Politeness Orientation in Social Hierarchies in Urdu

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Sargodha University, Women Campus, Pakistan

Abstract

The present research is aimed at investigating how the politeness of the speakers of Urdu is influenced by their relative social status in society. The researcher took politeness theory of Brown and Levinson (1978, 1987) as a model. To observe politeness of Urdu speakers, speech act of apology with different strategies was selected. A Discourse Completion Task (DCT) was used as an instrument to collect data from a sample of 152 participants from different institutes. The analysis of data indicated that the speakers of Urdu employed negative politeness strategies mostly for the addressee of high social status and low social status. The addressee of equal social status was apologized by positive politeness strategies. The results showed that Pakistani society is non-egalitarian. Moreover, this study supports Brown and Levinson’s (1978, 1987) claim for universality of politeness in preferring negative politeness to positive politeness; though, this preference for negative politeness is the outcome of the unequal social status of the addressee. 

Keywords