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Although the politeness mainly is considered in cross-cultural and
interlanguage studies as a main point in indirect speech acts, but this theory
is still developing. Therefore, it seems that there is necessity to a short description of the most influential models of politeness theory
which was adopted as a framework theory in the current research. Leech’s Politeness Principle (1983)
may be seen as a continuation of Grice’s Cooperative Principle in the way it
provided a model of politeness within conversation. While in contrast to Grice,
Leech attempted to explain, what the real means of indirect speech act in
people’s interactions  .
Since, he proposed that some independent variables “social distance, authority,
costs and benefits of an act” which indirectly described the notion of context.
Since, he proposed that some independent variables “social distance, authority,
costs and benefits of an act” which indirectly describe the notion of context.
Social distance refers to the social relationship between interactants that
social relationship can be that of closeness (e.g. family members and close
friends) or distance (e.g. unknown people). Authority contains factors such as
speaker and hearer social position within age and gender. Costs and benefits of
an act infer the effect of the act produced by the speaker on the hearer (as
cited in Šubertová, 2013).

According to Lakoff who stated that
make yourself clear and be polite are two main principles governing
linguistic and non-linguistic interactions which first one is influenced of Grice’s
cooperative principle and maxims, whereas the second one works by the three
rules of politeness. i) formality (do not
impose); ii) hesitancy (allow the addressee his options); iii) equality of
camaraderie (act as though and addressee were equal/make him feel good). Lakoff is concerened
that context influences the choice of maxims in the process of communication,
in addition, she was more interested in crucial factors “status differences
between interlocutors, degree of familiarity between speaker and hearer, and
the culture in which the utterance is made” to produce polite or impolite
utterances within contextual conditions (as cited in Schauer, 2009, p. 10).

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In politeness theory that is adopted
from Grice’s cooperative principle, Brown and Levinson (1987) attempted to
clarify Austin’s (1962) classification of utterances, which related to the
social functions of language within interaction bearing and speaker’s
rationality in conversation. Brown and Levinson defined the notion of face with
“the aspects of face as basic wants, which every member knows every other
member desires, and which in general, it is in the interests of every member to
partially satisfy” (1987, p. 62). As well as, face depends on whether the
speaker choices to perform a face threatening act (FTA) or face saving act
(FSA). An FTA is defined as “those acts that by their nature run contrary to
the face wants of the addressee and/or the speaker” and a FSA involving attenuation in the
possible threat that may use as positive or negative politeness strategies
(Brown & Levinson, 1987, p. 65).

Positive politeness is defined as
aimed “to save positive face by demonstrating closeness and solidarity,
appealing to friendship, making other people feel good, and emphasizing that
both speakers have a common goal” (Cutting, 2008, p. 48). Contrarily, negative
politeness is described as functionally minimizing the FTA’s imposition
consequences on the addressee. That minimization in the imposition is achieved
by showing distance between speaker and hearer, avoiding imposition or
presuming, and giving the hearer’s options (Cutting, 2008).

At the same vein, Brown and Levinson
provided five categories within which the speaker can choose when performing a
FTA. These five categories are those of social distance, relative power, and
absolute ranking of impositions in the particular culture.

The consideration of
these three factors will let speakers to do the act on-record or off-record.
The selection of the off-record strategy by the speaker means that the communicative
intention is not clearly communicated. This strategy is suitable for the
speaker who wants to do an FTA, but by no means directly addressing to the
hearer and thus, leaving the responsibility to the hearer to interpret the
utterance as an FTA or not. This off-record strategy implies an indirect use of
language and the flouting of Gricean maxims of efficient communication. That fact leads to conversational
implicatures, which gives the hearer the chance to interpret or even
misinterpret the indirectly uttered message; moreover, this interpretation is
also context dependent.

Otherwise, if the
speaker decides to do the FTA on record, there are two possibilities: doing it
without redressive action, badly or with redressive action by using positive politeness
strategies or negative politeness strategies. The FTA without redressive action means following Grice’s
maxims, then conveying efficient communication by uttering direct messages. Brown and Levinson (1987)
differentiated between the use of positive and negative politeness strategies
to achieve redressive action. They suggested three main positive politeness
strategies, which lead to fifteen different strategies to achieve an on-record
FTA with redressive action (p. 102). Furthermore, they also provided five
premises to achieve negative politeness: Be direct, do not presume/assume, do
not fore to hearer, communicate speaker’s want to not impinge on hearer, and
redress other wants of hearer’s derivative from negative face.

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