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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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    Theoretical Background

1.1 Introduction

    The current study is concerned with investigating the persuasion strategies used by sellers in Jordanian cities. While persuasive acts employed by sellers as linguistic device to market their products, goods, services are discussed in light of both speech act theory and politeness theory. Thus focusing both of these theories on selling utterances remove vagueness and gives us a better understanding of using persuasive acts in bargaining contexts .Persuasion as a linguistic phenomena has drawn considerable attention in the last two decades. So this study explains the linguistic realizations of persuasion strategies and their contextual factors in persuasive discourse in Jordan.

   In recent decades, speech act theory has become one of the main theories concerned with studying the cultural aspect of the linguistic behavior. Searle (1982) points out that the minimal unit of human communication is the performance of certain kinds of acts such as explaining, persuading, apologizing, and promising. One of these communicative acts that will be discussed in this study is persuasion. Schluze (1988) defines Persuasion as a speaker's attempt to influence the conduct, feeling, thought, opinion, etc. of his and her addressee by means of communication. Persuasion is the subject of many fields like economics, politics, and marketing. For instance, People use persuasive acts in order to be understood and to be believed. It is noticed that sellers in Jordan employ certain persuasion strategies when they want to market their Products, goods, and services. Thus employing persuasive acts leads them to get positive conclusions. Austin ( 1962 ) introduces (to persuade) as one of the first examples of perlocutionary act in light of speech act theory .Indeed, Austin when he develops speech act and submits the term' perlocutionary act ' , uses the utterance ' He persuade me to shoot her ' as his first example. Persuasion strategies used by Jordanian sellers are discussed in light of both speech act theory and politeness theory.

    The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the scope of linguistic pragmatics. First, a definition of pragmatics related to the communicative competence and its basic kinds are introduced. Secondly, explaining both speech act theory and politeness theory related to the notion of persuasion in detail to be comprehensible. Thirdly, defining persuasion and its role in marketing as well as showing the relation between pragmatics and marketing. The final section aims to show persuasion strategies and scholar's point of view about persuasive acts in light of speech act theory.

1.2 Theoretical Background

    Language is a complex system of communication that enables humans to exchange verbal or symbolic utterances. Whilst formal theories of language deals with it as 'a system for expressing thoughts independent of any stimulus control' Chomsky( 1982:239). Many of linguists indicate that language is usually used as expressive device. In other words, people use language in order to express themselves and to achieve their daily needs during their social interaction. This interpretation of language may lead us to study language from different perspectives as sociology, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, anthropology. Language use is attained in various mediums: spoken and written. The basic medium for communication is the spoken because one may realize through face-to-face conversations.

    Language consists of two major dimensions: linguistics as well as socio-cultural. Linguistic dimension of language which is traditionally regarded to the definition of language represents the knowledge of grammar and lexicon. In addition to that, this dimension integrates phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Socio-cultural dimension of language which represents the knowledge of language in it's pragmatic, ethnographic aspect. Pragmatics, for Leech (1980) is'the study of the use of application of meaning in communicative situations'.

1.3 Pragmatics

    Austin (1962) explains that pragmatics seeks to analyze the context of utterances, observed principles of communication and the goals of the speakers, adding that the main goal of pragmatics is to study language use and it's meaning within the context of utterances dependent on the speaker and the addressee. Pragmatics is the study of meaning behind the literal meaning, as overt meaning will be different if it is linked to the social and cultural context. Leech (1983) shows that sociopragmatics is the study of social and cultural factors which affect on language use. Mey (2001) explains that pragmatics reveals the meaning of a language as mostly affected by the context in which it occurs.

1.4 communicative competence

    There has been an increasing interest in empirical research and in practical applications of pragmatic studies, particularly speech act ones, since Hymes ( 1971 ) presented the notion of communicative competence, combining both the linguistic rules as well as the socio-cultural rules for an appropriate use . People in different societies may analyze the pragmatic doctrines rather differently from each other, and these differences show great tendency for conducting studies in cross-cultural pragmatics (Farinia etal 2010).The cross-cultural speech act studies have given us a better understanding about what the speaker need to know in order to effectively and appropriately perform a certain linguistic act in his communication.

