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    題名: Children's early sensitivity of status as a factor of politeness
    作者: 陳郁彬
    貢獻者: 淡江大學英美語言文化學系
    日期: 2012-08
    上傳時間: 2015-03-17 11:46:15 (UTC+8)
    摘要: Assuming that politeness is subject to social distance, social status, and ranking as proposed by Brown and Levinson (1987), this study discusses children’s pragmatic development of politeness by examining children’s sensitivity of status, when performing an FTA (Brown & Levinson, 1987). The examination and discussion are based on spontaneous interaction between two Mandarin-speaking children (observed longitudinally from 24 to 36 months old) and their parents. Children’s requests were examined for their politeness (237 instances of requests found in the data), including the situations wherein the requests are issued, the linguistic devices utilized by the children to convey requests, and the effectiveness of requests (whether the children’s requests obtain the desired compliance). The focus of this study is on the potential influence of interpersonal status on children’s production of requests. It has been found that children appear to fine-tune the linguistic forms they use to make requests with respect to the relative status between their parents and themselves. They were found inclined to use more direct request forms, for example, imperatives, when making requests in cooperative activities, where the relative status between the children and their parents is equivalent. On the other hand, children were found to use comparatively more indirect request forms, for example, declaratives with the lexeme WANT, when requesting at a lower status in unstructured activities, where the children mostly request their parents to perform an act as their original role, i.e., a child. A further examination thus reveals that the sensitivity of status in children's polite requests may aid children in obtaining the intended compliance. That is to say, the effectiveness of the children’s requests appear to increase when children are requesting according to the relative status between their parents and themselves. This study therefore suggests that children at an early age may have been aware of the effect of status on politeness and that status may be a significant factor in politeness, probably more significant than the other two in Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory, particularly for Mandarin-speaking children.
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