to a speaker. Rules of address are in conflict for persons in the upper left and lower right categories. For the upper left, power indicates T and solidarity V (Ibid.:108). The abstract conflict described in Figure (3.2) above is particularized in Figure 4.2(a) below with a sample of the social dyads in which the conflict would be felt. In each case usage in one direction is unequivocal but, in the other direction, the two semantic forces are opposed. The first three dyads in Figure 4.2(a) involve conflict in address to inferiors who are not solidary (the lower right category of Figure (3.2)), and the second three dyads involve conflict in address to inferiors who are not solidary (the lower right category of Figure (3.2)), and the second three dyads involve conflict in address to superiors who are solidary (the upper left category in Figure (3.2)). Through the nineteenth century the power semantic prevailed and waiters, common soldiers and employees were called T while parents, masters, and elder brothers were called V. However, in the twentieth century, all the evidence consistently indicates that the solidarity semantic has gained supremacy (Ibid.:109). Dyads of the type shown in Figure 4.2 (a) now 81 reciprocate the pronoun of solidarity or the pronoun of non-solidarity. The conflicted address has been resolved so as to match the unequivocal address. The abstract result is a simple one-dimensional system with the reciprocal T for the solidarity and the reciprocal V for the non-solidary. customer officer employer T V V T V V T V V waiter soldier employee parent master elder brother T T V T T V T T V son faithful servant younger brother (a) customer officer employer V V V waiter soldier employee parent master elder brother T T T son faithful servant younger brother (b) Figure (4.2) Social dyads involving (a) semantic conflict and (b) their resolution (After Brown and Gilman, 1960:110) It is the present practice to reinterpret power-laden attributes so as to turn them into symmetrical solidarity attributes. Relationships like older than, father of, nobler than and richer 82 than are now reinterpreted for purposes of T and V as relations of the same age as, the same family as, the same kind of ancestry as and the same income as. In the degree that these relationships hold, the probability of a mutual T increases and, in the degree that they do not hold, the probability of a mutual V increases (Ibid.:110). There is an interesting residual of the power relation in the contemporary notion that the right to initiate the reciprocal T belongs to the member of the dyad having the better power-based claim to say T without reciprocation. The suggestion that solidarity be recognized comes more gracefully from the elder than the younger, from the richer than from the poorer, from the employer than the employee, from the noble than from the commoner, from the female than from the male. In most Western societies today, what Brown and Gilman (1960:110f) call the solidarity semantic has increasingly displaced the power semantic in many contexts; ‘solidarity has largely won out over power.’ In other words, solidarity is generally given more weight than power in determining appropriate linguistic behaviour. Despite power differences, people who know each other will use first names reciprocally for instance. 4.3 Social Distance The term ‘social distance’ (Leech, 1983:126) is the opposite of Brown and Gilman’s (1960) ‘solidarity factor’. Social distance can be seen as a composite of sociolinguistically real factors (status, age, sex, degree of intimacy, etc.) which together determine the overall degree of respectfulness within a given speech situation (Thomas, 1995:128). This means that if you feel close to someone, 83 because that person is related to you, or you know him or her well or are similar in terms of age, social class, occupation, sex, ethnicity, etc., you feel less need to employ honorifics. Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish between Power and Social Distance and even some studies conflate the two (cf. Blum- Kulka, House and Kasper, 1989). The reason they are so often confused is that power and social distance very frequently co- occur. We tend to be socially distant from those in power over us, for instance in the work place. But this is by no means always the case; Aeginitou (1995) clearly shows how in the language classroom students are often close to their teachers, even though there is a marked inequality of power. In the following example, the interactants are in an unequal power relationship, however, they are quite close to one another, as revealed by the address forms used: - This is an extract from an authentic interview between a detective superintendent and a detective constable of the Thames Valley police: DS: … that’s the way. Come back bloody fighting. Let’s have, let’s have some grit about it. DC: I know governor, now I’ve done that … The detective constable is being disciplined and transferred from the plain clothes to the uniformed division of the police (which he regards as a demotion). For the first ten minutes of the interaction the detective constable has used only very formal language, although the detective superintendent addresses him by his first name throughout; up to this point, the