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An investigation on customer interactional principles and face-threatening speech act performance in service encounters : the case of Turkish and English

Işık, Hale
This thesis investigates self-guiding sociopragmatic interactional principles (SIP) in communication and choice of linguistic strategies of politeness during service encounters in Turkish and English. To this end, two questionnaires were administered to 67 monolingual native speakers of English (ENS) by online administration and 85 monolingual native speakers of Turkish (TNS) by pen and paper administration who were all university students. Data were collected (1) by a SIP questionnaire to determine what principles are important in deciding what to say, and (2) by a linguistic strategies of politeness questionnaire (LSQ) to determine the strategies subjects would employ in conflict-generating service encounters. Three sociopragmatic interactional superprinciples were identified through factor analysis, namely (a) Tact (cost-benefit), (b) Relational Communicative Style, and (c) Task achievement. It has been found that face is of central value in communication and the key to the design of politeness and that its maintenance appears to be a prerequisite to adjusting communicative style and goal-orientation. Results indicate that the major differences between TNS and ENS were related to the principles of 'sounding restrained', 'sounding humorous', and 'sounding warm and friendly'. The principles of 'hinting' and 'clarity' were not found as opposites for the TNS whereas they were in negative correlation for the ENS. Moreover, findings for the LSQ demonstrate that realization of self-goal was more important for TNS than ENS as reflected in conflict-maximizing linguistic strategy choice. The study underscores the need for a novel approach to politeness that incorporates SIPs choice of linguistic strategy.