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Cách diễn đạt sự bất đồng giữa những người không bình đẳng về quyền lực trong tiếng Anh và tiếng Việt: Nghiên cứu dụng học giao văn hoá


VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
COLLEGE OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES




NGUYEN QUANG NGOAN




DISAGREEING AMONG POWER-UNEQUALS
IN ENGLISH AND VIETNAMESE:
A CROSS-CULTURAL PRAGMATICS STUDY







Major: English Linguistics
Code: 62.22.15.01



SUMMARY OF PHD. DISSERTATION
ON ENGLISH LINGUISTICS



HANOI, 2009

ABBREVIATIONS AND CONVENTIONS
A: Addressee
ANS: Australian native speaker
B&L: Brown and Levinson
CC: Cross-cultural
CCP: Cross-cultural pragmatics
D: Social Distance
DCT: Discourse completion task/test
FTA: Face Threatening Act
H: Hearer
IL: Interlanguage
ILP: Interlanguage pragmatics
MAQ: Metapragmatic assessment questionnaire
P: Relative Power
PT: Pragmatic transfer
R: Ranking of imposition
S: Speaker
Se: Setting
VLE: Vietnamese learner of English
VNS: Vietnamese native speaker
Politeness strategies:
Avoid D: Avoid disagreement
Bald-on R: Bald on record
Common G: Presuppose/ raise/ assert common ground
Concern: Assert or presuppose S’s knowledge or concern for H’s
wants
Conventionally ind: Be conventionally indirect
Deference: Give deference


Encourage: Condolence, encouragement
FTA as a GR: State the FTA as a general rule
Gift: Give gifts to H
Hint: Give hints
Impersonalize: Impersonalize S and H
In-group: Use in-group identity markers
Include S&H: Include both S and H in the activity
Interest: Intensify interest to H
Ironic: Be ironic
Minimize the imp: Minimize the imposition, R
x

Multiple P: Multiple positive politeness
Multiple N: Multiple negative politeness
Multiple O: Multiple off record
Negative P: Negative politeness
No FTA: Don’t do the FTA
N + O: Negative politeness plus off record
Optimistic: Be optimistic

Positive P: Positive politeness
Promise: Offer, promise
=P: Equal-power
P + N: Positive politeness plus negative politeness
P + O: Positive politeness plus off record
P + N + O: Positive politeness plus negative politeness plus off
record
Reciprocity: Assume or assert reciprocity
Reason: Give (or ask for) reasons
Rhetorical Q: Use rhetorical questions
Single P: Single positive politeness
Single N: Single negative politeness
Single O: Single off record
Vague: Be vague
In tables and sample analyses:
CCD: Cross-cultural difference
+D: Small social distance
=D: Not-large-nor-small social distance
-D: Large social distance
-P: Powerless/Low power
=P: Equal-power
+P: Powerful/High power
+Se: Formal setting
=Se: Semi-formal setting
-Se: Informal setting
Sit.: Situation
No PT: No pragmatic transfer
In numbered examples:
Examples are numbered for ease of reference. For example, (4.9) signifies
the ninth example in the fourth chapter.
Underlined: used to highlight what is being demonstrated.
In the text:
Italics: used for emphasis, examples, politeness strategies, or technical
terms mentioned for the first time.
&: used to replace “and” for linking the names of co-authors of references


PART A: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale
In the last fifteen years in Vietnam, there have been a great number of
contrastive pragmatics studies comparing and contrasting Vietnamese
and English in various speech acts. However, there have not been
sufficient interlanguage pragmatics (ILP) studies contrasting English
by Vietnamese learners and English by its native speakers. It is for
this reason that the author decided to contribute to developing the
trend of ILP studies by conducting a research into pragmatic transfer
(PT) from Vietnamese to English in the act of disagreeing under the
influence of the relative power (P) in some particular contexts.
Disagreeing is the speech act under investigation in this study, and it
was chosen because of some major reasons. Firstly, no studies of the
speech act of disagreeing have been conducted in Vietnam from the
ILP perspective. Secondly, another focus of my study is on the effects
of P on verbal interactions, and according to many researchers (Beebe
& Takahashi, 1989; Rees-Miller, 2000; and Locher, 2004), the
realizations of disagreeing strategies are proven to be under great
influence of P. However, the author has not noticed any studies of
speech acts, in which P was realized as a separated social variable that
is in focus. Thus, it is the author’s purpose to attempt to investigate
the issue.
There are also some other reasons for the author’s choice of P as the
focused social variable operating in this study. One reason is that, as
far as the author knows, there have been no thorough empirical studies
of power influence on verbal interaction in Vietnam although there
have been a lot of relevant discussions and studies on power and its
correlation with language in English-speaking cultures (e.g., Ng,
1995; Ng and Bradac, 1993; Watts, 1991, 2003; Hofstede, 1977, 1991,
2001; Holmes, 1992; Rees-Miller, 2000; Fairclough, 2001; Holmes &
Stubbe, 2003; Locher, 2004). Thus, this study can serve to fill in the
gap in the Vietnamese literature. Another reason is that, according to
Hofstede (1991, 2001) and his supporters, including Spencer-Oatey
(1997), Gibson (2002), Samovar & Porter (2001), and Ting-Toomey
& Chung (2005), high-power-distance values are for Asian countries
and lower-power-distance values are for the USA, Great Britain and
its former dominions, including Australia. Vietnam is an Asian
country but it was not a country under Hofstede’s investigation, so it