detective constable 84 has addressed his superior officer as ‘Sir’ no fewer than eleven times. Just before this extract begins, the detective constable has started to cry, and the detective superintendent changes his tone somewhat, speaking to him ‘man to man’, swearing ‘bloody’ and using informal terms ‘grit’. The detective constable responded by addressing him as ‘governor’ which marks a close, but still subordinate relationship. Obviously, social distance and power interact. Negative politeness strategies tend both to express distance and emphasize power distinctions. Western societies, at least, tend to treat strangers and superiors very similarly. Positive politeness strategies express solidarity and also emphasize equality between participants. Where people tend to emphasize social distance, the norms may require reciprocal negative politeness—both sides will use formal titles, for instance. Where people want to reduce social distance, despite a power or status difference, reciprocal positive politeness tends to prevail, for example both sides will use reciprocal first names. While between equals, politeness strategies will be determined by factors other than power (e.g., social distance, and the formality of the context). So the way you talk to your closest friend will depend on where you are talking. 4.4 Formality Context is a fundamental influence on the choice of AFs. Brown and Gilman (1960) do not mention this factor in their study. Holmes (1995:19) considers it fundamental. If we consider a formal setting, such as a law court or ceremonial occasion, speakers tend to focus on transactional role rather than personal relationships and negative politeness is the prevalent pattern (cf. 4.7 below). Brothers 85 who are barristers will refer to each other in court as my learned colleague. A Minister’s secretary will generally address him/her as Minister in a formal meeting, but reciprocal first names are more likely between them in private. School pupils may use a teacher’s first name in out of school activities, but back in the classroom the asymmetrical pattern of title plus last name for the teacher and first name for the pupil will reassert itself. Similarly, in languages with a T/V distinction, the V form may be considered the appropriately polite form for very formal contexts, regardless of the personal relationships involved. The formality dimension is not explicitly treated as a separate factor in the politeness models of Leech (1983) and Brown and Levinson (1978, 1987). They assume that in the analysis of any particular interaction, situational factors are satisfactorily accounted for as components of other dimensions such as power and social distance (Brown and Levinson, 1978:79). This emphasizes the fact that assessments of relative power and social distance are always context-dependent. The relative power, for example, between you and your boss will be assessed differently at a meeting in the workplace compared to a meeting at the swimming pool. Nevertheless, it has proved more useful to take account explicitly of the relative formality of the context, especially in the analysis of certain features of interaction such as amount of talk and verbal feedback. In the following two examples, the context of the first situation is very formal, the addressee is referred to in the third person and the language is formal and distant by using typical negative politeness devices such as the word please. In the functionally equivalent utterance 2, the address form love is a 86 positive politeness device, and the form of the request is a very direct question, reflecting the intimacy of the relationship, and the informality of the context. (1) Judge to witness in law court. - The witness will please repeat his response to the last question for the benefit of the jury. (2) Husband to wife at home. - mm? What was that love? Note that in different circumstances, such as a question from a prosecutor in court to an accused person, i.e., the question what was that? might be experienced as very threatening. Clearly, linguistic behaviour is powerfully affected by context, and by people’s perceptions of the appropriate usage of a particular context. 4.5 Gender Different groups use different linguistic strategies for the same purpose. Women and men are no exceptions. The same utterance may be used and interpreted differently by different social groups including women and men. Just as a gift expresses solidarity and appreciation in some cultures, but is a form of one-upping a rival in others, so at least some compliments may be accepted as tokens of solidarity by women but experienced as an embarrassment by men (Tannen, 1991:295f; cf. also Tannen, 1994). The same is likely to be true of the choice of address forms. For example, Holmes (1995:153) cites an interaction among members of a rugby team in the locker room before a match where the team members insult and abuse each other using AFs of ‘sexual humiliation’ as a means of creating group solidarity through the loss of face. Insults function for these men as 87 expressions of solidarity, whereas women prefer compliments for this function. It also seems that the way men use compliments to women, in particular, may reflect the subordinate status of women in the society generally. Like