Differing Perceptions of Face in British and Japanese Academic Settings

Turner, Joan and Hiraga, M. K.. 1996. Differing Perceptions of Face in British and Japanese Academic Settings. Language Sciences, 18(3-4), pp. 605-627. ISSN 0388-0001 [Article]

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This paper looks at the presentation of and response to face threatening acts (FTA) in tutor-student interaction in British and Japanese academic contexts. The specific FTAs looked at were criticism, suggestion and request. Their location in a specific genre, i.e., the one-to-one tutorial, is an important determinant, both for their occurrence and for their interpretation. We investigated five recurring situations in the authentic data: three which were tutor-initiated with the illocutionary force of criticism, suggestion and request for clarification, and two which were student-initiated requests. These situations were incorporated into a discourse completion test, which was administered to native speakers of English and Japanese. The results revealed that while the British students primarily dealt with their own face wants, both positive and negative face wants, the Japanese students showed more concern for the positive face of the tutor. There was an obvious attendance to negative face in the British context, where both the tutor and the student attended each other's negative face and the students attended their own, whereas there was an effacement of negative face in the Japanese context, where neither the tutors nor the students tended to attend each other's or their own negative face. This study, therefore, moves ‘face’ out of the specific realm of politeness, and attempts to demonstrate its wider applicability in contrastive and cross-cultural pragmatics.

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Centre for English Language and Academic Writing (1996-2017)



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25 Aug 2015 11:04

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26 Jun 2017 10:59



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