1.4 Face-threatening acts

However, there are acts in social interaction that intrinsically threaten either a participant's want to be approved/positive face or the participantís want to be unimpeded/negative face. These social interactions are called face-threatening acts.

The role of politeness strategies is to minmize these threats. Thus, linguistic politeness is face-risk minimization, as it consists of strategies that serve to minimize the risk to loose Ąfaceď of the conversational participants (Bublitz 2001:224). There are different face-saving strategies that can be adopted correlating to the potential seriousness or weight of the face-threatening act (FTA).

FTA can impede on the personís positive face, i.e. his/her wish for approval, or they can impede on the personís negative face, i.e. his/her wish of non-interference in his/her freedom. Consequently we find positive politeness, oriented towards the positive face of the hearer, and negative politeness , oriented towards the negative face and politeness off record .