A Pragmatic Study of Face Threatening Acts in Selected Phone-ins from Religious TV Programs: The Case of ‘Al-Maw’eẓa Al-Hasana’

Document Type : Research Papers/Extracts from dissertations


1 Helwan university

2 Helwan University


The purpose of this research is to study how and why two TV presenters in similar contexts can manifest similar and/or different linguistic styles. In order to achieve this purpose, the researcher investigates how the two presenters of the Islamic TV program ‘Al-Maweza Al Hasana’. (i.e., presenter A and presenter B) exploit linguistic techniques to perform and/or mitigate Face Threatening Acts (FTAs) which are directed against the phone-in callers (e.g., FTAs of criticisms, requests, advice and warnings). Therefore, this research focuses on pragmatic theories in order to examine politeness strategies which each presenter uses to maintain the callers’ face, and whether those strategies clash with clarity of the information conveyed. This study relies on Brown and Levinson’s Politeness Model (1987) and Grice’s Cooperative principle (1975, 1989).The data are ten phone-ins between random callers and the two presenters of the TV program. The phone-ins are selected based on similarity of topic (e.g., inheritance and doing good to one’s kith and kin). The results of the study showed that the two presenters shared some linguistic choices, such as preferring positive politeness and off-record strategies. However, unlike presenter B, presenter A used a powerful language by performing dangerous FTAs towards the callers, which made his mitigation strategies less effective. On the other hand, presenter B maintained the caller’s face more successfully as he avoided dangerous FTAs, and he mitigated minor FTAs with various redressing strategies. Finally, regardless of the different linguistic preferences of each presenter, clarity and honesty of the information conveyed remained an essential characteristic in their interactions.


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