endearments, compliments gain their force from the context of the relationship in which they are used. When they are used non-reciprocally by superiors to subordinates, they may underline patterns of societal power which place women in a clearly subordinate position to men. Holmes (Ibid.:19) states that women are regarded as a subordinate or less powerful group than men in many communities, and this is, not surprisingly, often reflected in different politeness devices used by and addressed to women. The precise weighting to be given to power or status in relation to gender in any society is a matter for investigation. If one accepts the view that women are generally a subordinate group relative to men, then the interaction of gender and other factors which contribute to the assessment of relative power is clearly a complex matter. When a boss and her female secretary know each other, and not necessarily close friends, for example, either may use first names; but the case is different with a boss and her male secretary. It seems possible also that women and men may have different perceptions of appropriate linguistic behaviour in different contexts. The interaction patterns of women and men, for instance, are very different in formal, public contexts and informal private contexts. To some extent this may reflect the different emphasis that women and men appear to put on the functions of interaction in different contexts (Ibid.:21). 88 4.6 Deference Deference is frequently equated with politeness, particularly in discussions of Japanese. It is really connected with politeness; but it is a distinct phenomenon. It is the opposite of familiarity. It refers to the respect we show to other people by virtue of their higher status, greater age, etc. Politeness is a more general matter of showing, or rather of giving the appearance of showing consideration to others. Both deference and politeness can be manifested through general social behaviour; we can show deference by standing up when a person of superior status enters a room, or show politeness by holding a door open to allow someone else to pass through, as well as by linguistic means (Thomas, 1995:150). In fact, Brown and Levinson (1978:183ff) consider deference as a negative politeness strategy. However, both deference and politeness will be treated as factors in determining the choice of AFs in the present study. Deference is built into the grammar of languages such as Korean and Japanese. It is also found in a much reduced form in the grammar of those languages which have a ‘T/V system’, languages such as French, German and Russian in which there is a choice of second person pronoun: tu/vous, du/Sie, TbI/BbI. In French, for example, you have to make a choice between the pronoun tu and vous in addressing someone; although it is theoretically possible to avoid the problem by using the pronoun on, it would be extremely difficult to keep this up for long. This means that speakers of languages which make the T/V distinction are obliged, because of the linguistic choices they must make, to signal either respect or familiarity towards their interlocutor. In the grammar of present-day English, which, in its standardized form, ceased to make the T/V distinction (thou/you) between three and four hundred years ago, virtually no 89 deference forms remain. Exceptions are address forms (Doctor, Professor, etc.) and the use of ‘honorifcs’ such as Sir or Madam which may be used to indicate the relative status of the interactants. Conversely, first names (Richard, Catherine) or diminutives of those first names (Dick, Kate) are used to show a friendly, non-deferential relationship. (cf. 18.104.22.168 above). Outside the address system, it is really very difficult to find markers of deference in present-day English. Thomas (1995:151) cites an exceedingly rare exception: - A British Member of Parliament, Tim Devlin, was referring to the Queen’s ceremonial speech at the State Opening of Parliament. ‘This year there were substantial references to Europe in the Gracious Speech.’ As indicated above, it is very unusual in English to find deference explicitly grammatically signalled by anything other than address forms. In languages such as Japanese and Korean, however, many parts of speech, nouns and adjectives as well as verbs and pronouns, can be ‘unmarked’ or marked for deference. Matsumoto (1989:209) demonstrates that it is impossible in Japanese to avoid marking the relationship between speaker and hearer. She gives the example of a simple declarative: Today is Saturday. In English, the same grammatical form could be used regardless of the hearer’s social status. In Japanese the copula would be plain (da), ‘deferential’ (desu), or ‘super deferential’ (degozaimasu) according to the status of the addressee. As Ide (1989:229f) discussing Matsumoto notes, the choice of the honorific or plain form of the copula is not a matter of individual choice, it is ‘an obligatory choice 90 among variants’, reflecting the speaker’s sense of place or role in a given situation according to social conventions. The reason why deference is said to have little to do with pragmatics is that generally, unless the speaker deliberately wishes to flout the behavioural norms of a given society, the speaker has no choice