Influence of situational factors on the codification and interpretation of impoliteness
Marta Albelda Marco
By analysing the influence of situational factors, this paper aims to determine if all face-threatening acts indeed have an impolite effect. Two types of peninsular Spanish speech corpora (formal and informal) were examined, each with different situational features. The theoretical maxims applied to this study are based on Briz (2004), who distinguishes between codified (im)politeness and an interpreted (im)politeness. The initial findings reveal that the features of the communicative situation may neutralise the codified impoliteness in certain speech acts. These features include the relation of solidarity between the interlocutors, the subject or topic of the speech, the purpose and the social and common proximity among the speakers, among other things. Such features seem to influence to some extent the interpretation of those acts that conventionally could be considered as impolite. Thus, contrary to the principles generally accepted in Brown and Levinson’s theory of politeness (1987), the findings of this analysis indicate that certain situational factors may, on occasion, lead the speakers to be less concerned about minimizing face offences even though this lack of concern does not actually involve damage to the other.