Politeness is known as a courteous manner that displays respects, show deference in society where people live and communicate together (OED online). Furthermore, according to Brown and Levinson (19780, politeness theory is the speaker’s expressions use toward receiver in soft manner of Face Threaten Acts (FTAs) to saving face of addressees. There are four main strategies in politeness theory as: bald-on record, positive politeness, negative politeness and off record. Bald- on record, a type is commonly with people known each other very well and very comfortable in their environment, is reduce the impact of FTAs. Off record is removing the speakers from any imposition whatsoever (Zhan, 1992). “Positive politeness is redress directed to addressee’s positive face” (Brown and Levinson, 1978, p. 101), while negative politeness is making a request less intrude into a person’s private.
Alternatively, request is a type of speech of act where the speaker ask or demand from the hearer to perform an act which is for the benefit of the speaker. A request has two parts: head act and modifiers (Al-Marrani and Sazalie, 2010). Head act is the main utterance which conveys a complete request and can stand by itself without any modifiers for express demand. The head act is follow by modifiers that moderate or exaggerate the impact of the request on the addressee (Reiter, 2000). For example, “Could I borrow your dictionary, please?” where “Could I borrow your dictionary” is head act and “please” is modifier.
So, every culture, every language has different ways to making requests in politeness. Therefore, the scope in this research is compared the differences expression of politeness requesting in two languages: English and Chinese. Following to House and Kasper (1981), their research claimed that speakers prefer to choose negative politeness strategies than positive politeness because when the relative face threat is high because negative politeness strategies are easily compensation than positive politeness strategies. To evaluate the difference of politeness in making request in two languages English and Chinese, the research will analyse three difference situations in classroom, at restaurant and at home.
In English grammar, in order to make a polite request, people usually use the modal verbs like can, could, will, would to allow the speaker to ask their need by asking for or giving permission, and so on. The formation of making a polite request is: (Leech, Cruickhank, Ivanic, 2001)
Modal Verb (Could/ Can/ Will/ Would) + Subject + Base Verb +…. ?
For example, Can you give a book?
So, in this sentence, “can” is a modal verb, “you” is subject and “give” is base verb.
In Chinese grammar as like as English grammar, speakers use optatives verbs (e.g. 能，可以，要）to express wishes, making a request, and have permissions. Follow to the grammar rule, the optatives verb put before the main verb and add”吗” – question particle at the end of the sentence:...