as to whether to use the deferent form or not, usage is dictated by sociolinguistic norms. Thus a soldier has no real choice about addressing a superior officer as Sir or Ma’am, military discipline dictates the forms used: it is a sociolinguistic norm, with penalties attached to a non-observance of the norm, and does not necessarily indicate any real respect or regard for the individual so addressed. The following incident occurred at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst (Thomas, 1995:152): - The speaker was the Academy Sergeant Major (one of the few ranks of non-commissioned officer normally addressed as ‘Sir’). He was talking to a newly-arrived group of officer cadets: “You will address me as ‘Sir’ at all times and I will also address you as ‘Sir’. The difference is that you will mean it!” If the use of a particular form is obligatory in a particular situation, as in the above example, it is of no significance pragmatically; it is only when there is choice, or when a speaker attempts to bring about change by challenging the current norms, that the use of deferent or non-deferent forms becomes of interest to the pragmaticist. Address forms, the use of T or V forms (tu versus vous), etc., are pragmatically interesting only when a strategic choice is made; for example, when, one suddenly starts to address someone 91 by his or her first name or using a T form with the deliberate aim of changing the social relationship. It is also worth noting that the use of a deferent form does not in and of itself convey respect. The following exchange is cited by Thomas (Ibid.). She overheard it as she was staying with a French family in the late 1960s, when it was exceedingly unusual for children to address their parents using vous-form but for some reason in that family they did. The speaker manages to express extreme disrespect, while using conventional forms of address: - The speaker was a boy of about sixteen. ‘Mère, vous me faites chier!’ Outside the appropriate sociolinguistic situation, the use of a deference marker can convey the very reverse of respect. In the following extract, the speaker exploits the address system, using an inappropriately elaborate and deferential form of address to his wife, in order to imply that she is behaving in an unnecessarily pretentious way: - The speaker and his wife have driven a long way and are both very hungry. However, the wife keeps refusing to stop at the diners they pass, because she thinks they look too down-marked: ‘What was the matter with the ‘Elite Diner’, milady?’ Finally, one can demonstrate that politeness and deference are distinct, though related systems, by noting that it is possible to be deferential without being polite, as in the following: 92 - Brian Wilson, Labour M.P. for Cunninghame North, was addressing Nicholas Soames, Conservative M.P. for Crawley, during the ‘poll tax’ debate in1988: BW: Does the honourable member for Crawley wish to intervene? NS : No. BW: The last time I saw a mouth like that it had a hook in it. The speaker uses an elaborate deference form, while at the same time impolitely implying that Mr. Soames looked like a trout. In the following example, the use of the colloquial form Gaffer (meaning the boss) as a form of reference or of address indicates that the speaker is in a subordinate position, but conveys no politeness whatever. Its use in this context conveys contempt. - An agricultural student, Ruth Archer, is referring to the estate foreman, whom she dislikes and mistrusts. - What does old Gaffer Knowles want? 4.7 Politeness The terms politeness and polite have been used again and again in the preceding sections, as is common when AFs are discussed. Therefore, special attention will be paid to discussing it as a factor influencing the choice of AFs as well as a phenomenon. The question of politeness often arises when there is interlingual contact, for example, in foreign language instruction. A question like How are you? for example, can be irritating in interlingual contact, since it is a post-greeting routine in some languages and need not be answered (at least not honestly), while 93 being an expression of a truly personal concern in others (cf. Al- Taii, 1998:21). Politeness phenomena of this kind are often compared and questions like ‘Which language is most polite?’ are always raised, and lead to the conclusions like: “The Polish (or Japanese) people are very polite, they always use titles, and they kiss a lady’s hand when saying hello.” or “In America, everyone uses first names, salespersons address customers as honey or buddy, and people are generally very informal.” (Braun and Schubert, 1986:3f). Apart from the fact that conclusions like these are much too generalizing, and that monolingual native speakers do not normally feel impolite or overpolite in adhering to the rules valid in their community, the question arises, what politeness actually consists of. AFs are good examples of politeness expressions, for the system of address appears to be elaborated in all languages taking into consideration that there is no language which does not possess several address variants, at least nominal ones. The following sections will deal with (1) Negative and positive face manifested in Address forms, (2) Politeness in dyadic address exchange, (3) The ambiguity of politeness, and (4) Politeness in contrast. 