Processes Involved Analysing Politeness Strategies

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This study investigates politeness strategies in economic journal articles using the politeness strategies framework proposed both Brown and Levinson (1978) that was adapted by Myers (1989) for the analysis of scientific texts. As discourse analysis is qualitative in nature, this presentation aims to focus on the steps taken to ensure rigour and quality of the methodological processes involved. This includes the identification of local and international economic journals, selection of articles, collection of data and finally the analysis of corpus that involves the comparison of politeness strategies found in the selected journal articles. Presently, this presentation also hopes to present some of the strategies found in the corpus of this on-going study.

Keywords; Economic articles, politeness strategies, qualitative


Over the last three decades, interest in politeness has become one of the central discussions in pragmatic and sociolinguistic research. A large number of theoretical, empirical books and articles about linguistic politeness have been published, shows that politeness has become one of the most active areas of research in language use.

Moreover by concerning also that at this time academic journals had reached a fabulous numbers both digital and printing material and become a major references by scholars all over the world, and reflecting in recent years that there has been a steady increase in interest and research into economics discourse by both economists and linguists which has spawned an expanding body of work. The aim of this work tries to inline with those trends, by trying to identify many ways that economists use language to express themselves in polite way in order to help the public understanding the politeness style of writing from the economist in the scientific text and also this research focusing on the process of selecting many steps taken during period of exploring corpus and research design as to ensure rigour and quality of the methodology in a qualitative research.

Further, by using Myers's [1] room of thinking in his study "politeness In scientific text" (1989) that linked to what Brown and Levinson had proposed in their book "politeness, some universal in language usage" (1978), this research try to focus on the politeness strategies employed by the authors in economic journals that are applied as a strategy to mitigate the impact of impositions. The researchers hopes that this study also enable to contribute to the existing pool of knowledge on politeness strategies used in academic writing, particularly in the writing of economic journal articles of two identified economic journals [2] that were being chosen in this research as a representative of economic journals from respective economic association [3] .

From spoken into written; Previous study on politeness

Started in the early 1950's, Schuler studied about the politeness in Germany and Goffman studied on "face work" in 1955. Nowadays, the study about politeness becomes mammoth alike. Chen (2001) tries to classified the research on politeness into three categories: (1) work that constructs theories of politeness, such as lakoff (1973,1977), Brown and Levinson (1987), Leech (1983), Fraser (1990), and Escandell-Vidal (1996); (2) work that investigates cultural-specific concepts and strategies of politeness, such as Hill et al. (1986), Gu (1992), Lindenfeld (1990), and Sherzer (1983); (3) work that applies existing theories to data from various cultures, such as Scollon and Scollon (1983), Chen (1993,1996), Garcia (1989), Rhodes (1989), and Holmes (1990). etc

Those scholars see that politeness is understood in terms of strategies of conflict avoidance, and in pragmatics perspective aims to facilitate interaction by minimizing the potential for conflict and confrontation inherent in all human interchange. Although these researchers differ in important ways, they share a common focus on politeness to other. Politeness theories and related areas, such as discourse and conversation analysis and studies of interethnic communication, have primarily drawn on observation from empirical studies of spoken language and have mostly focused on face-to-face interaction in non professional setting, and where politeness has been studied in professional setting the focus has mainly been in oral interaction.

Further, the majority of studies discussing pragmatic aspect of linguistic politeness have made little use of corpus data and have largely ignored the importance and complexity of-non linguistic parameters. This situation has presumably arisen because politeness theory takes as its starting point speech act analysis, where the object of analysis is everyday face-to-face communication and the level of analysis is single utterances with minimal specification of co-text and context.

