Negative Politeness Strategies (Brown and Levinson)

Another kind of politeness strategies is negative politeness. This strategy used when S wants to show that he cares and respect H’s Negative Face. If S did or will do an FTA, he will minimize the threat by using apology, deference, hedges and other strategies. Negative Politeness strategies consist in assurances that the speaker recognizes and respects the addressee’s negative-Face wants and will not (or will only minimally) interfere with the addressee Freedom of Action.

This strategy assumes that there might be some social distance or awkwardness between speaker and hearer and it is likely to be used whenever a speaker wants to put a social brake on his interaction (Brown and Levinson, 1987: 129).

Moreover, they (p. 129) introduce some strategies that included in negative politeness, they are:

1. Be direct
In the formal situation, sometimes the directness is needed to minimize the imposition by saying the point and avoiding the further imposition of prolixity and ambiguity as mentioned by Lakoff (in Goody, 1996). Fortunately, this strategy is rarely used in negative politeness because it is more relevant to be used in bald on-record strategy. For example, “Help me to pick up these boxes!”
In this strategy, S chooses to come rapidly to the point directly when she or he wants something. She does not care about maintaining face of the H but still respects and assure not to disturb the freedom of action of H.

2. Don’t assume about H’s wants
This type tries to avoid assuming that anything in FTA is desired or believed by H. it is stressed by hedging such assumptions in the form of word and phrase that modify the degree of predicate membership. For example, “A swing is sort of a toy’, or “You are quite right”.

3. Don’t coerce H
a. By avoiding coercing H’s response means that S gives H the option not to do a certain act.
b. By avoiding coercion of H means that S minimizes the threat by clarifying S view of the P, D and R values. 
c. Communicate S want not to impinge on H Indicate that S is aware and he takes account in his decision to communicate the FTA is one of the ways to satisfy H’s negative face.

4. Redress others’ wants of H
This is the higher strategy of negative politeness that consists of offering partial compensation for the face threat in FTA. It shows that negative politeness attends to other wants can be derived (H’s desire for territorial integrity and self determination). 

Concept of Face and FTA (Face Threatening Acts)

Based on Brown and Levinson (1987: 61) “Face is derived from the notion of Goffman and English people which is related to the idea of being embarrassed or humiliated, or ‘loosing Face’.” Since Face is something that is emotionally invested, can be lost, maintained, or enhanced, a person has to pay attention to his interlocutor’s Face. In other words, the speaker and the hearer must cooperate in maintaining each other’s Face in interaction. The action of maintaining each other’s Face called ‘Face work’.
Moreover, Goffman in Renkema (1993: 13) introduces the concept of face as an image which is projected by a person in his social contacts with others. Face has the meaning as in the saying to loose fact. Based on the opinion of Goffman, every participant in the social process has the need to be appreciated by others and the need to be free and not to be disturbed. He calls the need to be appreciated as a ‘positive face’ and the need to be free or not to be disturbed is called as ‘negative face’.
While negative face is defined as the desire of every member that he has Freedom of Action as well as freedom of imposition (the desire to not to be disturbed). For example is a father who is in the middle of giving advice to his children expects that his children do not tend to interrupt his speech (freedom of imposition).

Face Threatening Acts (FTA)
Politeness strategies are developed for the main purpose of dealing with the FTA’s. We understand the notion of ‘face’ previously from the dramaturgical theories of Erving Goffman that individuals as social actors perform (present a public self) on the stage of everyday life. The acts that threaten either the negative or positive face of the hearer are called ‘Face Threatening Acts’ (FTA) (Brown and Levinson, 1987: 65). There are acts that threaten the H’s Negative Face such as order, request, suggestion, advice, reminding, threat, warning, offer, promise, compliment and expression of negative emotion. Here, the speaker does not intend to avoid impeding H’s Freedom of Action. For example, when you ask someone to lend you some money, you are considered threaten that person’s Negative Face. It happens since you have violated his want to be free from being imposed.
In contrast, there are acts that threaten the H’s Positive Face such as expression of dissatisfaction, criticisms, complaints, accusation, and insult, disagreement, out of control emotion, irreverence, and bringing bad news about H or boasting about S, raising divisive topics, and blatant non-cooperation in an activity. All these acts indicate that the speaker does not care about the addressee’s feeling or wants. For example, disagreeing with someone’s opinion also causes a threat to his Positive Face, as it means that you indicate that he is wrong about something.


