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The Linguistic Realization of Face Management: Implications for Language Production and Comprehension, Person Perception, and Cross-Cultural Communication

Thomas Holtgraves
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 55, No. 2, Special Issue: Theoretical Advances in Social Psychology (Jun., 1992), pp. 141-159
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786943
Page Count: 19
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The Linguistic Realization of Face Management: Implications for Language Production and Comprehension, Person Perception, and Cross-Cultural Communication
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Abstract

Goffman's concepts of face and face-work have been used by researchers in recent years to explain the interpersonal underpinnings of language use. Most notable in this regard is the research of Brown and Levinson, whose theory of politeness has stimulated considerable research on this topic. By operationalizing face-work in terms of specific linguistic strategies and by linking face concerns with the major interpersonal dimensions of social interaction, this research has led to theoretical advances in explaining how speakers will phrase their remarks. This research is summarized and reviewed in this article, and I argue that face-management theory has the potential to explain comprehensively how speakers will phrase all remarks that have interpersonal implications. Moreover, because of the centrality of face in social interaction, I argue that face management theory has the potential to explain certain features of related communication phenomena such as language comprehension, person perception, and cross-cultural communication.

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