Developing A Measuring Tool of Bahasa Indonesia Politeness in Face-to-Face and Remote Social Interactions


Zamzani, Tadkiroatun Musfiroh, Siti Maslakhah

This study aimed to (1) identifying the forms of polite speech acts within face-to-face interactions; (2) identifying the indicators for politeness in bahasa Indonesia in face-to-face social interactions required by Indonesian speakers; and (3) setting up indicators of politeness to be developed as a measuring tool for bahasa Indonesia politeness. This study can be used as a reference in constructing the measuring tool for bahasa Indonesia politeness in face-to-face, formal speech, and theoretically can be beneficial for: (1) theoretical reference for polite and impolite oral expressions in face-to-face, formal speech, (2) reference for politeness indicators in conducting face-to-face, formal speech, and (3) reflection of politeness indicators of bahasa Indonesia users in various social classes.


This study made use of research and development (R&D) approach. In this first year, the study focused on the problems of politeness in bahasa Indonesia and found the need assessment of the speech community of bahasa Indonesia for language politeness, set up the indicator for universality of politeness of bahasa Indonesia community in face-to-face of formal and informal settings, and developed a prototype of measuring tool for politeness. In this first year, the study used qualitative and quantitative approaches related to library study so that the indicators for politeness can be comprehensive and meet the need.

The subjects of this study were bahasa Indonesia speakers who were required to speak politely, consisted of students, university students, teachers, lecturers, and other professions. Total subjects were 200 people, classified based on their background of education, age, sex, profession, domicile, and tribe. This study was located in Yogyakarta province, covering the area of Sleman, Yogya city, and Bantul. The locations were selected based on the need and purpose of this study. Apart from educational institutions and campuses, areas inhibited by people of multitribe and multiethnic were also chosen.

The data collections used the techniques of survey-questionnaire, observation, interview, and documentation. Survey was carried out to find out preliminary data among the potential subjects. Observation was done by observing verbal behavior of the subjects, both of orally and non-orally and their reactions during the process of social interaction. Documentation was used to note down the activities of subjects’ verbal behavior. Technique of exploratory literature was also used. Data were taken both qualitatively and quantitatively. Qualitatively, data were taken by taking notes from observation of face-to-face formal speech acts around the researchers. Quantitatively, data were taken by making instruments in the form of Likert scale. The scale was made in five topics face-to-face formal settings, i.e. teaching-learning processes, formal meetings, other academic topics, cultural rituals and ceremonies and public transactions, negotiations, and services. Each topic was then developed into several speech acts. Data analysis was conducted by qualitative and quantitative descriptive technique. Qualitative analysis was done by describing the dimensions of bahasa Indonesia politeness, designing the required indicators, and developing the items. Quantitative analysis was carried out by using statistical processing technique.

This study used various theories as references, such as the principle of collaboration proposed by Grice, principle of politeness proposed by Leech, principle of formal politeness stated by Mills, and principle of politeness stated by Aziz.

This study shows that the forms of polite speech act can be categorized based on its topics and functions. Based on its topics, the face-to-face formal speech acts can be categorized into five topics, i.e. speech acts in teaching-learning processes, formal meetings, other academic topics, cultural rituals and ceremonies and public transactions, negotiations, and services.

A form of speech act can be valued as a very polite, polite, slightly polite, not polite, and very impolite expressions based on many factors: position and role of the speech, speaker’s age, speaker’s level of authority and social, the purpose of speech, effect of speech, choice of words, and context appropriateness described in various items of instruments.

Indicators of politeness of a speech act are determined by many factors: choice of words, lack or not of greeting, purpose of speech, appropriateness of attitude (modest, pompous), honesty or dishonesty, vulgarity, effect on the listeners, the listener, authority of social class, and sufficiency of speech. Those indicators of politeness are often overlapped and cause different perceptions on politeness for different respondents. Besides the indicators mentioned on point three, there are other factors found in this study, i.e. (1) honesty, (2) authority, (3) standard dictions, and (4) convention.



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