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In this chapter, the writer provides some theories which are used to support
the research. First, the writer uses the definitions of linguistics as a field of this
research. Second is the theory of pragmatics which includes the theory of adjacency
pairs and speech acts. Third is the praise itself including praise structure and praise
function. Fourth is Facebook which is also explained about its language
characteristics such as emoticon, abbreviation, and code-mixing. Last is the previous
researches which are used as the comparison, enrichment, and references for this
Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th Edition) defines the word
‘linguistics’ as a noun which means “the scientific study of language and its
structure”. Whereas according to, ‘linguistics’ is “the
study of human speech including the units, nature, structure, and modification of
Todd (2000, p. 5) also defines ‘linguistics’ as “the scientific study of
language”. It is defined as the scientific study of language because it discusses
language systematically and objectively just like the way a scientist studies chemistry
or mathematics. Linguistics also does such an observation on the available language
data, forms hypotheses based on them, tests the hypotheses and comes up with
theories based on the evidence (Todd, 2000, p. 5).
Finegan (1999) states that ‘linguistics’ is “the systematic or scientific
inquiry into human language – into its structures and uses and the relationship
between them, as well as into the development and acquisition of language” (p. 21).
Finegan (1999, p. 21) also says that the scope of linguistics consists of language
structure (and the grammatical competence) and language use (and the
communicative competence).
Linguistics studies consist of various branches of studies such as phonology,
semantics, sociolinguistics, syntax, pragmatics, and many others. Through linguistics
studies, the writer chooses pragmatics as the main theory of this research.
“Pragmatics is the branch of linguistics that studies information structure,
and the term pragmatics is sometimes used as an alternative to the term information
structure” (Finegan, 1999, p. 263).
While, according to Yule (2008, p. 3), pragmatics is the study of “speaker
meaning”, “contextual meaning”, and “invisible meaning”. As a study of speaker
meaning, pragmatics is concerned to analyze “what people mean by their utterances
than what the words or phrases in those utterances might mean by themselves”
(Yule, 2008, p. 3). As a study of contextual meaning, pragmatics is concerned to
analyze “what people mean in particular context and how the context influences what
is said” (Yule, 2008, p. 3). As a study of invisible meaning, Yule (2008) explains
that the study of pragmatics explores “how listeners can make inferences about what
is said in order to arrive at an interpretation of the speaker’s intended meaning” (p.
3). Yule (2008, p. 4) also concludes that “Pragmatics is the study of the
relationships between linguistic forms and the users of those forms”.
Adjacency Pairs
In pragmatics, a branch of linguistics, an adjacency pair is an example of
conversational turn-taking. An adjacency pair is composed of two utterances by two
speakers, one after the other. The speaking of the first utterance (the first-pair part, or
the first turn) provokes a responding utterance (the second-pair part, or the second
Yule (2008, p. 77) says that in adjacency pairs, there are a first part and a
second part produced by different speakers where a first part produces an utterance
which is responded by the utterance of a second part of the same pair.
Finegan (1999, p. 311) figures out that adjacency pair is just like a
mechanism where questions take answers, greetings are returned by greetings,
invitations by acceptances or refusals, etc. “Adjacency pairs comprise two turns, one
of which directly follows the other” (Finegan, 1999, p. 312). Finegan (1999, p. 312)
also explains that adjacency pairs has three characteristics to be noted. First, the two
parts are contiguous and uttered by different speakers. Second, the two parts are in
correct order. Third, the first and second parts must be matched and related (in
In this research, the application of adjacency pairs can be seen through the
addresser’s post (written text) in Facebook wallpost and the addressee’s response
(written text) in Facebook wallpost comment. The adjacency pairs are not in direct
speech situation, but in this research the adjacency pairs are analyzed through the
written text of Facebook wallposts and comments as said before. These adjacency
pairs are analyzed in the plain-text meaning without looking / analyzing more into
the respondents’ personal backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, ways of speech,
nationalities, etc. Yet, the writer determines the criteria of appropriate / correct
adjacency pairs (correct pairs):
 The pair must be written in text
 The pair must consist of at least one statement from the addresser
 The pair must consist of at least one response from the addressee
 The response must be related in term of subject, object, and/or comment
to the statement
The correct pairs must fulfill those four criteria above. If one of the criteria above
can not be fulfilled, the pair is categorized as incorrect pairs which are not related
between the statement and the response. Appropriate way to respond the praise in
this research means the use of correct adjacency pairs which fulfills the four criteria
above. Preference Structure
In adjacency pairs, there is also preference structure which divides second
parts into preferred (structurally expected next act) and dispreferred (structurally
unexpected next act) social acts (Yule, 2008, p. 79). Preferred acts are the acts to
confirm, accept, or agree the previous statement, while dispreferred acts are kinds of
disagreement, refusal, or denial (Yule, 2008, p. 79). Some utterances stating
preferred acts are “sure”, “yes, please”, “why not”, etc. Preferred acts can be also
called confirmations or agreements. According to Yule (2008, p. 81), there are ways
in showing dispreferred such as delay/hesitate (pause, “er”, “em”), preface (“well”,
“oh”), express doubt (“I’m not sure”, “I don’t know”), token Yes (“that’s great”, “I’d
love to”, apology (“I’m sorry”, “what a pity”), mention obligation (“I must do X”,
“I’m expected in X”), appeal for understanding (“you see”, “you know”), make it
non-personal (“everybody else”, “out there”), give an account (“too much work”, “no
time left”), use mitigators (“really”, “mostly”, “kinda”), and hedge the negative (“I
guess not”, “not possible”). In brief, the dispreferred acts tend to delay, hesitate,
decline, disagree, or even doubt the statement.
