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ERIC Number: ED502260
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Politeness Strategies among Native and Romanian Speakers of English
Ambrose, Dominic
Online Submission, Paper presented at the TETA Conference (Timisoara, Romania, 1993-1994)
Background: Politeness strategies vary from language to language and within each society. At times the wrong strategies can have disastrous effects. This can occur when languages are used by non-native speakers or when they are used outside of their own home linguistic context. Purpose: This study of spoken language compares the politeness strategies of native English speakers with those of highly proficient non-native speakers. Focus is on the use of vocabulary items and different sentence structures. The purpose was to see if any significantly different patterns could be discerned and whether these differences could be indicative of different cultural norms. Setting: The study was conducted in Romania, during the year 1994. Study Sample: Forty four completed questionnaires were examined, including an equal number of native speakers and non-native speakers, all of a comparable education level, and all schoolteachers. The native speakers were made up of equal numbers of European speakers (U.K. and Ireland) and North American speakers (U.S. and Canada) and the non-native speakers were all Romanian English teachers. Intervention: The native speakers and the non-native speakers were each given identical questionnaires with hypothetical social situations described for them. They were asked to write down, as accurately as possible, their likely utterances in these contexts. Research Design: Narrative Synthesis; Control or Comparison Condition: Given that the main focus of the study was to examine the use of strategies by non-native speakers, the native speakers could be seen as a control group. Data Collection and Analysis: Since the data was collected in a written form, certain strategies, such as body language and intonation, could not be evaluated. The study concentrated on elements that were measurable in written form, i.e., vocabulary and sentence structure, most notably the use of the word "please" and other vocabulary elements, called "encouragers," as well as use of varying syntactic structures, such as "impositives" and "conventionalized routines." Findings: There were significant differences in the politeness strategies employed by the native speakers and the non-native speakers in the use of all of these elements. There was a marked difference in the use of the word "please" and in the use of encouragers. Conclusion: The much higher frequency of encouragers, and the unconventional placement of "please" by non-native Speakers could be seen as being highly counter-productive in an attempt to establish politeness in English. They seemed to be following rules carried over from the Romanian language. However, the fact that this study was being done in Romania, i.e., in the non-native social context, raised questions of which norms should take precedence, those of the native speakers or those of the host country. (Contains 3 tables.) [This paper was published in: TETA Conference Proceedings, 1993-1994. Casa Corpului Didactic, Timisoara, 1995.]
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Romania