seems to be logical to hypothesize that Vietnam is among other Asian
countries which show high-power-distance values but this hypothesis
must be tested, especially in comparison with an English-speaking
culture, Australia. A third reason is that the effects of P on language
have been discussed and emphasized by many authors (e.g., Holmes,
1992; Ng & Bradac, 1993; Ng, 1995; Rees-Miller, 2000; Fairclough,
2001; Nguyen Quang, 2002, 2004; Holmes & Stubbe, 2003; Locher,
2004). However, to what extent does the relative power affect the
speaker’s use of disagreeing strategies realized in Vietnamese by the
Vietnamese native speakers (VNS) and in English by the Vietnamese
learners of English (VLE) and Australian native speakers (ANS)? Do
the effects cause negative PT in the use of disagreeing strategies from
Vietnamese to English? These are some of the questions which remain
unanswered, and so the questions the author hopes to answer in the
present study.
2. Aims of the study
2.1. Overall purpose
The overall purpose of the dissertation is to investigate thoroughly
primarily the negative PT from Vietnamese into Australian language
and culture, and secondarily noteworthy Vietnamese-Australian CC
differences as valid clues for the interpretation and discussion of the
PT in the speech act of disagreeing under the effects of P in the
investigated situations.
2.2. Specific aims
To achieve the overall purpose, the study is aimed:
- to find out the major features of Vietnamese-English PT caused by
the VLE and CC differences between the VNS and ANS in their use
of disagreeing politeness strategies with the more powerful as well as
with the less powerful in the investigated situations.
- to investigate the effects of P on the subject’s use of disagreeing
politeness strategies reflected from the differences in their use of
politeness strategies for disagreeing which is affected by their
perception of P described in the relative roles in the investigated
situations.

3. Research questions
1. What are some significant features of negative PT caused by the
VLE and what are some significant CC differences between the VNS
and ANS in their use of disagreeing politeness strategies in the
investigated situations? Sub questions are:
- Which features of negative PT and CC differences in the use of
disagreeing politeness strategies are significant?
- Which CC differences between the VNS and ANS lead to
negative PT and which CC differences do not?
- Which disagreeing politeness strategies are used and preferred
by the VLE, ANS, and VNS? What are the differences in their
use of those strategies in the powerful and powerless situations?
- Which politeness strategies in Brown and Levinson’s (1987)
framework are realized, either as single strategies or strategy
combinations for disagreeing in the investigated situations? Is
there a high possibility for strategy combinations?
2. How does the subject’s perception of P in the investigated
situations affect their use of disagreeing politeness strategies? How do
the similarities and differences in the subject’s perception of P affect
negative PT and CC differences in their use of disagreeing politeness
strategies? Sub questions are:
- How is P described in the relative roles in the investigated
situations perceived by the VNS, ANS, and VLE?
- To what extent is the VNS’s perception of P different from the
ANS’s? Is it true that Vietnam is a higher-power-distance culture
than Australia?
- Is there the phenomenon of inverse PT in P perception caused by
the VLE in the investigated situations?
- How do the similarities and differences in the subject’s
perception of P in the investigated situations affect their use of
disagreeing politeness strategies?
4. Scope of the study

- The study focuses on intralinguistic factors. Paralinguistic and
extralinguistic aspects are, therefore, out of the scope of the study. The
verbal interaction is restricted to the act of disagreeing.
- The act of disagreeing focuses on the frequency and realizations of
politeness strategies used by the VLE, ANS, and VNS in some
specific situations in light of the politeness framework by Brown and
Levinson (1987).
- The particular situations are restricted to thirty situations in the
Meta-pragmatic Assessment Questionnaires (MAQ) and six situations
in the Discourse Completion Task (DCT).
- “Among power-unequals” is meant to cover all the interactions
between not only the more powerful and the less powerful but also the
less powerful and the more powerful in various situations in the four
contexts: (1) at home, (2) at work, (3) at school, and (4) in society.
- P is described in the relative roles, such as a parent versus his/her
child (at home), a university lecturer versus a student (at school), a
boss versus an employee (at work), or an elder person versus a
younger one (in society).
- The focused social variable is P, which is used to refer to the relative
power each speaker temporarily has in each given context. However,
the social distance (D) and the speaking context (Se) are also taken
into consideration for detailed interpretation and discussion of each
particular situation.
- Vietnamese-Australian PT in disagreeing among power-unequals is
what the study aims to investigate. Thus, comparison and contrast of
disagreeing strategies by the VLE and ANS are in focus. However, for
the objectivity and validity of the research, the study is expanded to
cover the comparison and contrast of the power perception and
disagreeing strategies by the VNS and ANS to serve as the basic
background for the interpretation, discussion, and conclusion of the
PT.
5. Contributions of the study
The study is expected to bring out some following contributions:
- Theoretically, it contributes an investigation to some research areas
in Vietnam: (1) socio-cultural effects (i.e. power effects) on verbal
interactions, (2) pragmatic transfer (i.e. Vietnamese-English transfer),
(3) speech act theory (i.e. disagreeing as a speech act), and (4)
linguistic politeness. Specifically, this is the first thorough empirical
research in Vietnam, the focus of which is on the influence of P on

language, or to be more exact on disagreeing, and also the first study
of Vietnamese-Australian PT in the act. Its findings are expected to
reinforce or deny existing hypotheses in the fields and to bring about a
better insight into the issues.
- Practically, its findings on the Vietnamese-Australian PT, especially
negative PT, in the frequency and realizations of disagreeing strategies
in particular situations with sufficient details and plenty of specific
examples from a rich source of data can be applied to English
language teaching and CC communication.
- Methodologically, it serves as a valid study on people’s perception
of socio-situational factors and the production of language strategies
in verbal interactions through the suitable research methodology of the
combination between the MAQ and DCT. It also contributes a new
way of applying Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness model to
data analyses in empirical studies concerning linguistic politeness.
7. Organization of the study
The present study is 197 pages long divided into three parts: Part A –
Introduction, Part B – Development, and Part C – Conclusion.
Part A is the introduction to the study consisting of 10 pages (pp. 1-
10) in which the author writes about the reasons for which the study is
conducted. Other issues clarified in this section are the aims, scope,
research questions, and contributions of the study. A summary of all
the parts and chapters is also presented to help the audience have an
overall idea of the study. Part B is the major part of the study which
consists of 177 pages (pp. 11-187) divided into four chapters,
discussing the relevant theoretical concepts, literature review,
methodology and results of the present study. Part C consists of 10
pages (pp. 178-197) regarding the conclusions, implications, and
suggestions for further studies. Following is the structure of the study
in detail.
 Certificate of originality of study project report
 Acknowledgements
 Abstract
 Table of contents
 Abbreviations and conventions
 List of figures, tables, and graphs
PART A: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale
2. Aims of the study
2.1. Overall purpose