Using the preference structure, the responses of the adjacency pairs can be
categorized as preferred acts which show confirmation or agreement and dispreferred
acts which show the opposite of preferred acts.
Speech Acts
Finegan in his book (1999, p. 296) describes speech acts as a language tool
to do things like asking question, reporting news, giving instructions, requesting
something, proposing marriage, etc. He also defines speech acts as actions which are
carried out through language (Finegan, 1999, p. 298). “Represenstatives”,
“Commissives”, “Directives”, “Declarations”, “Expressives”, and “Verdictives”
are six kinds of speech acts which have received particular attention (Finegan, 1999,
p. 298). “Represenstatives” are speech acts which represent a state of affairs such as
assertions, statements, claims, hypotheses, descriptions, and suggestions (Finegan,
1999, p. 298). “Commissives” are speech acts committing a speaker to a course of
action: promises, pledges, threats, and vows (Finegan, 1999, p. 298). “Directives”
are intended to get the addressee to carry out an action: commands, requests,
challenges, invitations, entreaties, and dares (Finegan, 1999, p. 298). “Declarations”
bring about the state of affairs they name: blessings, firings, baptisms, arrests,
marryings, declaring mistrials, etc (Finegan, 1999, p. 298). “Expressives” are speech
acts indicating the speaker’s psychological state or attitude: greetings, apologies,
congratulations, condolences, and thanks-givings (Finegan, 1999, p. 298).
“Verdictives” are speech acts to make assessments or judgments: ranking, assessing,
appraising, condoning, etc.
Fromkin & Rodman (1983) says, “The study of how we do things with
sentences is the study of speech acts. In studying speech acts, we are acutely aware
of the importance of the context of the utterance” (p. 189).
Yule (2008, p. 47) declares that speech acts are actions which are generally
performed via utterances and commonly labelled such as apology, complaint,
compliment, invitation, promise, or request. People also perform actions via
utterances and speech acts are the terms of those performative actions (Yule, 2008, p.
47). Different from Finegan (1999, p. 298), Yule (2008, p. 53) classifies speech acts
into five types of general functions such as “Declarations”, “Representatives”,
“Expressives”, “Directives”, and “Commissives”. For example of “Declarations” is
“You’re out!”. For example of “Representatives” is “It was dark.”. For example of
“Expressives” is “Congratulations!”. For example of “Directives” is “Don’t come.”.
For example of “Commissives” is “I’ll go.”.
There are still many kinds of speech acts found in the daily use, such as
request, exclamation, jokes, appreciation, command, suggestion, promise, threat, etc.
But above, Yule (2008) only categorizes them into five main types of general
functions. Through this research, the writer finds many kinds of speech acts and
attaches them as the functions of praise and response. The writer does not use the
categories from Yule and Finegan to apply the functions, but use the specific speech
acts to apply the functions of praise and response. For example, the writer writes
“suggestion” or “jokes” as the functions of praise which can be also called speech
acts. In this research, there are many kinds of speech acts found which most of them
are not written in Yule’s and Finegan’s. “Effect” is a speech act which shows a
change or effect of something. “Exclamation” shows expressions such as shocked,
assessment, or respect. “Thanks” shows thanksfulness and gratitude. “Suggestion”
shows further indication, direction, and suggested idea. “Analogy” shows
comparison between things with related explanation. “Jokes” shows fun, trick,
amusement, etc. “Request” shows demand or act of asking something to do.