4.7.1 Negative and Positive Face Manifested in Address Forms The concepts of negative and positive face and of negative and positive politeness are central to the Brown and Levinson theory (1978, 1987). In general, negative face concerns the preservation of the sacredness of the individual by means of the negative rites of 94 avoidance. Positive face also concerns the scaredness of the individual, but it is preserved by means of the positive rites of approach, exaltation and affirmation. The maintenance of negative face requires the achievement of distance. Vertical distance is created by deference (See 4.6 above), the acknowledgement of the lack of common status. The use of Your Majesty or Mr. President identifies the hearer as the occupant of an exalted, sacred and remote position. These are extreme examples; more attenuated notions of deference are preserved in more mundane everyday AFs, such as ‘Mr.’. Horizontal distance, that is, distance between equals, is created by mutual deference, as when two strangers address each other by ‘Mr. Smith’ and ‘Mr. Jones’. Distance can be created in other ways, for example through impersonalisation. Impersonalisation in this sense is the denial of individuality. For example, the use of ‘Sir’ identifies the hearer only as a member of a category (all adult males) rather than as a unique individual (Mr. B. Mapheus Smith) (Wood and Kroger, 1991:146f). The maintenance of positive face requires the achievement of closeness and common identity. These can be created by personalisation and by the use of so-called identity markers. The mutual use of first names signifies that speaker and hearer ‘belong’ as does the use of ‘sister’ in feminist discourse and the use of ‘brother’ among unrelated blacks. Forms of endearment, as darling, are the ultimate indices of closeness and intimacy (Ibid.). 4.7.2 Politeness in Dyadic Address Exchange Wood and Kroger (1991:148f) focus their study on six particular exchanges of AFs: TLN/FN (speaker sends title and last 95 name and receives first name); KT + / FN (speaker sends ascending kin title and receives first name), FN/TLN, TLN/TLN, FN/FN, and FN/KT+. These include the basic forms identified by Brown and Ford (1961); however, those exchanges involving kin titles are added because of the implications of the latter for considering solidarity in unequal relationship. 22.214.171.124 Title + Last Name (TLN) The use by a speaker of TLN is potentially an instance of two negative politeness strategies, ‘Impersonalise’, and ‘show deference’. Although Brown and Levinson (1978, 1987) do not mention the use of TLN specifically under Impersonalisation, they do include the plural pronoun ‘you’, and as they discuss under ‘deference’, (see also Brown and Gilman, 1960), plural ‘you’ and TLN can serve similar functions. As impersonalisation strategies, both plural ‘you’ and TLN produce distance. TLN serves to show deference only if it is used non-reciprocally. More specifically TLN is deferential only if the speaker is in turn addressed by a more intimate, personal form, such as FN. 126.96.36.199 Kinship Terms (KT) The use of KTs is an instance of positive politeness strategy, ‘use in-group identity markers’. When they are used non- reciprocally, as is the case in Western cultures, kin titles serve to show deference, that is negative politeness. 188.8.131.52 First Name (FN) The use of FN is potentially also an instance of the positive 96 politeness strategy. ‘Use in-group identity markers’, in which case it indicates intimacy. However, when it is used non-reciprocally, it can also serve to indicate the opposite of deference, namely condescension (Brown, 1965). Brown and Levinson do not discuss condescension, because their attention is focused largely on politeness strategies. Condescension is not a politeness strategy. Rather, it is a face-threatening acts; it threatens the positive face of the hearer by suggesting that the hearer’s worth is less than that of the speaker (Wood and Kroger, 1991:148). The question arises as to whether the non-reciprocal use of FN can simultaneously indicate both intimacy and condescension. In exchanges involving kin titles (FN/KT + , e.g. John/Dad), this is clearly the case; the speaker might be described as simultaneously threatening face and redressing the face-threat. The exchange FN/TLN is more problematic. In the sequences of address exchange described by Brown and Ford (1961), the use of FN by one member of a dyad who previously exchanged mutual TLN is identified as a move towards intimacy, and this interpretation is reasonable. However, if the exchange in a particular dyad has always been non-reciprocal FN/TLN, the use of FN is not an indication that the speaker feels close to the hearer. Rather, non-reciprocal FN serves to indicate the relative power or status of the speaker and it functions as unredressed face-threat. This does not mean necessarily that the speaker does not feel close to the hearer, but it suggests that any such feelings will be signalled in some other way. Further, because closeness is likely to be a reciprocal feeling, it would be expected that these other signals would be reciprocated, that is, the hearer would also be ‘personal’ in some