According to the so called politeness theory all human communication can be divided into “positive faces” and “negative faces”.
“Positive faces” are our desires to be liked, admired, ratified, and related to positively.
“Negative face” are our desires not to be imposed upon.
“Positive face” refers to our self-esteem, “negative face” refers to our freedom to act.
N-H. Negative faces damaging the hearer.
- An act that affirms or denies a future act of the hearer creates pressure on the hearer to either perform or not perform the act.orders (sei minde), requests (.e’o), suggestions (.e’u), advice (.e’u), remindings (ke’u???), threats (nu’e???), warnings (.e’unai).
- An act that expresses the speaker’s sentiments of the hearer or the hearer’s belongings.compliments (.iu, .i’o)expressions of envy (.i’onai) or admiration (.i’o)expressions of strong negative emotion toward the hearer, e.g. hatred (.iunai), anger (.o’onai), lust (.auro’i???, .au???).
- An act that expresses some positive future act of the speaker toward the hearer. In doing so, pressure has been put on the hearer to accept or reject the act and possibly incur a debt.offers (sei friti)promises (nu’e).
N-S. Negative faces damaging the speaker.
An act that shows that the speaker is succumbing to the power of the hearer.
- Expressing thanks (ki’e)
- Accepting a thank you or apology (je’e)
- Excuses (.u’u???)
- Acceptance of offers (vi’o???)
- A response to the hearer’s violation of social etiquette (ki’enai???, i’onai???)
- The speaker commits himself to something he or she does not want to do (vi’onai???)
P-H. Positive faces damaging the hearer.
- An act that expresses the speaker’s negative assessment of the hearer’s positive face or an element of his/her positive face. The speaker can display this disapproval in two ways. The first approach is for the speaker to directly or indirectly indicate that he dislikes some aspect of the hearer’s possessions, desires, or personal attributes. The second approach is for the speaker to express disapproval by stating or implying that the hearer is wrong, irrational, or misguided.expressions of disapproval (.i’enai), e.g. insults, accusations, complaintscontradictionsdisagreements (.ienai)challenges
An act that expresses the speaker’s indifference toward the addressee’s positive face:
- The addressee might be embarrassed for or fear the speaker.excessively emotional expressions.
- The speaker indicates that he doesn’t have the same values or fears as the hearerdisrespect (.ionai)mention of topics which are inappropriate in general or in the context.
- The speaker indicates that he is willing to disregard the emotional well being of the hearer.belittling or boasting.
- The speaker increases the possibility that a face-threatening act will occur. This situation is created when a topic is brought up by the speaker that is a sensitive societal subject.topics that relate to politics, race, religion.
- The speaker indicates that he is indifferent to the positive face wants of the hearer. This is most often expressed in obvious non-cooperative behavior.interrupting (ta’a)non-sequiturs (ta’o???)
- The speaker misidentifies the hearer in an offensive or embarrassing way. This may occur either accidentally or intentionally. Generally, this refers to the misuse of address terms in relation to status, gender, or age.Addressing a young woman as "ma’am" instead of "miss."
P-S. Positive faces damaging the speaker.
An act that shows that the speaker is in some sense wrong, and unable to control himself.
- Apologies: In this act, speaker is damaging his own face by admitting that he regrets one of his previous acts. (.u’u???)
- Acceptance of a compliment (ki’e???)
- Inability to control one’s physical self (ri’ero’o???)
- Inability to control one’s emotional self (ri’ero’i???)
- Self-humiliation (.o’acu’i)
- Confessions (sei stace???)