    However, pragmatics is divided into two styles in pragmatic studies, viz. Sociopragmatic and pragmalinguistic. These terms were first introduced by Levinson (1983:10-11) and then elaborated by Blum-Kulka (1997:55-56) explaining that in socio-pragmatic studies, the focus on the choice of strategies in different situations, examining the way in which pragmatic performance is treated in relation to the social and cultural conditions, while in pragmalinguistic studies, the focus is on testing the linguistic realizations in a particular function.

1.5 Persuasion and communication

1.5.1 Speech Act Theory and Perlocutionary Acts

    Persuading someone is to perform an act affecting someone's beliefs and desires, thus, employing Persuasive act are performed in, or by speaking usually represents a speech act. The notion of speech act and the theory was developed by Austin (1962) who discussed it in his How To Do Things With The Words. Austin's work attached to persuasion is reviewed in this study to show why and how persuasion strategies are taken by sellers in Irbid city.

    The verb 'to persuade' is introduced as one of the first examples of perlocution by speech act theorists. In fact, Austin (1962) develops speech act theory and introduces the term ' perlocutionary act ' using the utterance ' He persuade me to shoot her '. Perlocutionary act is the third part of speech acts after lecutionary acts which are simply ' saying something ' and illocutionary acts which are performed 'in saying something ',perlocutionary acts are performed ' by saying something ' ( Austin: 1962 ). These layers of speech act are adopted by Searle (1980) explaining these concepts as they are shown as follows:

1- locutionary act : the production of a meaningful linguistic expression.

2- illocutionary act: the action intended to be performed by a speaker in uttering a linguistic expression, by virtue of the conversational force associated with it.

3- perlocutionary act: the bringing about of consequences and effects on the audience through the uttering of a linguistic expression, such as consequences or effects being special to the circumstances of the utterance.

1.5.2 Classification of illocutionary act

    Although Austin (1962) proposes a classification of a speech act, Searle (1976) claims that Austin's classification 'doesn't maintain a clear classification between illocutionary verbs and acts, nor are the categories based on consistently applied principle'. Moreover Searle depends on some taxonomic principles, which reflects the different types of conditions underlying speech act and suggests five different classes of speech act: representatives impose the speaker to the truth of expressed preposition( e.g. asserting), directives are the attempts by the speaker to get the addressee to do something(e.g. requesting), commissives commit the speaker to some future course of action(e.g. offering ); expressive used to express to the psychological state(e.g. thanking);and declaratives immediately announce change in the insituational state of affaires(e.g. appointing).Developing the categories of illocutionary act is very important role of speech act theory. One of the five categories that has attracted the most attention in empirical studies on pragmatic is directives that include ordering, commanding, requesting, etc.

1.6 Persuasion

Persuasion has been a well-researched topic in both social psychological and communication. Many studies have been published on this subject, extending from different theories of persuasion, persuasive strategies, and their message structure, to rhetoric studies. The present study, however, only follows the pragmalinguistic aspect of persuasive discourse and not on the reasoning and logic of the speech in linguistic pragmatics; Lakoff (1982) is nearly considered the real pioneer in studying persuasion. Persuasive discourse is seen by Lakoff as the non-reciprocal. While persuasion is defined by Lakoff as an 'Attempt or intention of one party to change the behavior, feeling, intentions or view point of another by communicative means' (P. 88). Unfortunately, little studies have been done so far on the linguistic realization of persuasion discourse, so that this work examines some of selling utterances which carry the idea of persuasion.

