Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Face Threatening Act among Iranian Junior High School Efl Learners Writing Performance across Gender

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Face Threatening Act among Iranian Junior High School Efl Learners Writing Performance across Gender

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

In social interaction, people often perform acts which may be said to 'threaten' the face wants of both speaker/writers and hearers/reader and such acts are called face threatening acts (hence FTAs). Such acts intrinsically threaten face or, in Brown and Levin son's (1987, p.65) words, 'run contrary to the face wants of the addressee and/or of the speaker. Brown and Levinson postulate the existence of strategies to minimize such FTAs and to protect the reciprocal vulnerability of face. The choice of a strategy depends on the context of communication, the social connections of the speakers and the amount of imposition which the FTAs entail. Since the emotional effects of losing one's face can be strong, people often engage in face saving strategies.

Human As the part of society cannot live without having an interaction with each other. Politeness here gives very significant portion in communication. Politeness shows people how to keep the behavior in conversation to avoid the encounter that may happen between both parties. The related study regard with politeness as FTA (Face Threatening Act). It is a study that learns about positive and negative faces for being threatened. The application of politeness strategy will redress the FTA towards the addressee. (Yule, 1996, p. 34)

The concept of politeness strategies developed by Brown and Levinson (1987) is adapted from the notion of "face" introduced by a sociologist named Erving Goffman (1955). Face is a vision of self -image in the social features. In other words, the face could mean pride, amour-propre, and public self-image. According to Goffman (1955), each participant has two requirements in every social process: namely the need to be foreordained and needed to be free. Renkema (1993) states that:

The first need is called positive face, while the latter is negative face. Face Threatening Act (FTA) intensity is expressed by weight (W), which includes three social parameters: First, the degree of disturbance or rate of imposition (R), in terms of absolute weight of a particular action in a particular culture.

For example, the request "May I borrow your car?" has different weights from the request "May I borrow your pen?"

The second and third social parameters include the social distance (D) between the speaker/writer and the hearer / reader, and authority or power (P) owned by interlocutors (Renkema, 1993, p. 14).

FTA threatens the solidity of the severity of communication; politeness in this case can be perceived as an effort to impede and or repair damage(s) caused by the FTA. The greater the threat to resistance, the more politeness, face work technique, is necessary. Face work with the purpose of positive face is called "solidarity politeness", while, face works that considers negative face is known as "respect politeness" (Renkema 1993, p. 13). As states that One's face also has to be supported by other people. Therefore, people know something about an individual and that person tries to show them something else his or her face will be violated through inconsistency.

By looking at the studies carried out concerning speaking and also by considering the concept of politeness and FTA that has received a lot of attention in modern education , the researcher discovered an urgent need to compare the concepts of FTA and gender and find out how relating they are in conversational writing . There have been very few studies in this regard addressing issue related to FTA in EFL learners particularly in Iran context. This need made the researcher to carry out this study and uncover the relationships among Face threatening act, gender and proficiency level in writing.

In analyzing the students' writing performance there are some problems that are going to be formulated to utilize the politeness strategies applied to writing:

a. What types of FTA will be used in students writing?

b. What kind of face threatening act most frequently appeared in students' writing? …

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