way, whereas the hearer’s use of TLN clearly does not signal intimacy. The speaker’s use of FN in 97 FN/TLN exchanges thus remains potentially ambiguous (cf. 4.7.3 below). The use of professional titles or multiple names (MN) is excluded as they can be considered as variations on the basic forms. They essentially represent degrees in the elements of politeness; for example, both FN and MN represent positive politeness, but MN is a stronger form. 4.7.3 The Ambiguity of Politeness Most languages have two pronouns of address, or even more, one of which is usually called ‘intimate’ and the other one ‘polite’ (Brown and Gilman (1960) and Brown and Ford (1961)). This is the case with German du and Sie, French tu and vous, English thou and you, Arabic َ أنم َ , أنمand ُُ . أنمSuch labelling is vague, of course, as the respective culture determines where and when linguistic politeness is expected. But even within one culture, a characterization as ‘polite’ pronoun is not exact, because the use of a form such classified need not always be polite while the other pronoun implying the feature ‘-polite’, may be the really polite only in certain contexts (Braun, 1988:46). The following sections will elaborate this point. 184.108.40.206 Impolite Use of Polite Address Forms When there is an opposition of a second person singular pronoun and a second person plural pronoun in address, the singular form mostly is the original and intimate form, whereas the plural was invented for expressing politeness. For example, the German polite pronoun of address Sie would lose its connotation of politeness when a student uses it in 98 addressing his/her fellow-students with Sie. This would be regarded as queer, not as exceptionally polite. Within the family, a mother addressed with Sie would consider this a joke and not a polite compliment. Another example for the impolite use of polite forms is the use of polite nominal forms such as Sir when addressing someone who is inferior or equal to the addresser, for instance when a mother addresses her son as Sir. 220.127.116.11 Polite Use of ‘Non-Polite’ Address Forms Just as a polite form of address can take negative connotations, a ‘non-polite’ form can, vice versa, express respect and solemnity. Forms like ‘Mr. + last name’ are considered as polite because they are used to superiors. However, a form used to inferiors, for instance a kinship form as uncle, as used in Turkish, when used for example to an old taxi driver, can also be considered as polite (Braun, 1988:49) since one is treating him as one’s own uncle. The switch to the T pronoun in addressing the King of Denmark reported in Jacobsen (1949:86 as cited in Braun, 1988:49) is an example of a violation of norms which was not perceived as impolite, but was considered an excellent style. Again, certain forms are classified as polite, but the use of the contrasting ‘non-polite’ variant can be claimed to be polite as well. 18.104.22.168 What is New is Polite A possibly universal phenomenon is conspicuous in regard to the introduction of forms of politeness: when a new pronoun of 99 address or indirect address turns up in addition to an existing pronoun of address and refers to the same person, that is, the collocutor, but differs from the older one in the degree of politeness, then the new form is always more polite. Braun (1988:57f) believes that there is no language where a new AF was introduced because the old pronoun of address being too polite, that is, where speakers needed a way of approaching their collocutors more closely than was possible with the usual pronoun. It should be noted that the use of politeness expressions occasionally undergoes rapid changes. This happens when upper class speakers use a pronoun of address to members of lower classes; in a further step the variant is restricted to address among lower class speakers. The pronoun then becomes a symbol of lower classes, while its degree of respect decreases. When a polite pronoun has descended like this, it can be opposed to a newer one as a non-polite variant. Sometimes, a descending polite pronoun completely displaces the old second person singular pronoun. This is the case with English ‘thou’ and ‘you’. The above explanation confirms the observation that a new form of address supplemented to a pronoun not marked as polite is always more polite than the older one. 22.214.171.124 Polite Forms of Address Wearing Out It has already been mentioned that in many cases it is the upper classes who introduce polite forms of address into a speech community. These forms expand, not only in the sense of becoming known and used by more speakers, but often, and not always, also by being used in a higher number of communicative situations, that is, by gaining a wider field of application. As the example of 100 English you shows, this may lead to the disappearance of the old second person singular pronoun from language usage. But subsequent to this development, English you became a universal pronoun of address appropriate for any situation and hence corresponding to the universal thou (thee) before the differentiation of pronominal address. This development, as well as many others in different languages, (cf. Ibid.:58ff) shows that a polite expression can retain its polite meaning only as a part of the