1.6 Politeness theory

Prior to discussing strategies which sellers use to persuade their customers, it is essential to link persuasion to politeness theory, because persuasion and politeness theory are inseparable when explaining the linguistic forms and communicative devices in marketing conversation. Leech (1983) points out that politeness principle requires people to minimize the expression of impolite beliefs or to maximize the expression of polite beliefs. Brown and Levinson (1978) have developed politeness theory and related it to the notion of face. They show that face refers to the public self-image which everybody wants to be for himself: it is linked to the every day use of expression such as losing face. Brown and Levinson (1987) put two aspects of face: positive face which indicates the desire for appreciation, and approval by others, and negative face, which indicates the desire not to be imposed on by others. As a result, they discussed many expressions in everyday conversation which may be polite or impolite. The current study discusses persuasion strategies used by sellers with getting back to politeness theory. Because these strategies employed by sellers will be clear and easy to be understood. Sellers often attempt to change customers` belief, attitude, or behavior in the buying-selling interactions.

1.7 Communication and marketing

   William and Spiro and Fine (1990) insert a conceptual framework of customer-seller interaction applied through focusing on the seller, costumer, and their interaction with the interaction components composed of the interpersonal communication, which is presented as the relational communication between seller and costumer.

    Jordanian sellers like other sellers in different societies, try to persuade their costumers about the quality and the price of products. So they use certain expressions which represent persuasive acts that may bring more profit. Shopping expression is defined as a verbal and non-verbal interaction used by sellers and customer in order to arrive to a mutual agreement. In addition, bargaining in shopping conversation is defined by Kennan and Wilson (1993:45) as 'a process of arriving at mutual agreement in the provisions of a contact'.

    In this thesis, the sociopragmatic functions of persuasive strategies in light of politeness theory in order to explain the communicative acts used by sellers to persuade their customer to buy products, because politeness theory is presented by Brown and Levinson (1987) as one of the essential factors for a successful communication whose success is warranted by appropriate persuasive tools . The major focus is to explore the politeness strategies adopted by Jordanian sellers their customer. Shopping expression is a sort of speech act whose aim is to persuade and encourage people to buy or to sell through negotiation of buying'selling interaction. Sellers, like advertisers, generally employ different language techniques to achieve their goal, one of which can be using linguistic politeness strategies, which can strengthen rapport and maintain social scale.

1.8 Statement of the Problem

    Persuasion strategies are used everyday and they are the sbject of many fields like economics, politics and marketing, but few studies have specifically studies this sociopragmatic phenomenon in Jordanian Arabic. In addition, to the best knowledge of the researcher, no studies have dealt with the persuasion behavior of sellers, specifically, in Irbid area. Persuasive strategies used by sellers are worth investigating at their linguistic as well as social roles and represent the problem the current thesis intends to address.

Although the most of the previous studies have already discussed the speech act of bargaining, there is an scant attention presented specifically to discuss the act of persuasion in Arab world. Therefore the study is applied in the scope of persuasion.

1.9 Purpose and Question of the Study

    The current study aims to investigate the relationship between the realization / interpretation of persuasion strategies and their context in the use of persuasive speech by Jordanian salesperson. This study intends to examine the persuasion strategies with indicating to their functions in different situations. In addition, the focus turns around the influence of some social factors, namely, gender, and age on the choice of selling expression by Jordanian sellers. Consequently, this study is supposed to answer these questions:

1- What are the persuasion strategies used by sellers in shopping conversation in Jordanian Arabic?

2- How do sellers employ polite language and persuasive strategies in the buying and selling interaction JA?

3- How do social variables (like gender and age) affect the use of shopping terms?

4- How important is the effect of Jordanian culture on persuasive acts used by sellers?

1.10 Significance of the Study

    Shopping terms have many functions in everyday life in spoken JA. One of these functions is to persuade the customers about the quality and the price of the products. Therefore, it is important to manifest the sociopragmatic tools used by sellers to change the customer's attitude, behavior toward commodity. This study is different from the preceding studies because it is focused on the linguistic etiquette of sellers in Irbid. In addition to that, it is the first study which describes the persuasion strategies used by sellers in Irbid.

    This study also attempts to find out linguistic devices that Jordanian speakers utilize in order to attain multiple and competing communication tasks by integrating the demands for politeness, which sometimes require vagueness and obscurity as well as clarity and powerful language common to persuasive speech.   



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