The paper focuses on the processes of language maintenance and shift among the Flores community, which become minority, in Malang. Malang as the city of education has become a city of multi-culture and thus multi-language. This situation affects greatly not only in the way of world seeing but also the use of language of the peoples living there. The multilingual interactions with non-Flores peoples in many social cultural occasions and situations trigger shift in the language choice and even change. However, in fact, still, they tend to hold tightly their sense of regional primordialism as their identity. Therefore, this paper is aimed at finding out the patterns of language shift and maintenance of Flores peoples as a minority ethnic in Malang and what social cultural factors affect them. Descriptive qualitative design is used in this research with utterances of members of Flores community in Malang as its data source. The data collection is done by using several techniques: observation, recording, field note, and interview. The data obtained is analyzed based on Miles and Huberman analysis model. The result shows that there are three patterns of language shift occurred: (1) from their interaction with other East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) languages like Weejewa and Kambera, resulted the shift of accent; (2) with Bahasa Indonesia resulted the convergences of code choice: code switching and code mixing and diglossia; and (3) with Javanese resulted the shift in terms of politeness strategies used. Furthermore, the social cultural factors influencing them are: situations and conditions, ethnical background, educational degree, kinship system, and topics of discussion.

Key words: Flores ethnic, language shift, language maintenance 

Transformation Rules

Akmajian and Henry (1975: 236-237)  state that “Transformation means preserving of two surface structures derive from exactly the same underlying structure and if their derivations differ only in that an optional transformation has applied in one but not the other, than they must have the same meaning”.

Elgin (1973:294), in her study believes that linguist is constructing grammar to identify the meaning of surface structure from the deep structure. Every human being who is native speaker of a language is walking around with just such a grammar in his head. There are no linguists have yet succeeded in achieving the same perfection and completeness but that is the goal toward their work. (Elgin, 1973: 54)  states that “When a deep structure undergoes a rule (or rules) and the end result is a sequence that can be spoken, the rule has transformed the sequence causes no transformational rule can ever be allowed to change meaning”

Jacobs and Rosenbaum (1968: 19), in their study say that a transformation is a particular Processes of alteration by which one sentence structure is converted into another sentence structure without any change in the meaning. The changing of deep structure to surface structure is via transformation

(Jacobs and Rosenbaum 1968:18) states, “The operation is called elementary transformation. The elementary consists of adjunction, substitution, and deletion”

Adjunction is a process by which one constituent is attached to another to form a larger constituent of the same type. For example; we could say that in a sentence like “He shouldn’t go”, the particle “not” can be adjoined to the auxiliary should to form the negative auxiliary “shouldn’t”.

Substitution is technique used to determine an expression which can be substituted using another expression in phrases or sentences like that in which it occurs by another expression. For example, “John speaks clearer than you”…………”John speaks more clearly”.

There are five kinds of deletion, those are:

a. Noun Phrase Deletion
In the noun phrase deletion, the noun in the sentence gets the Processes of deletion, for example:
Igor can play the violin, and that cat can play the violin too………Igor can play the violin, and that cat can too “Igor can play the violin, and that cat can play the violin too “becomes “Igor can play the violin, and that cat can too”. It is obvious that the violin is deleted since “the violin” has become as the object of “can”.

b. Verb Phrase Deletion
In the verb phrase deletion, the constituent that experiences a deletion is a verb phrase. The verb phrase deletion is also called an identical verb phrase deletion, for example:
“the papers refused to report the trial because they were afraid to report the trial”……….”the papers refused to report the trial because they were afraid to”.