system. You is polite only as long as it is opposed to thou. When thou loses frequency, the polite connotation of you is worn out to the same extent. In this respect there is direct interdependence between the use of an expression and its degree of politeness (its use being interdependent with that of other expressions designating the collocutor). The observation made by Altmann and Riška (1966:3) seems to contradict the above description. They argue that there are politeness expressions which have a polite meaning although a non- polite equivalent is missing. In German, for example, a word like Herr is an expression of politeness only as long as it participates in a system together with other variants. In the case of Herr, another variant is the non-use of Herr. There are male persons, for example, children, who are not addressed as Herr in German. The fact that Herr, on the other hand, has a wide range of application leads to a rather high degree of fading. The case of English you is different. There is no collocutor who cannot be addressed with you (as a bound form), so that you has not preserved any trace of its former politeness. 101 Braun (1988:60f) claims that the more an expression wears out, the more the probability increases of its acquiring the meaning which should actually only be alluded to. Typical examples of this are nouns and adjectives used in indirect address. Indirect address occurs in many languages, and sometimes these nominal bound forms are pronominalized in the course of time. Polish pan/pani ‘Mr./Mrs.’ as used in indirect address are already in their way to becoming pronominalized. Pronominalization of forms which were introduced in order to avoid the pronoun of address is a typical case of wearing out. Silveberg (1940:514) presumes that, in the evolution of human language, the pronoun came into being as a part of an avoidance process, replacing the tabooed name as a substitute. If the cause for avoiding a certain expression continues to exist after the substitute is worn out, the necessity arises to replace the substitute, now too direct itself, with a new term of avoidance. Such a repetition of the avoidance and substitution process can indeed be observed, especially with pronouns of address. One example is found in the evolution from Latin to Spanish: In Latin, vos is introduced as a polite pronoun for a single addressee; in Spanish, the polite connotation of vos fades away, so that vos is displaced by indirect address (later pronominalized as usted) in some varieties, while it in turn displaces tú in other varieties, which also introduce usted (voseo). 4.7.4 Politeness in Contrast The always raised question as which language is most polite can be considered in the light of the following reflections. 102 (1) If politeness is defined in terms of adequacy, then all languages are equally polite, since they all have forms of address at their disposal, which, according to their rules of application, are adequate in different situations. Any speaker of a language has the opportunity to adhere to the rules and to choose those forms which best suit his/her relationship to the addressee. Internal rules in any language determine what is considered adequate. So there is adequate, hence polite, behaviour in any language. (2) If politeness is defined as the high position of a form in a hierarchical arrangement of variants, then comparison of languages will reveal differences in the number of positions on such a scale. The different ways of dividing the continuum produce gradation, which are more or less differentiated. In evaluating these differences two attitudes can be considered: (a) The difference is regarded as a difference in the range of the individual forms only. A language with four polite pronouns, for example, divides the polite end of the scale into smaller sections, while a language with only one polite pronoun covers the entire area with only one form. However, since both languages possess forms to cover the upper part of the scale, both languages are equally polite. (b) The second attitude proceeds from the number of variants occupying the upper ranks on the politeness scale of a language. The tendency to provide extra forms for high-status positions instead of including them into a domain of general politeness or even refraining from differentiation, for example English you, might then be regarded as polite. The tendency of making status 103 gradation explicit by using special forms of address for special statuses, and to treat superiors different from inferiors or peers could be called politeness. In this sense, these would indeed be ‘polite’ languages and ‘less polite’ languages. Yet, it seems reasonable to look for the cause of politeness or non-politeness in the social structure of a community rather than assuming a particular mental trait in the group. The impression that certain languages are particularly polite does not only result from a finer gradation of the scale, but frequently from literal, hence inadequate translation of polite expressions in a foreign language. The foreign variant is then evaluated according to the degree of respect signalled by its translation in the native address system (Braun, 1988:62). Still another conclusion may be derived from interlingual differences in