Vol. 22 No. 4 (2022)
A Phono-pragmatic Study of Politeness in the British Soap Opera 'EastEnders'
Alaa Noori Jabbar , Asst. Prof Dr. Nesaem Mehdi Al-Aadili
This study investigates politeness and how they are produced and perceived appropriately by participants from a phono-pragmatic perspective. It explores how British speakers utilize prosodic features and pragmatic strategies to convey polite messages. The study aims at (1) Identifying the phono-pragmatic strategies that are used to produce and perceive polite messages in the British soap opera ‘EastEnders’, (2) Finding out the prosodic patterns that the speaker employs to convey the intended polite messages, (3) Exploring the functions of intonation as well as levels of intensity in producing politeness; (4) Pinpointing the mostly used politeness super-strategies in the British soap opera ‘EastEnders’.
In accordance with the aims mentioned above, the following hypotheses are formulated: (1) Key, termination, and intensity as well positive and negative politeness strategies and speech acts are the phono-pragmatic strategies of politeness, (2) There are several prosodic patterns used to express politeness; (3) Positive and negative politeness are the mostly used strategies in the British soap opera ‘EastEnder’, (4) Additive, contrastive and equative functions of intonation are used to determine the intended polite utterances .
Five politeness conversations chosen randomly from season 2019 to 2021 from the British soap opera ‘EastEnder’ are analyzed phono-pragmatically via an eclectic model adopted by this study for this purpose. Then, the results of the phono-pragmatic analysis are statically analyzed to verify the above hypotheses. The eclectic model is based on Brazil’s discourse intonation model, Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness model. The data has been measured acoustically by using spectral, pitch and formant PRAAT analysis of conversation turns and acts occurring in the British soap opera ‘EastEnders’. The results of the analyses show that the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth hypotheses are verified. The main conclusions of the study are: (1) Key, termination, and intensity as well as positive, negative, and bald on record politeness strategies are the phono-pragmatic strategies used to convey politeness, (2) Politeness can be divided acoustically into moderate and extreme politeness, the former can be expressed by the mid key and mid termination with the additive function of intonation and the latter can be produced with mid key and low termination. (3) Additive function of intonation in addition to moderate or lower intensity and increased pitch are often used to produce politeness, while contrastive function of intonation as well as the higher intensity are utilized to express impoliteness.