Psychiatry - Theses

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    Linguistic politeness in middle childhood: its social functions, and relationships to behaviour and development
    Pedlow, Robert ( 1997-07)
    This research compared Brown and Levinson’s “face saving” account of linguistic politeness with the everyday or social normative account in the context of children’s requesting skills. The research also explored the relationship between children’s politeness skills and their behavioural adjustment. The subjects comprised four groups of ten-and-a-half year old children: a comparison group without behaviour problems, a hostile-aggressive group; an anxious-fearful group; and a comorbid group. All the children were selected from the Australian Temperament Project subject population based on parents’ ratings of the children on the hostile-aggressive and anxious-fearful subscales of the Rutter Child Behaviour Questionnaire. Study 1 found that all the groups of children discriminated between others on the power and distance dimensions in ways consistent with social norms, e.g. adults are judged as more powerful than children. Study 1 also showed that the hostile-aggressive and comorbid groups were significantly less likely to discriminate between others on these dimensions compared to the comparison group. Study 2 showed that for all the children studied politeness as a normative way of speaking was marked by use of please whereas face saving politeness was marked by the use of question directives and hints compared to other request forms. Further, Study 2 showed that there were no differences between children with and without behaviour problems in their use of please to mark different ways of asking.