2.2. Specific aims
3. Research questions
4. Scope of the study
5. Contributions of the study
6. Methodology
7. Organization of the study
PART B: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER I: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND AND LITERATURE
REVIEW
1.1. Cross-Cultural pragmatics (CCP) and interlanguage pragmatics (ILP)
1.1.1. Notion and scope
1.1.2. Pragmatic transfer and relevant issues
1.2. Speech act theory and disagreeing as a speech act
1.2.1. Notion of speech acts
1.2.2. Classification of speech acts
1.2.3. Disagreeing as a potential face threatening act
1.3. Politeness theory and its application to the present study
1.3.1. Definitions of politeness
1.3.2. Politeness approaches in literature
1.3.2.1. The strategic view
1.3.2.2. The normative view
1.3.2.3. Concluding remarks
1.3.3. Application of politeness approach in the present study
1.4. Disagreeing in previous studies and in the present study
1.4.1. Previous studies of disagreeing in English and Vietnamese
1.4.2. Summary of findings and shortcomings in the previous studies
1.4.3. Disagreeing in the present study
CHAPTER II: METHODOLOGY
2.1. Research methods
2.1.1. An overview of research methods in inter-language pragmatics
2.1.1.1. A brief description of the two major research methods in ILP
2.1.1.2. Common trends in applying research methods to ILP studies
2.1.1.3. Some concluding remarks on ILP research methods
2.1.2. Research methods in the present study
2.1.2.1. The chosen research methods
2.1.2.2. Reasons for choosing the methods
2.2. Research design
2.2.1. Data collection instruments
2.2.1.1. Meta-pragmatic assessment questionnaires (MAQ)
2.2.1.2. Discourse completion task (DCT)
2.2.2. Subjects
2.2.3. Procedures of developing instruments and gathering data

2.3. Data analysis
2.3.1. Validity test (T-Test) for developing data-gathering instrument
(DCT)
2.3.1.1. A description of the T-Test
2.3.1.2. Interpretation of the T-Test scores
2.3.1.3. Results of the T-Test
2.3.2. Chi-square analysis of the MAQ and DCT
2.3.2.1. A description of the Chi-square
2.3.2.2. Interpretation of the Chi-square
2.3.2.3. Results of the Chi-square analyses
CHAPTER III: CROSS-CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AND
PRAGMATIC TRANSFER IN THE PERCEPTION OF RELATIVE
POWER
3.1. Power and language in social interactions in previous studies
3.1.1. The concept and nature of power in social interactions
3.1.2. Previous studies of power and language in social interactions
3.1.3. Major findings and shortcomings in the previous studies of power
3.1.3.1. Power and language are closely interconnected
3.1.3.2. Power is conceptualized differently in different cultures
3.1.3.3. Factors that need taking into concern when studying power
3.1.4. Concluding remarks
3.2. Perception of P in the present study
3.2.1. The perception of P in the family context
3.2.1.1. Equal-power situations in the family context
3.2.1.2. Unequal-power situations in the family context
3.2.1.3. Concluding remarks of P perception in the family context
3.2.2. The perception of P in the university context
3.2.2.1. Equal-power situations in the university context
3.2.2.2. Unequal-power situations in the university context
3.2.2.3. Concluding remarks of P in the university context
3.2.3. The perception of P in the work context
3.2.3.1. Equal-power situations in the work context
3.2.3.2. Unequal-power situations in the work context
3.2.3.3. Concluding remarks of P in the work context
3.2.4. The perception of P in the social context
3.2.4.1. Equal-power situations in the social context
3.2.4.2. Unequal-power situations in the social context
3.2.4.3. Concluding remarks of P in the social context
CHAPTER IV: CROSS-CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AND
PRAGMATIC TRANSFER IN THE USE OF DISAGREEING
POLITENESS STRATEGIES
4.1. Disagreeing politeness strategies realized in the invested situations

4.1.1. Disagreeing strategies based on Brown and Levinson’s Framework
4.1.1.1. Bald on record
4.1.1.2. Positive politeness
4.1.1.3. Negative politeness
4.1.1.4. Off record
4.1.1.5. Don’t do the FTA (No FTA)
4.1.2. Disagreeing strategies in the analytical framework of the present
study
4.2. Disagreeing politeness strategies in powerless situations
4.2.1. Situation 1
4.2.2. Situation 9
4.2.3. Situation 27
4.2.4. Concluding remarks
4.3. Disagreeing politeness strategies in powerful situations
4.3.1. Situation 5
4.3.2. Situation 12
4.3.3. Situation 13
4.3.4. Concluding remarks
PART C: CONCLUSION
1. Major findings
1.1. On inverse PT and CC differences in power perception
1.2. On negative PT and CC differences in the use of disagreeing
politeness strategies
1.2.1. On negative PT in the use of disagreeing politeness strategies in
specific situations
1.2.2. On CC differences in the use of disagreeing politeness strategies in
specific situations
1.2.3. On the use of disagreeing politeness strategies in powerful and
powerless situations.
2. Implications
3. Suggestions for further studies
 Articles and projects related to the dissertation
 References
 Appendices
Appendix a: questionnaires
Appendix b: coding system of disagreeing politeness strategies
Appendix c: statistic results
PART B: DEVELOPMENT
1. Chapter one
Chapter one consists of 40 pages (pp. 11-50) where a theoretical
background and literature review are presented in light of cross-

