LINGUIST List 25.3164

Mon Aug 04 2014

Diss: Arabic, Standard, English; Pragmatics, Sociolinguistics: Ahmed: 'A Contrastive Pragma-Sociolinguistic Study of Etiquette Teachings...'

Editor for this issue: Danuta Allen <>

Date: 02-Aug-2014
From: Muhammed Ahmed <>
Subject: A Contrastive Pragma-Sociolinguistic Study of Etiquette Teachings in English Christian and Arabic Islamic Texts
E-mail this message to a friend

Institution: University of Baghdad
Program: PhD in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Muhammed Badea Ahmed

Dissertation Title: A Contrastive Pragma-Sociolinguistic Study of Etiquette Teachings in English Christian and Arabic Islamic Texts

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard (arb)
                            English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Abdullatif Alwan Al-Jumaily

Dissertation Abstract:

Since human beings started dealings with each other and social contacts began to have special significance, a need to have rules to regulate these relationships and contacts arose. These rules govern what later came to be known as etiquette. This label covers rules governing both linguistic and non-linguistic behaviour of a given speech community. Usually rules of etiquette, whether linguistic or non-linguistic are presented in the form of teachings in etiquette manuals for the different successive periods of time.

The present study is an attempt to investigate etiquette teachings given by the Bible and Prophetic Hadiths in both English and Arabic respectively. It aims at:
1. Investigating the incorporation of politeness theory and the speech acts theory within the domain of etiquette teachings to find out the most recurring speech acts in performing the teachings of etiquette.
2. Investigating the practices of social marking and politeness strategies used in each language to attain the ultimate goal of the etiquette teachings in the two different communities in order to establish inter-culturally orientated conceptualization of face.
3. Approaching politeness in Arabic through these teaching texts in an attempt to clarify some of the aspects of politeness in Arabic through the details the study will cover such as greetings, maintenance of good interpersonal relations and the notion of face in Arabic Islamic culture.
4. Investigating the different cultural impacts of both English and Arabic on the communities’ perception and practice of these etiquette teachings .

In light of these aims, the study hypothesizes that:
1. Directives are the prevalent speech acts as far as etiquette teachings are concerned in both languages.
2. Politeness systems are differently employed in the two languages/cultures under investigation.
3. Direct speech acts are more frequently used in Arabic than in English.
4. The influence of culture has its vivid impact on observable behaviour or acting-guiding cognitions crystallized as ‘core cultural concepts’.

To achieve the aims of the study, data of thirty Biblical verses and thirty Prophetic Hadiths covering four themes in etiquette teachings have been selected and analyzed in terms of a model developed for the purpose of the study based on Brown and Levinson’s theory of politeness. The analysis has been carried out on four levels: semantic-pragmatic, politeness strategies, modification and syntactic to determine the behaviour of each language within this specific area of language usage. The analysis of the data confirms the hypotheses of the study and yields the following results:
1. Directives as a speech acts category, represent the predominant majority of speech acts used in etiquette teachings in both languages.
2. Arabic resorts more to direct speech acts than English in conveying the different teachings within the area of etiquette.
3. Positive politeness is given more weight in Arabic than in English through utilizing more politeness strategies and emphasizing in-group belongingness and solidarity.
4. Both cultures have their clear impact on the way people use the two languages as represented in the different cultural ethos that govern individuals’ behaviour.
5.Both languages show preference to mitigated over unmitigated speech acts, yet Arabic uses more mitigation than English.

Page Updated: 04-Aug-2014