systems of address—or even in polite forms in general: One might assume that a language community lacking a certain variant which is found in another language, also lacks the degree of respect that goes with it. Not only the division of the respect scales might differ, but also the scales themselves, so that the respect scale of a language with four or five polite pronouns would reach higher than the respect scale of a language with only one pronoun. The different shapes of address systems would then correspond to different ways of experiencing interpersonal relationships. There would not only be differences in linguistic politeness, but differences in the very feeling of respect. This assumption, though looks attractive, lies outside the area of the scientifically verifiable, since there is no method of determining people’s feelings and attitudes towards others in an objective way (Ibid.). 104 4.8 Register For the sake of completeness, a brief discussion of register is included. The term register refers to ‘systematic variation in relation to social context’ (Lyons, 1977:584) or the way in which ‘the language we speak or write varies according to the type of situation’ (Halliday, 1978:32). Certain situations, for example very formal meetings or types of language use, for instance report-writing versus writing a note to a close friend, as well as certain social relationships, require more formal language use. This ‘formality’ may manifest itself in English by the choice of formal lexis and forms of address, the avoidance of interruption, etc., while in languages such as Japanese and Korean the formality will be marked additionally by forms such as Japanese degozaimasu discussed earlier. Register has little to do with politeness and little connection with pragmatics, since there is no real choice about whether or not to use formal language in formal situation, unless we are prepared to risk sanctions, such as social censure. Like deference, register is primarily a sociolinguistic phenomenon: a description of the linguistic forms which generally occur in a particular situation. Choice of register has little to do with strategic use of language and it only becomes of interest to the pragmaticist if a speaker deliberately uses unexpected forms in order to change the situation, in the same way that we may switch from a V to T form in order to change a social relationship, or to challenge the status quo. Examples of the former might be if a prospective postgraduate student dropped into a university department for a chat and something which began as an informal, information-seeking event was changed by one of the participants into a formal admission interview. An example of the 105 latter would be if you decided to disrupt a stuffy meeting by using language not normally associated with that particular type of event, such as cracking jokes or making fun of the person chairing the meeting (Thomas, 1995:154f). 4.9 Conclusion The factors governing the choice of address forms are so varied and, partly, so culture-specific that it is hard to fit them into a general theoretical frame. Not all of them can easily be traced back to the more abstract notions of superiority/inferiority, distance/intimacy, formality/informality, etc. For example, in Arabic, the extra linguistic feature “+ beard” can determine whether unknown male adults receive the term شيخwhich characterizes the addressee as a religious person. Wearing a beard (moustache will not suffice) is interpreted as a typical feature of a faithful Muslim, just as a certain way of clothing may be. Appearance certainly is not an uncommon factor in selecting address variants, especially when strangers are concerned. Still it remains doubtful how to evaluate the use of شخin this situation is employed because the addressee looks like one, and it is difficult to say what this means in terms of superiority/inferiority, distance/intimacy or any other similar notions. A modern, Westernized Arab person might consider a religious and traditional role, such as , شيخinferior or backward, whereas an Arab person with a traditional background might consider this a dignified position in society. Especially for an observer who is not a member of the respective culture, the interpretation of such an AF and the social َ role connected with it may present a problem. In the شيخ case, there is also no formal clue that could facilitate an evaluation, such as honorific plural might do. There may be AFs which simply 106 cannot be grasped with the help of well-known general parameters such as age, status, sex, etc. The same is true, as far as appearance is concerned, with a man well-dressed in Western clothes who might be illiterate, but still, he might be called ُ( أُسممprofessor) by strangers. Thus regularities of address can reasonably be suggested only by referring to a single-address system first. Only one long-time observation and interlingual comparison will show if any rule can claim the status of a universal. Because of the diversity of languages and societies, however, it may well be that few actually can. 107 NOTE TO CHAPTER FOUR 1 Squire is used here to mean a young man who was an assistant to a KNIGHT before becoming a KNIGHT himself (OALD, 2004).
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