cultural pragmatics (CCP). It begins with a visit to basic concepts and
terminologies of CCP, ILP, PT, and so on. Next, the speech act theory
is visited with critical comments on the notion and classifications of
speech acts, as discussed by Austin (1962), Searle (1969, 1975, 1976),
Bach and Harnish (1979), Wierzbicka (1987), and others. Then, the
author argues for disagreeing as a potential face-threatening act and a
dispreferred structure. Next, the politeness theory is revisited with a
thorough discussion on its notion and approaches in literature.
Specifically, Western politeness approaches (i.e., strategic approaches
by Lakoff, 1973; Leech, 1983; and Brown and Levinson, 1987) are
compared to the Asian ones – the normative approaches by Chinese
and Japanese linguists (Hill et all., 1986; Matsumoto, 1988; Ide, 1989;
Gu, 1990; Limao, 1994; among others), with a focus on their view,
popularity, influence, and criticisms. These politeness approaches
from the point of view of Vietnamese researchers (e.g., Nguyen
Quang, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004; Duong Bach Nhat, 2008; Nguyen
Van Do, 1996, 1999; Nguyen Duc Hoat, 1995; Vu Thi Thanh Huong,
1997, 2002; Pham Thi Hong Nhung, 2007ab) with reference to
Vietnamese are introduced to build up a theoretical background for the
author’s argument for the chosen theoretical framework in the present
study – Brown and Levinson’s (1987) model with suggested
amendments. Finally, all the up-to-date studies and discussions of
disagreeing as a speech act that the author is aware of and able to get
access to are introduced for an overview of the achievements and
shortcomings in the previous studies of the speech act. These are
studies and discussions conducted by Leech (1983), Brown and
Levinson (1987), Beebe and Takahashi (1989), Holtgraves (1997),
Ree-Miller (2000), Locher (2004), Kieu Thi Thu Huong (2001, 2006),
and Nguyen Quang Ngoan (2004, 2007a).
2. Chapter two
Chapter two consists of 40 pages (pp. 51-90) describing the
methodology of the present study. In this chapter, various research
methods in ILP studies with their strengths and weaknesses, as
discussed by well-known authors, are introduced with critical
comments before an introduction to the methods in the present study
is made, with specific reasons for choosing them. Then, the research
design including the data-gathering instruments, subject selection, and
data-gathering procedures are all introduced. Finally, the data analysis
procedures are clarified with a thorough description of the T-Test,
Chi-square analysis, and analytical framework. Following are some
major points of the methodology in the study.

2.1. The chosen research methods
The data-gathering methods in the present study are a combination
between a perception-eliciting method and a production-eliciting
method. To be more specific, it is a combination between a
metapragmatic assessment questionnaire (MAQ) and an open-ended
discourse completion task (DCT).
2.2. Data collection instruments
The MAQ was designed in two versions: one in Vietnamese, delivered
to the VNS and the VLE, and the other in English, delivered to the
ANS. The MAQ was chosen to help develop the next data-gathering
instrument, the DCT, with more validity and reliability. It also helps
to examine the subject’s perception of P across the groups for a better
insight into the production data.
The DCT was also designed in two versions: the Vietnamese version,
delivered to the VNS, and the English version, to the VLE and ANS.
The DCT was chosen in combination with MAQ to study the
production data, or to be more specific, the disagreeing politeness
strategies used by the subject groups in the study to find out negative
PT and CC differences.
2.3. Subjects
The subjects in the study were selected on the basis of being
university students and forming two equal groups of males and
females. They can be divided into three groups: (1) the VLE (2) the
ANS, and (3) the VNS. The first group consists of fifty VLEs. They
were fourth-year students at Quinhon University whose major is
English. The second group consists of fifty ANSs. They were chosen
under the criteria of being born in Australia, living in Australia,
speaking English as their first language and as the language they
speak at home with other family members. The Australian subjects
were all students at the University of Queensland. The VNS group
consists of fifty first-year students at Quinhon University who were
selected on the basis of belonging to the Kinh group born and resident
in Hanoi and its surrounding provinces in Northern Vietnam.
2.4. Data analysis
The T-Test is used for testing the validity of the MAQ collected from
the VNS. Then, the Chi-square analysis is used for analyzing the
subject’s P perception and use of disagreeing politeness strategies by
the three groups. Brown and Levinson’s (1987) framework of
politeness strategies is based on to build up the analytical framework
for analyzing the disagreeing politeness strategies in the study.

2.5. Analytical framework
Table 2.6 illustrates the analytical framework for the study which is
based on Brown and Levinson’s (1987) framework added with
possible ways of strategy combinations. They comprise the multiple
positive politeness, multiple negative politeness, and mixed. The mixed
is subdivided into the positive politeness plus negative politeness,
positive politeness plus off-record, negative politeness plus off-recor,
and positive politeness plus negative politeness plus off-record.
Six major
groups
Twelve subgroups
Single strategies and
strategy combinations
Bald-on
record
Bald-on record Single strategies
Single positive politeness Single strategies Positive
politeness
Multiple positive politeness Strategy combinations
Single negative politeness Single strategies Negative
politeness
Multiple negative politeness Strategy combinations
Single off record Single strategies
Off record
Multiple off record Strategy combinations
Positive politeness + negative politeness Strategy combinations
Positive politeness + off record Strategy combinations
Negative politeness + off record Strategy combinations
Mixed
Positive politeness + negative politeness + off record Strategy combinations
No FTA No FTA No FTA

