INTERRUPTION, FACE AND POLITENESS IN CONVERSATIONS OF UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATES IN SOUTHWEST NIGERIA

AUTHOR: KHABYR A. FASASI  & GLORIA U. AMADI

PUBLISHED: March 2018

Abstract

This paper examined the politeness perception of interruption and its functions to speakers’ face as regards peace-building in discourse. Interruptions are generally perceived as impolite, face-threatening and antithetical to peace. Conversations of undergraduates of state-owned universities in southwest Nigeria were subjected to descriptive analysis using Brown and Levinson’s face-saving politeness theory in order to examine the relationship between politeness and interruption. Analysis of the nineteen (19) interruptions reveals that eleven (11) interruptions are polite and face-saving; ten (10) of which are oriented towards positive face. Eight (08) interruptions are impolite and face-threatening but these employ negative face repair strategies. The study concludes that contrary to some scholars’ position (e. g. Ghilzai & Inayat, 2015); interruptions among the undergraduates are not perceived as negative, face-threatening and antithetical to peace just as interrupters are not necessarily considered as impolite, uncivilised and less sophisticated.

Keywords: Interruption, turn-taking, face, politeness, peace-building, undergraduates.

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