In 1989, Myers came out with a study of politeness using scientific articles analysing "norms of scientific culture" and become a new genre in the study of politeness area. Were in that study Myers still using the concepts of "model person" proposed by Brown and Levinson, then his study followed by few others scholars such as; Cherry (1988), .Pilegard (1997). Kuo (2000), Nevala (2004).etc

Those scholars mentions above could figure out that politeness theory proposed by Brown and Levinson, can be extended to many medium not only through verbal communication but also in studying politeness strategies in a written material in terms of the interactions of speaker-hearer model or between the author-audiences in a scientific text. Generally politeness in written communication such as in journal has been seen as a strategy used to mitigate the impact of impositions between authors and audiences.

Furthermore, Myers (1989: 3) mention in his articles that he still use BL [4] ( 1987) model person to help understand the interaction between authors-audiences in written text, and particularly in scientific texts. BL have developed a theory of politeness to explain the nature of politeness phenomena in language. According to them, it is possible to define generic types of politeness strategies to explain and predict the adoption of politeness in oral or written discourse. Recently, the study of politeness had widened its field research into many circumstances and situation, also investigates concerned various of politeness strategies in related with corpus analysis. Among those previous studies, as far as the researchers' aware, there has not been an attempt to analyze politeness strategies focusing on mitigating the impact of imposition in economic articles and comparing it, between economic journals published by two known well economic association and viewing that chances the present research were conducted

Steps taken on Data Collection and methodology

In this exploratory study the researchers focused on the linguistic strategies employed by the economists from both local and international economic journals focusing on the aspect of mitigating the impact of imposition.

During the time of exploring corpus and designing a kind of methodology suitable to apply to this research, firstly the researchers identify in which area that should be taken and explore. After discussing between researcher and respectively co-researcher and viewing the fields that haven not touched yet by other researchers, who had been working in the politeness studies. Then in the early stage, the researchers start comparing between major area such as; Engineering, Law, Education, Medical, IT, Economic, etc, with major perquisite that this respectively area has a recognised journal both local and international. Before deciding on which particular journals was to be used as the corpus for the present research, a quick observations of several libraries (chosen at random) in the three universities and internet searching area indicated that there is a wide area of journals users in the academia. In the end after comparing those area, researchers agreed that Economic field will be chosen as the area to study, by the reason that nowadays Malaysia has produces various economic journals in several disciplines and sub-disciplines that published in the level of universities or associations.

As far as our concern, nowadays there are huge numbers of well known economic journals all over the worlds with its sub-disciplines. This research also discovered the availability of a variety of economic journals that catered specifically for specific fields of economy, such as management, human resources, marketing, etc. As the focus of the present study is on politeness strategies used in two identified journals, this research in the beginning felt so wide area to discover.

Moreover since this research is interested in studying about the use of politeness strategies in both local and international journals, In the end corpus selecting, two recognised journals were chosen on the recommendation by two University of Malaya's lecturers, Associate Profesor Dr. Rohana Abd. Jani and Dr. Rodia Talib, who are presently the heads of two departments from the Faculty of Economics in time of data collection, They have assisted in identifying journals which are considered to be reputable and frequently used as references in the economic field.

After long discussing with them, this present research narrowed its sample down to only journals published by economic associations locally/internationally and they continuously assisted the researchers by identify from listed journals that published by economic associations and came out with a result, in the end they recommended Malaysia Journal of Economic Studies that jointly published by University of Malaya/ Malaysian Economic Association and the Journal of Economic Growth by American Economic Association. Both journals were well known as reputable local and international journals.

Since the present study tries to focus on the analysis of politeness strategies used in written texts, this study will employ the categories used In "politeness in scientific article" by Myers (1989) that adapted from BL (1987). The method of the research that the researchers applied was discourse analysis in qualitative method. The method was chosen inline with the aims of this study that is to identify, analyze and also compare how the economists of the journals from both local and international economic journals employed politeness strategies in their writing within focusing on the mitigating the impact of imposition.