“Motivation” shows enthusiasm or desire to do something. “Inquiry” shows curiosity
or question for clarity. “Reluctance” shows disinclination or embarrassment of
something. “Self-Depreciation” shows belittlement, dismissal, or disparagement.
“Promise” shows assurance to do something (again). “Prohibition” shows something
that should not be done. “Re-praise” shows back praise, replying the praise with
praise. “Correction” shows something wrong to be revised to be true or correct.
Praise is an expression which everyone could express for many reasons,
such as admiration, gratitude, respect, flirt, etc with implied meaning from the
addresser to the addressee. According to Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th
edition), praise (as a verb) means “(1) express warm approval of or admiration for,
(2) express respect and gratitude towards (a deity)” and praise (as a noun) means “(1)
the expression of approval or admiration, (2) the expression of respect and gratitude
as an act of worship”. According to, praise (as a noun)
means an expression of approval, commendation, or worship. defines
praise (noun) as the act of expressing approval or admiration; commendation;
laudation, the offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship, the
state of being approved or admired, and (Archaic) a ground for praise, or a merit.
Webster, Duvall, Gaines, & Smith (2003) in their research note that, “praise involves
a positive characterization of a person's performance” (p. 213). In the application of
daily life, praise can be delivered with some choices of words, such as "Well done",
"Wonderful", "Brilliant", "You're doing really well!", "Keep up the good work!" or
"That was amazing!" (Janis-Norton, 2012, p. 16).
Praise Structure
Praise as a language also has its structures. The utterances, words, phrases,
and sentences can be called a praise if they contains or refers to laudation,
compliment, admiration, etc. Usually, sentences which contain praises will use
subject as subject / topic of praise and predicate as predicate / comment of praise.
Subject / topic of praise refers to who, whom, and what as the targets of the praise.
Predicate / comment of praise is the predicate which contains praise to be a tool
delivered to the subject (the addressee). Whereas in the form of utterances, words,
and phrases, praises are usually expressed directly using predicate / comment of
praise. Then, the structures of praise can be in verbs, adjectives, adverbs, or maybe
nouns. Example:
(a) You are super duper good-looking.
This sentence uses “you” as the subject / topic of praise and “super duper goodlooking” as the predicate / comment of praise. “super duper good-looking” is
categorized as an adjective since it is in the form of adjective phrase.
(b) James really shot my heart.
This sentence uses “James” as the subject / topic of praise and “really shot my
heart” as the predicate / comment of praise. “really shot my heart” is categorized as a
verb which has the form of verb phrase.
Praise Function
To decide what are the praise functions, the writer uses speech acts to
analyze which kinds of functions / acts applied in delivering the praises. As
explained in the speech acts above, praise has many functions such as for jokes, for
suggestion, for appreciation, etc. Moreover, the functions of praise here are speech
acts which are applied to be determined as praise functions.
Facebook is one of social media in the society. According to, social media means “web sites and other online means of
communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to
develop social and professional contacts”. Facebook as one of social media holds an
important role in society because Facebook has been formed as a place where people
can meet and greet, share photos, comment, have a chat, join a particular event, and
even play games together remotely. Actually, Facebook itself was launched in 2004
and created by Mark Zuckerberg and friends. Now, Facebook can be accessed by all
people around the world as another place to socialize each others. Since the users of
Facebook are many people from different places, it can not be denied that languages
used in Facebook have such characteristics.
Emoticon comes from two merged different words which are “emotion”
and “icon”. According to Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th edition),
emoticon is “a representation of a facial expression such as a smile or frown, formed
with keyboard characters and used in email and text messages to convey the writer’s
feelings”. Russell (2002, p. 42) says, “Emoticons are glyphs, usually representing
stylized facial expressions, that are created mainly from sort sequences of
punctuation marks and are designed to convey an emotional tone in e-mail”. Besides
“emoticons”, people also call them as “smileys” which has the meaning as
emoticons. Through this characteristic, the writer finds it easier to analyze the
meaning of emoticons found in the research. For example, “:)” means “smile or
happy face”, “XD” means “big smile, laugh, cheerful, etc”, “:P” means “funny,
jokes, etc”, and many others.
