1.1 Background of the Research
Living in a country with rituals and courtesy, Chinese people always pay greatattention to politeness, morality, and graciousness that are stressed extremely no matterin career or in people’s daily life in order to establish and maintain harmonious personalrelationships. For example, the famous Chinese scholar Confucius proposed “not to saythings which do not conform to the politeness” as the highest principle of discourse andcommunication criterion (Deng Qitong, Wang Chuan, & Liu Bo, 2007, p. 258). Indeed,politeness is the best form of expression as the practical application of good etiquetteand manners. As Leech (1983, p. 3) defined in 1993, “politeness is the avoidance ofstrategic conflict that can be measured in terms of the investment and effort in buildingand maintaining comity and good relationship”. In addition, Holmes and Wilson (2017,p. 30) claimed that being linguistically polite refers to speak appropriately and choosesuitable polite form in different time and context to understand the dimension offormality and social values. Therefore, politeness plays an essential role in humancommunication and social interaction. However, according to Goffman (1967, p. 48),politeness is not something people are born with, but something they have to learn andsocialize. People can acquire politeness communication skills through social interaction.In the process of politeness acquisition and application, some principles and strategiesshould be used to ensure more effective and harmonious communication. Among them,Leech’s (1983, p. 6) politeness principle identifies and categorizes politeness into sixmaxim (tact, agreement, approbation, generosity, modest, and sympathy), which is suitable to Chinese language context that pays more attention to euphemism and indirectspeech acts to enhance harmonious and smooth social communication and interaction.
1.2 Purpose and Significance of the Research
1.2.1 Purpose of the Research
There are three purposes for this research.
Firstly, as we know, politeness language accounts important part in teachers’classroom discourse. But using politeness language improperly will decrease positiveeffects of discourse because of face broken. Therefore, this study will adopt classobservation, audio record, and transcription methods to qualitatively analyze how dopoliteness principles used in senior high school English teachers’ classroom discourse toenhance smooth verbal communication and effective teaching process.
Secondly, because of inborn character diversity on gender, male and femaleteachers may emphasis on using different maxims or different proportion of each maxim(tact maxim, generosity maxim, approbation maxim, modesty maxim, agreement maxim,sympathy maxim) based on Leech’s politeness principle for English classroomdiscourse. Consequently, this study will use the transcription of teachers’ utterancesspoken in English classroom and interview results of teachers to analyze the similaritiesand differences of politeness principles used by male and female teachers in classroomdiscourse.
Thirdly, this study is a practical study of English teaching, there should be somepractical significance to English language teaching. As Yao Peizhi (2014, p. 61) claimed,“Both the teaching effects and the cultivation of learners’ other abilities are affected bythe teacher’s classroom discourse level”. As a result, this study will adopt classroomobservations, teachers’ interviews, and students’ questionnaires to explore theinfluences of using politeness principle to senior high school English languageclassr