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Politeness in mentor-mentee talk

Author(s): Soo Ruey Shing

Journal: International Journal of Human Sciences
ISSN 1303-5134

Volume: 9;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 743;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Politeness strategies | mentor-mentee | Redressive strategies | Face Threatening Acts (FTAs).

This paper explores the issues of Politeness (Brown and Levinson, 1987) in the interaction between mentors and mentees (or students) of a tertiary learning context. It attempts to (i) investigate the use of Redressive Strategies or Face Threatening Acts (FTAs) by mentors when encountering with students who are facing both academic and disciplinary problems, (ii) how FTAs could constitute a face threat to students’ positive self-image and (iii) the functions underlying Redressive Strategies or FTAs during mentor-mentee talk. The audio-taped data obtained from two academic meeting sessions between a mentor and two undergraduates respectively was transcribed and analysed based on Brown and Levinson’s Framework of Politeness. The data demonstrates that the mentors had used positive politeness strategies, off-record-indirect strategies and bald-on-record strategies while interacting with their students. Additionally, Off-Record-Indirect strategies were the least attempted by the mentors and they used more FTAs on the students.
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