10. Face, politeness and interpersonal variables: implications for language production and comprehension
Face, Communication and Social Interaction - Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini
Ball State University
Face and facework are invaluable concepts for understanding i nterpersonal communication. Their importance derives from the fact that they provide a means of organising the effects of a variety of interpersonal influences on many different aspects of communication. In this chapter I describe some of these effects as a means of demonstrating this organising function. In doing this I will be treating face as an abstract, high-level theoretical construct, a theoretical tool that can be usefully applied to interpersonal communication. I first sketch in broad terms the various shades of meaning given to the concepts of face and facework. Then, I provide a brief overview of Brown and Levinson’s (1978, 1987) politeness theory, as this has been the major vehicle for examining the role of face in interpersonal communication. I then consider the role of face management processes in language production, person perception, impression management and language comprehension. Finally, I consider cultural and individual differences in the manner in which face is manifested in conversation.