4.1 Shi

| August 10, 2020

Guang Shi. (2014). Face-threatening Acts in Chinese Courtroom Discourse. International Journal of Law, Language & Discourse 4(1), 1-25.

Abstract: The courtroom is a site of power struggle. In order to realize their goals and show their power or authority, courtroom subjects use various language resources and strategies, among them face-threatening acts figure prominently. Employing Brown and Levinson’s politeness strategies, this paper analyzes face-threatening acts used by different subjects in the courtroom. It is found that: the more powerful a subject is, the more impolite s/he tends to be, i.e. s/he tends to employ more face-threatening acts. As the most powerful subjects in the courtroom, judges perform face-threatening acts most frequently in various ways. The three major types of face-threatening acts used by the judges are appellation (word(s) used to call a subject), reiteration of instruction (discourse used to restate a previous instruction), and dissatisfaction (expression used to show dissatisfaction with a subject’s performance). By contrast, other subjects’ face-threatening acts are not only smaller in quantity, but also less threatening to the addressees’ faces.

Keywords: Chinese courtroom discourse, face-threatening act, politeness strategy, face-saving theory


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Category: Volume 4