Politeness and Directness Strategies and Speech Act Realizations in Indian English Pragmatics
Hill, Katie M.
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Studies on pragmatics have become increasingly popular since the work of Hymes (1972). Pragmatics refers to the cultural and social dimensions of words and phrases. Within the study of pragmatics, interest in politeness strategies and the performance of speech acts have drawn attention from linguists and TESOL professionals. As non-native English speakers learn the language, they modify it with their own cultures and confuse the traditional understanding of English pragmatics due to their social coding. Indian English may be a prime example of such modifications. India, having one of the largest non-native English-speaking populations, is a leading player in globalization. While Indians are said to speak English grammatically, recent research also notes that Indian business process outsourcing (BPO) workers struggle in the social, pragmatic exchanges with Western English clientele. The exact causes of the clashes have yet to be discovered. What is more, most research on Indian English pragmatics is 20 to 30 years old. Such a gap in the study beckons a call for new investigations in Indian English pragmatics. This study is a preliminary investigation of the use of politeness and directness strategies found in the realizations of invitations, apologies, requests, and refusals across differing social exchanges and relationships. The results revealed patterns in politeness and directness strategies as well as in speech acts. Most significantly, they suggested that politeness strategies are realized through strong acts of praise and exaltation of the other over the self. In terms of speech act realizations, it also reveals a common use of imperatives when giving invitations and requests.
M.S.E., Montessori Teacher Education