Table 2.6: The analytical framework of the present study
To use this framework, first, all the single strategies and combinations
from the raw data are coded, computed, and analyzed with the
frequency analysis. Next, they are added to find out the number of
subjects using the subgroups and major groups. Significant differences
between the VNS and ANS as well as between the VLE and ANS in
the number of subjects choosing each subgroup and major group are
found out with the chi-square analysis. The interpretation began with
the major groups, further examined with the subgroups, and clarified
with the realizations of single strategies and strategy combinations in
each situation under investigation.
3. Chapter three
Consisting of 48 pages (pp. 91-138), chapter three discusses the
perception of P as a socio-cultural dimension and its effects in verbal
interactions, especially in disagreeing. The chapter is conducted to
uncover how the VNS, VLE, and ANS perceive the relative power

between the speaker and the hearer in the investigated situations. This
also helps ensure the validity and reliability in the discussion of P
effects on disagreeing in chapter IV. In the first place, relevant studies
of P and language in social interaction with their findings, discussions,
and shortcomings are presented to serve as a narrower background for
the comparison and contrast of the perception of P by the VNS and
ANS. Studies by Hofstede (1991, 2001), Ng and Bradac (1993),
Spencer-Oatey (1996, 1997), Holmes (1985, 1992, 2003), Locher
(2004), among others are reviewed to show that power and language
are closely interconnected, that power is conceptualized differently
across cultures, and that the terminology and definition of P must be
clarified in all the relevant studies. Then, cross-cultural similarities
and differences in the subject’s perception of P in the present study are
presented and discussed at length. In parallel, possible inverse
pragmatic transfer caused by the VLE are investigated. These inverse
PT and CC differences are presented and discussed in four separated
contexts: (1) the family context (in parent-child and husband-wife
interactions), (2) the university context (in lecturer-student and
student-student interactions), (3) the work context (in boss-employee
and colleague-colleague interactions), and (4) the social context
(realized with various P aspects, including age, gender, economic
status, authoritative status, physical strength, and intellectual
capacity). Each context is further divided into equal-power situations
and unequal-power situations. The unequal-power situations are
subdivided into powerless situations and powerful situations. Finally,
concluding remarks of CC differences and inverse PT are given at the
end of the chapter. The results of the thirty situations are presented in
tables and graphically illustrated with graphs. Table 3.4. and graph
3.2. are typical examples of tables and graphs in situations 1 and 4.
The results of the other twenty eight situations are presented with
tables and graphically illustrated with graphs (please see the
Appendix) in the same way.

VNS ANS VNS VLE
SITUATION
N % N %
X
2
p
N % N %
X
2
p
+P 0 0 3 6.0 3.093 * 0 0 0 0 #DIV/0! ≡
=P 3 6.0 14 28.0 8.575 *** 3 6.0 5 10.0 0.543 -

Sit. 1
-P 47 94.0 33 66.0 12.250 *** 47 94.0 45 90.0 0.543 -
+P 1 2.0 12 24.0 10.698 *** 1 2.0 2 4.0 0.344 -
=P 5 10.0 32 64.0 31.274 *** 5 10.0 7 14.0 0.379 -

Sit. 4
-P 44 88.0 6 12.0 57.760 *** 44 88.0 41 82.0 0.706 -


Table 3.4: Family powerless situations (Sit. 1 and 4)


0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
+P =P -P
P values
Graph 3.2A: Sit. 1, child-parent,
house decoration
VNS
ANS
VLE

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
+P =P -P
P values
Graph 3.2B: Sit. 4, child-parent,
diary
VNS
ANS
VLE

Graph 3.2: Family powerless situations (Sit. 1 and 4)
4. Chapter four
Chapter four is 49 pages long (pp. 139-187) and it focuses on the
Vietnamese-English negative PT and CC differences in the subject’s use
of disagreeing politeness strategies in the investigated situations realized
with the data collected from the three subject groups. It begins with an
introduction to all the twenty eight disagreeing strategies realized in the
present study, based on Brown and Levinson’s (1987) framework, with
various examples from the collected data. Then it continues with the
presentation of a hundred and sixty four single strategies and strategy
combinations with an introduction to the frequently-used ones, as seen
from the analytical framework of the present study. Next, the statistic
results of similarities and differences between the VLE and ANS as well
as between the VNS and ANS in their use of disagreeing strategies in each
of the six situations in the DCT are presented, interpreted, and discussed in
depth. The six situations are discussed in two major groups: the powerless
situations and the powerful situations. Concluding remarks of the PT and
CC differences are summarized and highlighted at the end of the
discussion of the three situations in each group. This helps to have a
deeper insight into negative PT and CC differences in both the powerless
and powerful situations. Similar to the presentation in chapter three, the
presentation to the results of the six situations are presented in tables and
graphically illustrated with graphs. Tables 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 together with
graphs 4.1 and 4.2 help to present the results of situation 1. Similar
presentation of the results with tables and graphs (please see the
Appendix) is applied to the other five situations.


VNS ANS VLE ANS Sit. 1
Val.
N % N %
X
2
p
N % N %
X
2
p
+P 0

0

3

6.0

3.093

*

0

0

3

6.0

3.093

*

=P 3

6.0

14

28.0

8.575

***

5

10.0

14

28.0

5.263

*

-P 47

94.0

33

66.0

12.250

***

45

90.0

33

66.0

8.392

***

+D 50

100.0

50

100.0

#DIV/0!



50

100.0

50

100.0

#DIV/0!



=D 0

0

0

0

#DIV/0!



0

0

0

0

#DIV/0!



-D 0

0

0

0

#DIV/0!



0

0

0

0

#DIV/0!