Since the area that will be studied is discourse and not pure corpus linguistic, ten issues will not be less than 50,000 words which were considered enough in showing how the economists used language in presenting their findings in polite way. In data collection of both journals, the researchers will apply Systematic sampling technique, in which the first article of every first issue in the latest 5 (five) years were taken as a corpus, thus, the first articles of every first issue from the year 2004 to 2008 will be selected as the corpus. From each journal, the researchers took 5 issues, so the total of issues as a corpus in this research will be 10 issues, with a classification of 5 issues from a local economic journal and 5 issues taken from an international journal. So the total number of articles will be 10 articles, five (5) from each of the selected economic journals that going to be analyzed and discuss

After collecting the corpus 5 issues each journals taken from latest five years, the next step will be analyzing and interpretation. As far as our concern, analyzing and interpretation of a written text in discourse studies might be defined as the act of grasping the meaning that the communicative product is to convey. It is important to emphasize that clear understanding of writing is reliant on, not only what the author/writer put in it, but also on what a reader/audiences brings to this process.

Distinguishing noticeably different approaches to text processing led to distinction of manners of attending to written communicative products. Top down and Bottom-up processes are those the researchers used here, in which these approach were help us to decoding particular words, thus identifying general idea, general features of a text, gradually moving to the narrower. Not only does the information in a text enable this research to understand it, but it also allows this research to be confronted with former knowledge and expectations which facilitate comprehension. Further, In using this approach, the researchers start searching first in the level of alphabet, then words and short phrases, next simple sentences, finally elaborate compound sentence By using these approach, this research tries to considering all levels of communicative products as a total unit whose elements work collectively, in other words, it is more holistic approach to find and indicated a politeness strategies in the economic journals.

Findings and discussion

This on going research studied 10 (ten) journals articles released from two recognized economic associations were systematically analyzed on a particular volume, during 2004 until 2008 period, the two journals are; Malaysian Journal of Economic Studies (MJES) and the Journal of Economic Growth (EG), The articles from both journals were examined both semantically and syntactically for the identification of politeness strategies. In analyzing the corpus in this present study that were 5 selected articles from both economic journals, in analyzing those articles, the first step implementing the top down and bottom-up approach then the result and examples of statement indicating politeness strategies that were found during the period of data analysis was coding based on the criteria proposed both Myers and BL,.

Further, after analysing, codification, and interpreting, this research found that politeness strategies employed on the journals in various strategies; until this stage the most prominent findings shows that in bald on record, is one of the politeness strategies employee by authors in both economic journals, the findings presented below.

Bald on record

Bald on record here refers to strategy that FTA [5] was performed in a direct and concise way without redresssive action, or strategy which provides no effort to minimize threats to audiences or readers' "face". The data analysis shows that that both MJES [6] and EG [7] writers used two kinds of tactics namely; the use of warning, and advice statement in imperative sentence. This table below shows the tactics listed in bald on record strategy that employee by the writers of MJES

The findings shows us the percentage of the use bald on Record strategies in both economic journals, MJES's and EG writers used two kinds of tactics namely; the use of warning, and advice statement. It was found that 16 sentences content of bald on record strategy by using tactic of warning statement and bald on record using advice statement was found 18 sentences

The Analysis of the data reveal that JWs from MJES and EG share a similar number (8) sentences of using warning statement and in another tactics namely the use of advice statement MJES employ more than EG, it was proved by the number of tactics found during the analysis period, from the total of 18 advice statement of bald of record strategy, that twelve (12) tactics of using advice statement found in MJES journals and only six (6) statement found in EG. And most of these tactics both MJES and EG occurs in sections of material and method

Further, the analysis of the present study shows that bald on record strategies were realized in imperative sentences that contents of advice or warning statements, in which both of JWs shows a patterns that tend to be more task oriented, and efficiency, in which those are the most important element shows in their style, both JWs from MJES and EG realized that when they decided to employ a bald on record statement in their writing the straightforwardness and clearness elements it would sometimes override politeness demanding in the academic community, but in other hand, enable the JWs to come rapidly to the point and avoid further imposition, ambiguity and obscurity.