i love english language

Are there male and female conversational strategies?

Posted in Uncategorized by aggslanguage on June 13, 2011

Do men and women adopt different strategies in conversation?


Godwin’s Aggravated Directives – using direct commands more – such as “gimme”, “get off”


Godwin’s Mitigated Directives – favouring indirect commands such as “let’s…” & using modal auxiliaries “we could…”


Grice’s Conversational Maxim of Quantity – a contribution should be as informative as is required, being neither too little, nor too much.


Grice’s Conversational Maxim of Relevance – speakers’ contributions should relate clearly to the purpose of the exchange.


Grice’s Conversational Maxim of Manner – speakers’ contributions should be perspicuous: clear, orderly and brief, avoiding obscurity and ambiguity.


Leech’s Tact Maxim: minimise cost to other / maximise benefit to other


Leech’s Generosity Maxim: minimise benefit to self / maximise cost to self


Leech’s Approbation Maxim: minimise dispraise of other / maximise praise of other


Leech’s Modesty Maxim: minimise praise of self / maximise dispraise of self


Leech’s Agreement Maxim: minimise disagreement between self and other / maximise agreement between self and other


Leech’s Sympathy Maxim: minimise antipathy between self and other / maximise sympathy between self and other


Brown & Levinson’s bald on-record strategy does nothing to minimize threats to the hearer’s “face”


Brown & Levinson’s Positive Politeness Strategy shows you recognize that your hearer has a desire to be respected. It also confirms that the relationship is friendly and expresses group reciprocity: pay attention, seek agreement, presuppose common ground, avoid disagreement, make jokes, etc.


Brown & Levinson’s Negative Politeness Strategy – recognizes the hearer’s face, but it also recognizes that you are in some way imposing on them e.g. “I don’t want to bother you but…” or “I was wondering if…”


Brown & Levinson’s Off-Record Indirect Strategy: take some of the pressure off of you. You are trying to avoid the direct Face Threatening Act of asking for a beer. Instead you would rather it be offered to you once your hearer sees that you want one.




Face – (as in lose face) refers to a speaker’s sense of linguistic and social identity. Any speech act may impose on this sense, and is therefore face threatening. And speakers have strategies for lessening the threat. Positive politeness means being complimentary and gracious to the addressee (but if this is overdone, the speaker may alienate the other party). Negative politeness is found in ways of mitigating the imposition.


Self-Oriented Phatic Tokens are personal to the speaker: I’m not up to this, My feet are killing me.


Other-Oriented Tokens are related to the hearer: Do you work here? You seem to know what you’re doing.


A Neutral Token refers to the context or general state of affairs: Cold, isn’t it? Lovely flowers.


Vocative – using the other person’s name or title in order to endear them to you or create a more intimate connection


Hedging: Being indirect in order to avoid offence: Er, could you, er, perhaps, close the, um , window


Positive Politeness – pay attention, seek agreement, presuppose common ground, avoid disagreement, make jokes, etc.


Negative Politeness – be indirect, question, hedge, give deference, be apologetic


Positive Face Needs – use greetings, compliments & appropriate terms of address


Negative Face Needs – using hedges and apologies to avoid face-threatening behavior


Footing – how people align themselves to what they are saying


Deference – to look to the other person when any decision is to be made or judgement is called for – Excuse me, sir, would you mind if I asked you to close the window?


Apologizing – in order to minimise the imposition, the speaker chooses to lay any blame in themselves : I’m terribly sorry to put you out, but could close the window?


Impersonalizing – to distance themselves from any offence that might be caused, the speaker opts to be the mouthpiece of a higher authority: The management requires all windows to be closed.


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