+Se 4

8.0

0

0

4.167

*

3

6.0

0

0

3.093

*

=Se 14

28.0

2

4.0

10.714

***

7

14.0

2

4.0

3.053

*

-Se 32

64.0

48

96.0

16.000

***

40

80.0

48

96.0

6.061

**


* ≈ p≤0.05 *** ≈ p≤0.001 = ≈ no difference
** ≈ p≤0.01 - ≈ p>0.05 ≡ ≈ all or none
(These same abbreviations and conventions are applied to all the tables in this chapter)

Table 4.1: Perception of P, D, and Se in situation 1

VNS ANS VLE ANS Sit.1
Strategies
N % N %
X
2
p
N % N %
X
2
p
Bald-on R 5 10.0

2 4.0

1.382 -



2 4.0

2.041 -

Positive P 26 52.0

15 30.0

5.002 *

24 48.0

15 30.0

3.405 *

Negative P 4 8.0

9 18.0

2.210 -



9 18.0

9.890 ***

Off-record 2 4.0

3 6.0

0.211 -



3 6.0

3.093 *

Mixed 13 26.0

21 42.0

2.852 *

26 52.0

21 42.0

1.004 -

No FTA











Missing













Total

50

100.0

50

100.0



50

100.0

50

100.0




Table 4.2: Realization of 6 major groups of disagreeing strategies in situation 1

Graph 4.1: Realization of 6 major groups of disagreeing strategies in situation 1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Bald-on R Positive P Negative P Off-record Mixed No FTA
VNS
ANS
VLE

Graph 4.1: Realization of 6 major groups of disagreeing strategies in situation 1


VNS ANS VLE ANS Sit. 1
Strategies
N % N %
X
2
p
N % N %
X
2
p
Bald-on R 5

10.0

2

4.0

1.382

-



2

4.0

2.041

-

Single P 9

18.0

10

20.0

0.065

-

3

6.0

10

20.0

4.332

*

Multiple P 17

34.0

5

10.0

8.392

***

21

42.0

5

10.0

13.306

***

Single N 4

8.0

9

18.0

2.210

-



9

18.0

9.890

***

Multiple N












Single O 2

4.0

3

6.0

2.211

-



3

6.0

3.093

*

Multiple O












P + N 13

26.0

21

42.0

2.852

*

26

52.0

21

42.0

1.004

-

P + O












N + O












P + N + O












No FTA












Missing













Total

50

100.0

50

100.0



50

100.0

50

100.0



Table 4.3: Realization of 12 subgroups of disagreeing strategies in situation 1

Graph 4.2: Realization of 12 subgroups of disagreeing strategies in situation 1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
Bald-on R
Single P
Multiple P
Single N
Multiple N
Single O
Multiple O
P + N
P + O
N + O
P + N + O
No FTA
VNS
ANS
VLE
Graph 4.2: Realization of 12 subgroups of disagreeing strategies in situation 1
PART C: CONCLUSION
1. Major findings
1.1. On inverse PT and CC differences in power perception
Power perception was investigated through the relative roles (e.g., a
child to a parent) or aspects of power (e.g., age or gender) in thirty
situations divided into the four contexts: family (situations 1 to 6),
university (situations 6 to 12), work (situation 13 to 18), and society
(situations 19 to 30).

As regards inverse PT, it is not a common phenomenon in the present
study as it accounts for only 4.44% of all the cases investigated. More
particularly, it is totally absent in the family context, university
context, and work context and rarely occurs in the social context,
accounting for 11.11% of all the cases in this context.
Regarding CC differences, the results reinforce the hypothesis that
Vietnam is a higher-power-distance culture than Australia although
Australia does not completely prove a low-power-distance society.
This can most obviously be reflected in the family context less
obviously in the university context, and least in the work context.
In the family context, situations 2 and 5 (parent-child interaction) are
perceived as +P situations by far more VNS than ANS but as =P
situations by far fewer VNS than ANS. Besides, situation 1 (child-
parent interaction) is rated as -P by far more VNS than ANS but as =P
by far fewer VNS than ANS. In addition, in situation 4 (mature child-
parent interaction), a majority of the VNS, compared to only a few
ANS, consider it as a -P situation, whereas a large number of the
ANS, compared to only a few VNS, rate it as a =P situation.
In the university context, in all the -P situations (situations 9 and 10 –
student-lecturer interactions) as well as +P situations (situations 11
and 12 – lecturer-student interactions) in which S and H are perceived
as unequal in power by a majority of subjects in both groups, more
VNS than ANS perceive that those are unequal-power situations. On
the contrary, fewer VNS than ANS regard those four situations as =P
situations in which S and H are equal in power.
In the work context, it should be noted that situations 13 (manager-
employee interaction), 14 (manager-employee interaction), and 16
(employee-boss) are all rated as unequal-power situations by more
VNS than ANS and as equal-power situations by fewer VNS than
ANS. These appear to be additional clues supporting the hypothesis
that Vietnam is a higher-power-distance culture than Australia
although the differences are not statistically significant enough
(p>0.05) to contribute to accepting the hypothesis. However, it is an
exception that situation 15 (junior-senior interaction) is regarded as a
=P situation by a majority of VNS compared to a minority of ANS,
but as a -P situation by a large number of ANS compared to just a few
VNS.
In the social context, the results show that gender, economic status,
and physical strength are not the major aspects of power in both
cultures. Age, intellectual capacity, and authoritative status, however,
prove to be major aspects of power. To be more specific, age is more

