An Analysis of Politeness Strategies used by Non-Native Saudi English Speakers in Family Gatherings

Politeness strategies, Saudi, positive politeness


  • Arwa Hamdan AlShlowi
    Department of English Language and Literature, Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Saudi Arabia
March 31, 2023


In social interaction, people need to be polite and aware of others' self-image, feelings and wants to maintain and build good relationships. For this goal, people use various politeness strategies to save the hearer's face when face-threatening acts are inevitable. This paper aims to examine the types of politeness strategies used by six Saudi family members, three girls and two boys, in their interactions based on Brown and Levinson's theory of politeness strategies (1987) and to find out the most frequent politeness strategies used by them. The data were collected by recording the participants on different occasions in family gatherings and using a qualitative approach. Based on the analysis, there were 33 utterances containing all four types of politeness strategies. The most frequent politeness strategy used was the positive politeness strategy (33.33%) and followed by negative politeness (30.30%), bald-on record (21.21%), and off-record (15.15%). This study could lead to further research on politeness strategy in other conversational settings with regard to the effect of power and gender.