Date of Submission

May 2009


The present study examines the concept of politeness within the framework provided by Brown and Levinson's (1978, 1987) influential theory of politeness. The study explores politeness phenomena as represented in literary genres, more specifically in contemporary works of drama from Australia and Palestine. Such a study follows in the footsteps of earlier studies of politeness as represented in plays including those by Brown and Gilman (1989), Magnusson (1999), Sifianou (1992) and Simpson (1997). In doing so, the study makes an important contribution to the literature on this area of linguistics as very few studies of politeness have investigated the Arabic language, whether in spoken interactions or literary genres. It also contributes to our understanding of the important concept of 'face'. In the study, ten plays: five Australian and five Palestinian plays are analyzed to identify requests as they appear in the written text of each play (rather than in live productions). The linguistic expressions as well as the politeness strategies for doing Face threatening Acts (FTAs) will be identified, classified and analyzed. In addition, depending on a supplementary questionnaire, 'face' will be explored as it is conceptualized by speakers of Australian English and Palestinian Arabic. Particular emphasis will be laid on acts that enhance face and acts that cause face loss. As well as contributing further to an important and very vigorous area of research in pragmatics, it is hoped that the findings of the study will allow researchers to gain further insight into the linguistic repertoires of both cultures. The study will therefore provide a base on which interactions between people from both cultures may be undertaken with greater sensitivity. Hence, the study will have two sets of outcomes, the first linguistic and the second intercultural.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


280 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Arts and Sciences