noticeable in Vietnam, while intellectual capacity is more noticeable
in Australia. However, it is unexpected that authoritative status is
much more noticeable in Australia than in Vietnam in the situation
investigated (i.e. between the passenger and the custom officer at the
airport).
1.2. On negative PT and CC differences in the use of disagreeing
politeness strategies
Disagreeing politeness strategies were investigated in six situations
divided into powerless group (situations 1, 9, and 27) and powerful
group (situations 5, 12 and 13). Situation 1 (-P+D-Se) is a child-parent
interaction in the family context in which S has less power than H, S
and H are socially close to each other, and the setting is informal.
Situation 9 (-P=D=Se) is a student-lecture interaction in which S has
less power than H, S and H are a little bit acquainted with each other,
and the setting is semi-formal. Situation 27 (-P-D-Se) is a younger-
elder interaction in which S has less power than H, S and H are not
acquainted and the setting is informal. Situation 5 (+P+D-Se) is a
parent-child interaction in which S has more power than H, S and H
are socially close to each other, and the setting is informal. Situation
12 (+P=D=Se) is a lecturer-student interaction in which S has more
power than H, S and H are a little bit acquainted with each other, and
the setting is semi-formal. Situation 13 (+P=D+Se) is a manager-
employee interaction in which S has more power than H, S and H are
a little bit acquainted with each other, and the setting is formal.
1.2.1. On negative PT in the use of disagreeing politeness
strategies in specific situations
Negative PT caused by the VLE is a common phenomenon in the
present study as it can be observed in nearly all the situations.


Powerless situations Powerful situations Six groups
of
strategies
Sit.1:
Family
(-P+D-Se)

Sit.9:
University
(-P=D=Se)
Sit. 27:
Social
(-P-D-Se)
Sit.5:
Family
(+P+D-Se)
Sit. 12:
University
(+P=D=Se)
Sit. 13:
Work
(+P=D+Se)
Bald-on R VLE<ANS VLE<ANS No PT
Positive P VLE>ANS

No PT No PT No PT
Negative P No PT No PT VLE<ANS
Off-record No PT
Mixed VLE>ANS VLE>ANS
No FTA VLE<ANS No PT

VLE<ANS = fewer VLE than ANS no PT= differences exist, but they are not PT
VLE>ANS = more VLE than ANS Blank = no significant differences

Table C.1. Negative PT, as seen from the six major groups of strategies


Powerless situations Powerful situations Twelve
groups of
strategies
Sit.1:
Family
(-P+D-Se)
Sit.9:
University (-
P=D=Se)
Sit. 27:
Social
(-P-D-Se)
Sit.5:
Family
(+P+D-Se)
Sit. 12:
University
(+P=D=Se)
Sit. 13:
Work
(+P=D+Se)
Bald-on R VLE<ANS

VLE<ANS No PT
Single P No PT No PT
Multiple P VLE>ANS VLE>ANS
Single N No PT No PT VLE<ANS
Multiple N No PT No PT VLE<ANS VLE<ANS
Single O No PT
Multiple O
P + N VLE>ANS VLE>ANS
P + O VLE>ANS
N + O No PT
P + N + O
No FTA VLE<ANS No PT
VLE<ANS = fewer VLE than ANS no PT= differences exist, but they are not PT
VLE>ANS = more VLE than ANS Blank = no significant differences

Table C.2. Negative PT, as seen from the twelve subgroups of strategies

If the major groups of strategies are examined, PT appears in five out
of six situations. Particularly, in situation 1, the positive P is used by
more VLE than ANS; in situation 5, the bald-on R is used by more
ANS than VLE, while the mixed is used by more VLE than ANS; in
situation 9, the mixed is used by more VLE than ANS, while the no
FTA is used by more ANS than VLE; in situation 12, the negative P is
used by more ANS than VLE; and in situation 27, the bald-on R is
used by more ANS than VLE.
When the subgroups are examined, PT also exists in five situations.
Particularly, in situation 1, the multiple P is used by more VLE than
ANS; in situation 5, the P+N is used by more VLE than ANS; in
situation 9, the P + N is used by more VLE than ANS; in situation 12,
the single N and multiple N are used by more ANS than VLE,

whereas the multiple P and P + N are used by more VLE than ANS;
and in situation 13, the multiple N is used by more ANS than VLE.
It should also be noted that in many other cases, there remain
significant differences (i.e., those marked with no PT in Tables C.1
and C.2) between the VLE and ANS in their realizations of the
strategy groups, though these differences do not reveal negative PT.
1.2.2. On CC differences in the use of disagreeing politeness
strategies in specific situations
CC differences are also noteworthy as they appear in almost all the
cases.
If the major groups are examined, CC differences are observed in all
the situations. Particularly, in situation 1, the positive P is used by
more VNS than ANS, while the mixed is used by more ANS than
VNS; in situation 5, the bald-on R is used by more ANS than VNS,
while the mixed is used by more VNS than ANS; in situation 9, the
mixed is used by more VNS than ANS, while the no FTA is used by
more ANS than VNS; in situation 12, the positive P is used by more
VNS than ANS, while the negative P is used by more ANS than VNS;
in situation 13, the bald-on R is used by more VNS than ANS, while
the mixed is use by more ANS than VNS; and in situation 27, the
bald-on R is used by more ANS than VNS.
CC differences are also realized in the subgroups in nearly all the
situations. Specifically, in situation 1, the multiple P is used by more
VNS than ANS, while the P + N is used by more ANS than VNS; in
situation 5, both the multiple P and the P + N are used by more VNS
than ANS; in situation 9, the P + N is used by more VNS than ANS,
while the N + O is used by more ANS than VNS; in situation 12, the
single P, the multiple P, and the P + O are all used by more VNS than
ANS, while both the single N and multiple N are used by more ANS
than VNS; and in situation 13, both the multiple N and the P + N are
used by more ANS than VNS.

