Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Language as A Verbal Instrument

Designing and Implementing e-Government Strategy

Area Of Presentation
ž  The Organon Model
ž  The Cooperative Pinciple
ž  Politeness Strategy

The Organon Model
ž  Karl Buhler (1934): A sound can only qualify as a linguistic sign if a three-fold relationship exists connecting the sound to a sender, receiver, and an object that is being referred to.
ž  Linguistic sign (S) has three functions simultaneously:
a.       As a symptom
b.      As a symbol
c.       As a signal
Have you ever heard that strange story about the drunk who decided to play barber and cut off his friend’s ear?
ž  The symptom aspect:  strange (the speaker’s opinion)
ž  The symbol aspect: the utterance is made to a story
ž  The signal aspect: the question is an appeal to a listener
Language is a two-way instrument, an instrument for a speaker and listener or a writer and a reader.
Otto Jepersen in the introduction to Philosophy of Grammar (1924):
The essence of language is a human activity – activity on the part of one individual to make himself understood by another, and activity on the part of that other to understand what was in the mind of the first.

The Cooperative Principle
A speaker’s words often convey more than the literal meaning of the words uttered. The example from Logic and Conversation (1975) by Herbert Grice:
A and B are talking about mutual friend, C, who is now working in a bank. A asks B how C is getting on in his job, and B replies, oh quite well, I think; he likes collagues and he hasn’t been to prison yet.
The cooperative principle: make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which is occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the speech exchange in which you are engaged (Herbert Grice).
Basic Rules or maxims by Herbert Grice:
    1. Maxims of quantity
                                                                              1)            Make your contribution as informative as required.
                                                                              2)            Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.
    1. Maxims of quality
                        Supermaxims: Try to make your contribution one that is true.
1)      Do not say what you believe to be false.
2)      Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.        
                         III.            Maxims of relevance
1)      Be relevant.    
                  IV.                               Maxims of manner
            Supermaxims: Be perspicuous
1)      Avoid obscurity of expression.
2)      Avoid ambiguity
3)      Be brief
4)      Be orderly
A is standing by an obviously immobilized and is approached by B.
            A:        I am out of petrol.
            B:        There is a garage round the corner.

Politeness Strategy
The cooperative principle is valid for informative language use. Language users are not, however, always interested in the effective transfer of information. The following examples the speaker wants the addresee to close the door.
  1. Close the door (suffecient)
  2. There’s a draft (indirectly)
  3. Would you close the door? (polite)
  4. Would you be so kind as to close the door? (more polite)
Erving Goffman, concept of ‘face’ (1956): The need to be appreciated ‘positive face’. The need to not be disturbed ‘negative face’.
ž  ‘face threatening acts (FTAs): the actions which can form a threat to the other’s positive or negative face.
ž  ‘face work techniques’: reducing the violation to a minimum.
ž  ‘solidarity politeness’: face work that is aimed at positive face.
ž  ‘respect politeness’: face work that is aimed at negative face.
  1. We don’t understand why you bothered to apply.
  2. We have some doubts concerning your prior education.
A theory on the relationship between the intensity of the threat to face and linguistically realized politeness by Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson (1978):
ž  The intensity of threat to face is a weight (W) that is linked (FTAs).
ž  A weight (W) is the sum of:
a)      The rate of impositon.
b)      The social distance.
c)      The power.
  May i borrow your car?
  May i borrow your pen?
  Excuse me, sir, would it be all right if i smoke?
  Mind if i smoke?
ž  Indirect request:
A:        (1) are you doing anything special tonight?
B:        (2) no, not really, why?
A:        (3) well, i wanted to ask if you would like to go out to dinner with me.
 B:       (4) i’d love to.
ž  The underlying structure:
1)      Pre-request
2)      ‘Go ahead’ reaction
3)      Request
4)      Consent

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