Due to its expansive scope, politeness has been a subject of interest to academics in various disciplines, including linguistics, cognitive psychology, social psychology, philosophy, communication, and others (Chimombo & Roseberry 1998).
A potent instrument for attaining control over an interpreter is politeness. The concept of politeness obviously fulfills a major function in the level of cooperation among participants in the dialogue. Politeness is cultural in nature (Martin 1993). As argued by Goffman (1956), what makes politeness crucial is the reality that discourses commonly give the interpreter a ‘face threatening act’. Negative responses, such as refusals, are one instance of such an act. If people ask courteously for something and are brusquely turned down, then they may feel humiliated or offended. People of several cultures view such straightforward conduct as a threat to one’s face, implying the personal image that the individual shows in a dialogue. If one individual insults another by performing a face-threatening act, the reply, in contemporary colloquial or informal English, could be “Get outta my face!” (Holtgraves 2002: 39).
The extent of frankness that an individual could tolerate without sensing that a face-threatening act has been performed seems to rely greatly on culture. Efforts that have been made to furnish an explanation of politeness that is wide-ranging enough to be relevant across cultural frontiers have been fairly broadly criticised (Fraser 1990).