|dc.description.abstract||This paper sets out to examine politeness strategies in the French of Ivory Coast, compared to those of the French spoken in France. Using authentic speech in comparable interviews and debates on television from both countries as data, the study has an aim to explore a small part of the ethos, i.e. the communicative style, of the media language used within the two speech communities. As the notion of ethos has a wide variety of aspects, three categories are chosen for study: the compliment speech act, patterns of address usage, as well as some cases of non-minimization of criticism.
The theoretical framework takes into account several definitions of the notion of politeness, for example the face-saving view and the conversational-contract view. In search of an Ivorian and a French ethos that would be manifested in the studied interactions, a hypothesis is put forward, according to which the concepts of intimacy and hierarchy would be expressed in the conversations taking place in the Ivory Coast, whereas the ethos of the conversations taking place in France would be influenced by social distance and equality.
The results show that the speakers in the interviews and the debates from Ivory Coast tend to give fewer compliments than the speakers in the French television shows. At the same time, the compliments seem to be accepted a little bit more often in the Ivorian material. In fact, both of these phenomena can be tied to the notion of hierarchy. Moreover, the pronoun tu, which can be equated with notions of proximity and conviviality, is more frequently used in the Ivorian shows, due to an alternation of pronominal address forms. The speakers in the Ivorian debates also use honorific titles to a greater extent than the speakers in the French ones, which can be a sign of deference. In addition, the linguistic form in which an honorific is combined with the first name is a phenomenon that can only be found in the Ivory Coast material, and it is indeed possible to interpret this nominal form of address as an expression of the fusion of social hierarchy and intimacy. Most of these results seem to support the hypothesis. Furthermore, speakers can occasionally criticize an interlocutor without using softeners or mitigators. This is a situation which occurs in the interactions taking place in the Ivory Coast as well as in those taking place in France.
Moreover, in order to define politeness, it seems to be necessary to define impoliteness. However, there might be some problematic aspects of this definition according to the face-saving view as well as to the conversational-contract view.||sv