Powerless situations Powerful situations Six groups
of
strategies
Sit.1:
Family
(-P+D-Se)
Sit.9:
University
(-P=D=Se)
Sit. 27:
Social
(-P-D-Se)
Sit.5:
Family
(+P+D-Se)
Sit. 12:
University
(+P=D=Se)
Sit. 13:
Work
(+P=D+Se)
Bald-on R VNS<ANS VNS<ANS No PT
Positive P VNS>ANS No PT
Negative P VNS<ANS
Off-record

Mixed No PT VNS>ANS VNS>ANS No PT
No FTA VNS<ANS
VLE<ANS = fewer VLE than ANS no PT= CC differences do not lead to PT
VLE>ANS = more VLE than ANS Blank = no significant differences

Table C.3. CC differences, as seen from the six major groups of strategies


Powerless situations Powerful situations Twelve
groups of
strategies
Sit.1:
Family
(-P+D-Se)
Sit.9:
University
(-P=D=Se)
Sit. 27:
Social
(-P-D-Se)
Sit.5:
Family
(+P+D-Se)
Sit. 12:
University
(+P=D=Se)
Sit. 13:
Work
(+P=D+Se)
Bald-on R VNS<ANS VNS<ANS No PT
Single P No PT
Multiple P VNS>ANS No PT VNS>ANS
Single N VNS<ANS
Multiple N VNS<ANS VNS<ANS
Single O
Multiple O
P + N No PT VNS>ANS VNS>ANS No PT
P + O VNS>ANS
N + O No PT
P + N + O
No FTA VNS<ANS
VLE<ANS = fewer VLE than ANS no PT= CC differences do not lead to PT
VLE>ANS = more VLE than ANS Blank = no significant differences

Table C.4. CC differences, as seen from the twelve subgroups of strategies

However, it should also be mentioned that while a number of CC
differences lead to negative PT, many others (i.e., those marked with
no PT in Tables C.3 and C.4) do not.
1.2.3. On the use of disagreeing politeness strategies in powerful
and powerless situations.
Regarding the use of groups of strategies in the powerless and
powerful situations across the subject groups, the following major
findings are worth considering:
The bald-on R is rarely used in the powerless situations but more
frequently used in the powerful ones across the subject groups. Thus,
it does not support the hypothesis that the ANS tend to use more bald-

on R than the VNS but suggests that P affect the interactants greatly in
their use of strategy groups.
The positive P is frequently used in all the powerful situations by all
the subject groups. In the powerless situations, it is frequently used
only when the social distance is small and the setting is informal.
Also, it is used by far more VNS and VLE than ANS. Thus, the results
not only support the hypothesis that Vietnamese culture is more
positive politeness oriented than Australian culture but also show the
great effects of P on the interactants’ choice of the strategy groups.
When the positive P is divided into two subgroups, the single P is
used more frequently than the multiple P and it is used mainly in all
the powerful situations and one powerless situation where the distance
is close and the setting is informal (i.e., child-parent interaction –
situation 1) by all the groups. The multiple P is used less in nearly all
the situations, and in several situations (i.e., situation 1 and situation
12), it is used by far more VNS and VLE than ANS.
The frequently-used positive P strategies in isolation are reason,
concern and in-group, the first of which is commonly used in
powerful situations and the last in the family context. The positive P
strategies frequently used in the combination of the multiple P are
reason, in-group, common G, avoid D and concern. Again, reason is
commonly used in the powerful situations, while in-group and
concerned are commonly used in the family context.
The negative P is used far more frequently in the powerless situations
than in the powerful ones. Also, in general, it is opted for by more
ANS than VNS and VLE. Thus, the results not only show great effects
of P on the interactant’s choice of the strategy groups but also confirm
the hypothesis that the Australians are more negative politeness
oriented than the Vietnamese.
When the negative P is further divided into two groups, the single N is
opted for by far more ANS than VNS and VLE. It is also
predominantly used by all the subject groups, as compared to the
multiple N which is mainly used in two powerless situations (i.e.,
situation 9 and situation 27), and similar to the multiple P, employed
by more VNS and VLE than ANS.
The negative P strategies commonly used in isolation are Q-H,
apologize, deference, impersonalize, and FTA as a GR, with Q-H
being the most frequently-used (in five out of six situations). In the
combination of the multiple N, Q-H, apologize, and deference are the

frequently used, especially in the powerless situations where the
distance between S and & is not close.
The mixed is resorted to quite often in almost all the situations by all
the subject groups, with more VNS and VLE than ANS. However, it
is realized mainly with the P + N since the other three subgroups (the
P + O, N + O, and P + N + O) are rarely used.
The positive P strategies frequently used in the combination of the P
+ N comprise reason, in-group, common G, avoid D, concern,
promise and encourage. Among them, in-group is commonly used in
the family context, avoid D is frequently used in the powerless
situations, while reason and concern are the most frequently-used
positive P strategies across the situations.
The negative P strategies frequently used in the combination of P + N
include Q-H, apologize, deference, and impersonalize. Among them,
Q-H is the most commonly used (in five out of six situations), while
deference and apologize are common in powerless situations, and
impersonalize in powerful situations.
The off record is rarely used in nearly all the situations across the
subject groups, except for two powerful situations (situation 5 and
situation 13) in which it is used slightly more frequently. However,
with the predominant use of rhetorical Q, it seems to be sarcastic
instead of being polite. Thus, the relation of politeness and
indirectness can, again, be questioned. The other frequently-used off-
record strategy in the data is over-generalize. Besides, the off record
is realized mainly with the single O since the multiple O is almost not
used. Thus strategy combination is not common in the case of off
record.
The no FTA is rarely used in both the powerful and the powerless
situations across the subject groups, except the frequent use by the
ANS in the student-lecturer interaction (situation 9).
All in all, the possibilities for strategy combinations are high in both
languages and they are realized mainly with the combinations of the
multiple P, multiple N, and mixed, represented by the P + N (please
see appendix C). What is more, strategy combinations tend to be used
more frequently by the VNS and VLE than ANS.
2. Implications
The results of the study can be applied to teaching and learning
English, cross-cultural communications and other cross-cultural
pragmatics studies.

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