Politeness and Gender in a Saudi TV Show



  • Nuha AlShurafa King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Fatima Aldakheel Saudi Electronic University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Tariq Elyas King Abdulaziz University
  • Maather Alrawi King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Interviews, Gender Politeness Strategies, Positive/Negative Politeness.


Gender is considered a vital factor that contributes in affecting the use and interpretation of politeness strategies by interlocutors (Mills, 2003) which is affirmed by various studies. The objective of the present study is to investigate the use of politeness strategies among male and female interlocutors (a male interviews male and female interviewees) in a Saudi TV show to examine differences in case there are any. The present study is primarily based on the theoretical framework proposed by Brown and Levinson (1987). Such framework gives rise to a systematic network of politeness strategies, presupposing that speech acts are generally linked to the abstract cultural notion of “face”. Two questions are addressed as; firstly, Does the male interviewer use the same politeness strategies with both male and female interviewees? Secondly, what are the politeness strategies used by male and by female interviewees in their interaction with the male interviewer? Are they the same or different? The results show that the female interviewer on one hand, uses negative politeness most of the time. The male interviewer, on the other hand, was neutral with the female interviewee. Moreover, the male interviewee uses only positive politeness strategies in his interaction with the interviewer. Similarly, politeness strategies used by the interviewer are positive. Such strategies that are used between male interlocutors indicate a common ground and convey that both are co-operators.

Author Biographies

Nuha AlShurafa, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Nuha suleiman Alshurafa is a Professor of Linguistics at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She holds a BA in English language and literature (from London university, UK 1980). She holds an MA in English Linguistics (from Bath university-UK in 1981) and a PhD in Functional and theoretical Linguistics (from Manchester university-UK in 1988). Professor Alshurafa held the post of head of the English department in faculty of arts and humanities at king Abdul-Aziz university (KAU) in 1999-2000, and the post of Vice-Dean of the English institute at KAU university in 2006-2007. She is now a member of the editorial-committee of the faculty of Arts and Humanities journal in KAU. She has over 30 published linguistic articles in different linguistic journals. Professor Alshurafa’s areas of interests include Standard Arabic and the dialects structural analysis, Language Identity, World Englishes, Women Studies, and Theoretical linguistics and the lexical competence of Arabic speakers. Her articles have appeared in various linguistic journals such as: British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies; The Buckingham Journal of Language and Linguistics among many others.

Tariq Elyas, King Abdulaziz University

Prof. Tariq Elyas is a Full Professor of Applied Linguistics at King Abdulaziz University-KAU (Saudi Arabia). He holds an MA in English Literature (USA) and a PhD in Applied Linguistics (Australia). Prof. Elyas was awarded the British Chevening Fellowship in International Law & Human Rights (UK) as well as a Post-Doctorate in Applied Linguistics from the British Commonwealth Council (UK). Prof. Elyas’s areas of interests include Global English, Teacher Identity, Policy Reform, Media Studies, and Women Studies in the Middle East. His research papers have appeared in leading international journals such as British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Digest of Middle East Studies, Contemporary Review of the Middle East, Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research, Semiotica, World Englishes, Asian Englishes, Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, Journal of Neurolinguistics, Sexuality and Culture, as well as ELT Journal. Prof. Elyas has been awarded the Bundey Prize for English Verse (Australia); Travel Writing Fellowship (USA); Cambridge Gulf Research Award (UK); Reviewer of the Year-Emerald Publisher (UK); EU-GCC Relations Project Award (Belgium); and the Best Supervisor Award in the Humanities & Social Sciences Track-KAU in 2018 and 2020 (Saudi Arabia). Prof. Elyas has guest-edited three special issues: 1) ‘World Englishes in MENA’ (with Ahmar Mahboob) in World Englishes; 2) ‘Gender in Language Education’ (with Handoyo Puji Widodo) in Sexuality & Culture; and 3) ‘English Language Education: A Critical Global Englishes Perspective’ (with Fan Fang and Handoyo Puji Widodo) in Asian Englishes. His latest book was an edited volume (co-edited with Dr Ahmar Mahboob) entitled Educational Challenges during the GCC in the 21st Century (Cambridge Scholars Publisher). Prof. Elyas has been the most highly cited author in Saudi Arabia in the fields of Education and Applied Linguistics since 2014. Prof. Elyas has served as an external examiner for (24) PhD students from Australia, Malaysia, UAE, UK, and Saudi Arabia. Also, Prof. Elyas has worked in numerous educational posts in Australia, UK, USA and Saudi Arabia. Currently, Prof. Elyas has been assigned as the Associate Editor for Wiley Encyclopedia of World Englishes- MENA region

Maather Alrawi, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Maather Alrawi is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her research interests include language typology, English Globalisation, Error Analysis and Syntactic Theory (the Minimalist Program) with particular focus on A/A’-movement, Phase Theory, Null Subject Parameter, and the cartography of syntactic structures. She is also interested in the syntax of Semitic languages including the Standard and modern Arabic dialects and Austronesian (Indonesian).



How to Cite

AlShurafa, N. ., Aldakheel, F. ., Elyas, T. ., & Alrawi, M. . (2022). Politeness and Gender in a Saudi TV Show. International Journal of Linguistics and Translation Studies, 3(2), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.36892/ijlts.v3i2.223