The study aimed to analyze the politeness strategies in arguments employed by the characters in the movie The Proposal. The study explored the types of speech act exploited in an argument, the politeness strategies used by the characters in the arguments and the factors which influence the choice of strategy.
The study used pragmatics study to analyze the speech act in argument. The descriptive qualitative study was applied in this study. All of the utterances containing arguments in the movie The Proposal were taken as the data. There were 18 data which have been analyzed by using Brown and Levinson’s theory of politeness strategy.
The analysis results can be described as follows: First, there are five types of speech act exploited in arguments, namely declarations, representatives, expressives, directives and commissives. From all the data, expressives appear 26 times. Directives come out 21 times, followed by representatives and commissives which appear 20 times and 8 times successively, while declarations just emerge once.
Second, there are four strategies employed by the characters in the arguments. The strategies comprise bald on-record, positive politeness, negative politeness and off record strategy. From all the data, positive politeness strategy is used 14 times by the speakers to initiate argument, while off record strategy is used 8 times. Then, bald on-record and negative politeness strategy appear 6 times equally. The hearers mostly use negative politeness strategy to reject the speakers’ argument. Positive politeness strategy is mostly chosen by the hearers to acknowledge the speakers’ argument. Then, to neglect the speakers’ argument, the hearers equally choose bald on-record, negative politeness and off record strategy.
Third, the characters’ choice of strategy is influenced by some factors. To initiate argument, the choice of bald on-record strategy is mostly influenced by the relative power, speech situation and close relationship between the participants. The rank of imposition mostly influences the speakers to employ positive politeness strategy, while the social distance mostly influences them to use negative politeness strategy. Then, the choice of off record strategy is mostly influenced by the payoffs. Furthermore, to respond to the speakers’ argument, the hearers are also influenced by several factors. The choice of bald on-record strategy is mostly influenced by the relative power of the participants. Then, the rank of imposition mostly influences the hearers to choose positive politeness strategy. Besides, the employment of negative politeness strategy is mostly influenced by the social distance and speech situation. The payoffs mostly influence the hearers to choose off record strategy to respond to the speakers’ argument.
This study is supposed to be useful for the readers in studying politeness strategy of argument. It is recommended that other researchers can conduct other studies about arguments in different culture and context to get new findings related to politeness strategy in nowadays’ communication.