Reversal Politeology: The Interchangeable Use of Im/politeness in Jordan

Layth Al Soudi, Radzuwan Ab Rashid


As (Im) polite behaviour is mostly judged through the perception of a given act within social or group interaction, this study investigates the interchangeable implementation of im/politeness behaviour in light of face theory. A set of open-ended questionnaires was distributed to twenty-four adults participants in the city of Maan in Jordan. Thematic analysis approach was used to the analysis of data. The findings suggest that impolite behaviour within societal constraint does not always lead to negative sequel rather it sometimes represents polite tendency particularly in intimate relationships. Also, polite behaviour sometimes represents implied malicious intention. The study also shows that im/politeness and face are inseparable due to social considerations of rights and obligations. This study also reveals that disagreement in interaction among interlocutors in Jordan is not a face-threatening act. The study recommends that researchers cast some light on the influence of speech acts in making politeness in social interaction. Researchers may also investigate mock reciprocity in complimenting and thanking in light of speech act theory.


Face; im/politeness reciprocity; Disagreement; Intentionality.

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