University of Valencia, Faculty of Education (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Page: 3422 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This study is part of a larger study on agreements and disagreements and politeness issues in EFL discourse. In spite of the growing body of research on politeness issues in English as second/foreign language teaching and learning (e.g., Beebe and Waring, 2005; Cook, 2001; García-Pastor, 2012; Kärkkäinen, 1992; Kasper, 2006; Mugford 2008, 2012; etc.), im/politeness investigations on discourses in which English is not used as a first language are still scant. This investigation aims to modestly contribute to this neglected area of research by focusing on learners’ perceptions of politeness and impoliteness in disagreement sequences in EFL. Students’ perceptions of politeness and impoliteness in general have also been explored. To this end, a questionnaire was delivered to 86 learners in order to examine their everyday notions of im/politeness, and these notions regarding disagreements. Learners’ responses to the questionnaire were analysed following the distinction between im/politeness at the individual level and im/politeness at the social level (cf. Mills, 2009). Learners showed general agreement regarding commonsense notions of im/politeness, and their perceptions of these notions in relation to disagreements. At a social level, politeness was equated with politically correct behaviour, and impoliteness with politically incorrect behaviour, with the former conceived as socially sanctioned behaviour, and the latter as socially inadequate conduct. At an individual level, learners deployed the concepts ‘to be nice’ v. ‘politeness’ and ‘not to be nice’ v. ‘impoliteness’ to refer to intended face attention and intended face damage respectively. With regards to disagreements, learners ascribed politeness on the social plane to all types of disagreements, especially partial disagreements consisting of non-pure negative face-oriented categories (see García_pastor, 2007), whilst they attributed intended face damage at an individual level particularly to full disagreements constituted by pure positive face-based moves, and partial disagreements consisting of non-pure positive face-oriented units (ibid.). These findings point out the need to consider not only learners’ production of specific communicative acts in the target language, but also their perception of these for a better understanding of how im/politeness works in EFL, hence more effective instructional treatments.