Abbreviation comes from the verb “abbreviate” which according to Concise
Oxford English Dictionary (11th edition) means shorten (a word, phrase, or text).
Abbreviation usually appears in written texts such as messages, chats, emails, etc.
People tend to use abbreviation because of many reasons and purposes.
Because abbreviations can be used globally with many kinds of characters,
there are standard and non-standard abbreviations. Standard abbreviations are
abbreviations which are commonly used and standardized for particular purposes
such as in medical terms, academic terms, social terms, and many others. Some
examples of standard abbreviations are ‘Dr’ used to shorten the word ‘Doctor’, ‘US’
used to shorten ‘United States’, and also ‘Mr.’ Used to shorten the word ‘Mister’.
Non-standard abbreviations are not officially standardized, but they are commonly
used in daily or personal use or purposes. Some examples of non-standard
abbreviations are ‘thx’ used to shorten ‘thanks’, ‘TGIF’ used to shorten ‘Thank God,
It’s Friday.”, and also ‘Ok’ used to shorten ‘okay’.
Because of the praises and responses are mostly in Indonesian language and
contain Indonesian abbreviations, the writer analyzes the plain text by modifying
some Indonesian abbreviations into good English. Yet, this characteristic is usually
found in texting or written text and can be analyzed based on writer’s personal
knowledge in Indonesian abbreviations.
Holmes (2008, p. 43) elucidates code-mixing as a kind of rapid switching of
languages. “I prefer the term metaphorical switching” (Holmes, 2008, p. 43). Holmes
(2008, p. 43) also states, “code-mixing suggests the speaker is mixing up codes
indiscriminately or perhaps because of incompetence, whereas the switches are very
well motivated in relation to the symbolic or social meanings of the two codes”. An
example of code-mixing is “Coba saya lihat! Well, ini salah!”. The statements are
originally written in Indonesian, but there is an English word ‘Well’ which functions
as a code-mixing.
There are some samples containing code-mixings which are not in English
or Indonesian only. The writer also finds Chinese and Korean phonetics as the codemixings found in the samples. The code-mixings found are modified into English
first to analyze
Previous Research
First research is from Zilvia (2012), a Binus University graduated student
who researches about “Language Characteristics of Males and Females in Expressing
Emotions through Facebook Status”. The problem formulation reveals about what
the direct and indirect words and phrases, as well as sentences are used by males and
females to express different kinds of emotions on their Facebook statuses; what the
most dominant word class is used by males and females to express emotions on their
Facebook statuses; and what the most dominant emotion is expressed by males and
females through their Facebook statuses. She uses library research and qualitative
research as her research methods to analyze the data and concludes that there are
various direct and indirect words and phrases, as well as sentences which are used by
males and females in expressing emotions through Facebook statuses. Zilvia’s
research helps the writer’s research in the way Zilvia conducting the data collection
and using text analysis to analyze the data. The writer also applies the text analysis to
analyze the data in Facebook to answer the problem formulations.
Second research is from Yanti (2008), an Atma Jaya University Jakarta
graduate who researches about “Adjacency Pairs: Strategies for Answering informal
Invitation”. The research wants to answer McCarthy’s (2000) statement about
adjacency pairs of invitation. She also wants to figure out what types of adjacency
pairs created by lecturers and students and what strategies used by them in making
the response (a second-pair part) of an invitation. Qualitative research is done to
draw some theories about discourse analysis and adjacency pairs used in the
research. Yet, Yanti’s research gives the writer enrichment in adjacency pairs theory
and how to analyze using adjacency pairs theory. The writer can also compare the
research object which Yanti uses invitation and the writer uses praise as the research
object. There are many differences also in the way Yanti and the writer collect the
data, apply the theories, and draw the results.
Last is from Webster, Duvall, Gaines, and Smith (2003), in the Journal of
Social Psychology entitled “The Roles of Praise and Social Comparison Information
in Experience of Pride”. The research examines the roles of social comparisons,
publicity of success, and praise on the experience of pride. It is an experiment to
measure how a performance can be affected through the praise given. This research
gives inputs on writer’s knowledge about praise and the praise function which is an
application of speech acts. Because praise is seldom analyzed using adjacency pairs
and speech acts, the research suggests the writer to know more about praise, the
background of influencial praise, and the function as well.