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Title: Pragmalinguistic analysis of (im)politeness in literary discourse : a case study of major works by Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Tawfiq Al-Hakim and Najuib Mahfouz
Author: Al-Badawi, Mohammed Abdel Qader
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 1889
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2011
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The focus of this study is in the area of pragmatic-stylistics. The study argues that pragmatic tools such as (im)politeness theory and cooperative maxims can be applied to literary discourse to explain different dynamics in the conversation of dramatic and fictional characters in literary texts in relation to their sex, power, social distance, and interactive role. It also examines how these factors interrelate in explaining the tension in the characters’ dialogues. Brown and Levinson’s model of politeness and Culpeper’s framework of impoliteness, as well as Grice’s cooperative principle, have been used as a theoretical background to review critically the dialogues between the dramatic and fictional characters. The data of this study consists of four literary works. Two of them are written in English by Irish dramatists. These are Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw (1912), and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (1895). The other two texts are Fate of a Cockroach (1966) by the Arab dramatist Tawfiq Al-Hakim. The second Arabic work is Palace of Desire by Egyptian novelist Najuib Mahfouz (1954). Each text is analyzed to see how sex, power, social distance, and interactive role affect characters’ use of (im)politeness. Following this analysis, a chapter on the discrepancies of the translation of (im)politeness formulas is presented. The aim is to discover whether characters’ (im)politeness utterances in English have the same pragmatic equivalence as the original Arabic texts. It has been found that, especially in the case of invocations; an exact English equivalent often does not exist, thereby causing a loss in meaning and degree of conveying of the politeness or impoliteness utterance. The dissertation concludes that the pragmalinguistic tools – politeness and impoliteness theories as well as Grice’s cooperative principles are useful in explaining the dynamics of characters in literay discourse, and in explaining the interactive role of characters in literary texts. This in turn can leave us with some evidence to the themes tackled by the writers such as presenting the female discourse to be stronger and more out spoken than the male discourse in the four selected texts to reflect on the themes in each text. The thesis also contemplates further areas of research, especially in Arabic literature and media discourse in the Arab world. By keeping this research’s findings in mind, it sheds light on the cultural aspect of language, hopefully drawing the focus away from the mere science of the language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Politeness (Linguistics)