Discuss some of the problems related with Brown & Levinson's politeness strategies.

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can see only one problem with Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson's Politeness theory. They fail to recognize that some emotions are simply too strong for one to stop and consider their actions prior to action.

The strategies they offer (Bald-on record, Posisitve politeness, Negative politeness) are al wonderful strategies one can use to insure that they are seen as being polite. The problem with their strategies lies in the fact that not all people can control their emotions enough in order to convey the "positive face" Brown and Levinson want people to use.

Therefore, in reality, there are two problems. One, the initial speaker may not have the emotional control to use one of the strategies. Second, even if the initial speaker can use a strategy, the "hearer" (as called by Brown and Levinson) may not be able to react using one of the strategies.