Politeness Orientation in the Linguistic Expression of Gratitude in America and Indonesia: Generation X and Y

Published: 2022-03-22
Politeness Orientation in the Linguistic Expression of Gratitude in America and Indonesia: Generation X and Y
Type of paper:  Thesis proposal
Categories:  Culture Linguistics
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1114 words
10 min read

Background of the Study

In the past, pragmatic studies have examined different features of linguistic communication. These features include the use of contextual cues, pragmatic failure, indirectness in cross-cultural situations, politeness and conversation styles (Al-Khawaldeh, 2014). Interestingly, Kadar and Mills (2011) share that politeness has been regarded as a highly significant issue particularly between persons from the West and those from the East. The issue has been regarded as imperative since it is associated with the successful intercultural communication. Laopongharn and Sercombe (2009) share that successful intercultural communication takes into account social values and structures, as well as associated politeness routines. One of the ways through which politeness can be expressed is through gratitude (Freitas, Pieta & Tudge, 2011).

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According to Brown and Levinson (1987), people who interact through communication often collaborate with the aim of maintaining each other's face. Interactions also apply to when one is showing gratitude. It is often advisable that one is showing gratitude, he or she should do so in a manner that maintains their counterpart's face as well as their own. Face can be categorized as either positive or negative. Negative face is the wish to remain unaffected adversely by the actions of others while positive face is the desire to attain approval from others (Park & Guan, 2009)

Statement of the Problem

The comparison of methods used to express gratitude between persons of two different nationalities more so between two different generations is instrumental in attaining fine-grained insights on linguistic behavior. Unfortunately, there exist gaps and limitations in previous research in that they do not adequately cover the linguistic differences in the expression of gratitude between Americans and Indonesians. They also do not address the differences regarding Generation X and Y. Therefore, there exists the need for original research, which will make a contribution to fill the gap.

The objective of the Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate the different ways used to express gratitude in America and Indonesia. It will especially investigate the American and Indonesian context of expressing gratitude by basing on the comparison between Generation X and Y of these countries. It will, therefore, provide insights on the linguistic forms employed when expressing gratitude, which is deemed socially appropriate during social interactions by members of the two countries.

Research Question

Q1: Are there differences that exist when persons from either America or Indonesia express gratitude

Q2: Are these differences observable from the contexts of Generation X and Y

Scope and Limitation

The research will encompass the incorporation of 20 Americans and 20 Indonesians into the study. From each of the 20 participants sampled from each country, 10 of them will be members of Generation Y while the other 10 will be members of Generation X.

One limitation of the study is that the study will be restricted to a sample of only 40 participants and therefore will not generalize the whole population. Secondly, the research will limit itself to one grammar structure which is English and will ignore the diversity of languages spoken the countries.

Significance of the Study

The study's significance is manifested in the way it will provide insights on the linguistic behavior in expressing the gratitude of two different cultural contexts of the Americans and Indonesians. Its significance is also inherent in the fact that it will make a significant contribution to the field of cross-cultural research. In addition, the research will be instrumental for it will for the first time provide the difference in methods of expressing gratitude between different cultures while contrasting with two different generations.

Review of Literature

According to Lambert et al., (2010), when one increases the frequency of expressing gratitude the perception of communal strength increases. In another study, Al-Khawaldeh and Zegarac (2013) share that women perceive the communication of appreciation to be more important compared to men. Similarly, despite the fact that both men and women have similar access to resources of demonstrating gratitude, the strategies that they use have remarkable differences. Also, the style of demonstrating gratitude between men and women differs based on some factors. These factors include the addressee, social formality, and situational context (Froh et al., 2009). According to Sansone and Sansone (2010), there exists an overwhelming body of research, which supports the assertion gratitude and the sense of wellbeing are highly interrelated.

According to Haugh (2012), the concept of politeness is concerned with how people from diverse cultures form, preserve and support their social interactions through the use of language. Culpeper (2011) shares that the advent of research on impoliteness have led to the revelation that impolite communication strategies can be used in the attack on the face. Consequently, they can cause disharmony and social conflict. Locher and Watts (2005) explain that politeness is a broad concept that arises from the perception of those who take part in communication. It is essentially a product of the judgment of the verbal behaviors of those who interact. Politeness theory claims that politeness is involved in redressing different types of face-threatening acts (Vilkki, 2006).


Al-Khawaldeh, N. N. (2014). Politeness orientation in the linguistic expression of gratitude in Jordan and England: a comparative cross-cultural study.

Al-Khawaldeh, N. N., & Zegarac, V. (2013). Gender and the Communication of Gratitude in Jordan. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 3(03), 268.

Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage (Vol. 4). Cambridge university press.Culpeper, J. (2011). Politeness and impoliteness.

Freitas, L. B. D. L., Pieta, M. A. M., & Tudge, J. R. H. (2011). Beyond politeness: The expression of gratitude in children and adolescents. Psicologia: Reflexao e Critica, 24(4), 757-764.

Froh, J. J., Kashdan, T. B., Ozimkowski, K. M., & Miller, N. (2009). Who benefits the most from a gratitude intervention in children and adolescents? Examining positive affect as a moderator. The journal of positive psychology, 4(5), 408-422.

Haugh, M. (2012). Epilogue: The first-second order distinction in face and politeness research. Journal of Politeness Research, 8(1), 111-134.

Kadar, D. Z., & Mills, S. (Eds.). (2011). Politeness in East Asia. Cambridge University Press.

Lambert, N. M., Clark, M. S., Durtschi, J., Fincham, F. D., & Graham, S. M. (2010). Benefits of expressing gratitude: Expressing gratitude to a partner changes one's view of the relationship. Psychological Science, 21(4), 574-580.

Laopongharn, W., & Sercombe, P. (2009). What relevance does intercultural communication have to language education in Thailand?. Annual Review of Education, Communication & Language Sciences, 6.

Locher, M. A., & Watts, R. J. (2005). Politeness theory and relational work. Journal of Politeness Research. Language, Behaviour, Culture, 1(1), 9-33.

Park, H. S., & Guan, X. (2009). Culture, positive and negative face threats, and apology intentions. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 28(3), 244-262.

Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). Gratitude and well being: The benefits of appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgemont), 7(11), 18.

Vilkki, L. (2006). Politeness, face, and facework: Current issues. A man of measure Festschrift in honor of Fred Karlsson on his 60th birthday.

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Politeness Orientation in the Linguistic Expression of Gratitude in America and Indonesia: Generation X and Y. (2022, Mar 22). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/politeness-orientation-in-the-linguistic-expression-of-gratitude-in-america-and-indonesia-generation-x-and-y

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