c. Linking Verb Deletion
In the linking verb deletion, the constituent that experiences a deletion is a verbal “be”. Linking verb occurs together with the noun phrase deletion. Linking verb deletion can be considered as tobe Deletion. “Be” deletion transformation happens in the present tense sentence. For example:
“wearing makeUp”…………”
three Woman are Wearing MakeUp”

d. Imperative deletion
It is called imperative deletion because it deletes the NP, for example:
You jump (Deep Structure)…………Jump (surface structure)
In order to get from this deep structure to the surface structure “Jump”, what is needed is not an additional phrase structure rule, but rather a transformational rule. This transformation will delete the NP “You” which has been generated by the phrase structure grammar. It is illustrated in the following tree diagram:

e. Deletion under identity
For example, Ellsberg was arrested by FBI and Fonda was too. These sentences seem to consist of a complete sentence, followed by the conjunction and, followed by what we can call elliptical sentence. Taken out context, these are meaningless and could not standalone. Yet, when conjoined will dull sentence used in ordinary speech. The meaning of each of the elliptical sentences is dependent on the meaning of the sentence that precedes it. Thus, Fonda was too is taken to mean that Fonda was arrested by FBI too. We should note that sentences such as those present our theory with several nontrivial problems. We have no way of generating elliptical sentences such as those just stated. Our phrase structure rule for sentences, for example: NPAuxVP, always generates structures that are “complete” and there is no way we can generate a “partial” structure such as Fonda was. Second, we have seen that the elliptical sentences are followed by
word “and”. Thus, we may choose to generate elliptical clauses, we must ensure that our theory reflects the facts that they are dependent on the preceding sentence, at least for their meaning.
See also:

How to Draw Tree Diagram

A tree diagram shows the hierarchical structure of the sentence. The sentence is considered the basic of the syntactic system. Instead of beginning with actual sentences, however we begin with the directions for generating or producing structural descriptions of sentences, which are set forth in phrase structure rules. The rules should be interpreted as an instruction to rewrite or expand the symbol on the left of the arrows as the sequence on the right. In S NP + VP, “S” stands for sentence, “NP” (Noun Phrase) and “VP” (Verb Phrase). The item on the left dominates the elements on the right. Bornstein starts with S, the highest level and works down to lower level until it comes to maximally specific level where in addition symbol can be written. This process is called derivational in the sentence.
Tree diagram provides a precise means of defining syntactic relation. NP is immediately dominated by an S in the subject of that sentence. An NP is immediately dominated by a VP is the object or complement of the sentence containing the verb phrase. Tree diagram also shows which words are constituents of a sentence (Bornstein, 1997: 44). From the diagram below we can see that Aux, Vt and NP belong to the VP.
Points of juncture in tree diagram are called nodes. If one node is immediately dominated by another, it is called a daughter node. If one node is immediately dominated by the same nodes, they are called sister nodes. In the following diagram, the nodes NP and VP are daughter of S and sister nodes of each other. NP is the left sister whereas VP is the right sister.

What Is Transformational Grammar?

According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary (1996: 1420), transformational grammar generates the deep structures of a language and converts this to the surface structures by means of transformation. Goodman (1970: 299) stated that all kinds of English sentences can be analyzed by using structure rule. He said that a sentence consists of phrase structure, noun phrase (NP), verb phrase (VP), adjective phrase (Adj. P), prepositional phrase (PP), auxiliary (Aux), and others.

Bornstein (1977: 39-99) says that “Transformations bring about various kinds of changes; they can rearrange elements in a string of symbols, add elements that were not there before, delete elements, and substitute one element for another.” He also said that in Transformational Grammar (TG) phrase structure is illustrated by means of tree diagrams called phrasemakers, which show the hierarchical structure of sentence. Bornstein symbolizes some of the common symbols used in Phrase Structure Rule as follows:

In Transformational Grammar, Phrase Structure Rules are illustrated by means of tree diagram called “phrase makers” that show the hierarchical structure of the sentence. We begin S, the highest level, and work down to the lower levels until we come to maximally specific of terminal level where no additional symbols can be written. This process is called a derivation of sentence. This steps of derivation of a sentence is:

The heart of theory is in the transformational rules that account for the relationship among different types of patterns. Transformation refers to the objective of process. “Bill painted the house” and “the house was painted by Bill” are different in surface structure but the meaning and the relationships that hold between the parts of these two sentences has same transformational grammar.
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