Face Saving Differences Between Vietnamese And Americans Cultural Essay

There are many definitions of face. But in general, face is an image of ego delineated in footings of approved societal properties ( Goffman, 1963 ). In add-on, he conceptualizes face as “ the positive societal value a individual efficaciously claims for himself or herself by the line others assume he or she has taken during a peculiar contact ” ( as cited in Stella Ting-Toomy, 1994, p. 49 ). He besides ( 1955 ) besides argues that face can be lost, saved and or given. He ( 1967 ) further suggests two focal point of face: self-face ( one ‘s ain face ) and other-face ( other ‘s face ). One non merely defends self-face but besides protects other-face during interactions ( p.49 ).

We will write a custom essay sample on
Face Saving Differences Between Vietnamese And Americans Cultural Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

Based on Brown and Levinson ‘s niceness theory, George Yule ( 1996 ) in “ Pragmaticss ” stated that there are two types of face:

Negative face: A individual ‘s negative face demands to be independent and to hold freedom of action, and non desire to be imposed on by others ( George Yule, 1996, p. 61 ).

Positive face: A individual ‘s positive face is the demand to be accepted, even liked, by others, to be treated as a member of the same group, and to cognize that his or her wants are shared by others ( George Yule, 1996, p. 62 ).

Other footings:

Cross-cultural communicating:

Hall ( 1959 ) indicated that “ Culture is communicating and communicating is civilization ”.

“ Cross-cultural communicating is communicating ( verbal and gestural ) between people from different civilizations ; cultural values, belief, attitudes, etc has an impact on communicating ” ( as cited in Ho Thi My Hau. ( 2001 ). Cross-cultural communicating ). And we can recognize cross-cultural communicating on people through their reactions and responses to each other.


As James R. Silkena, Jeffrey M.Aresty & A ; Jacqueline Klosek ( 2009 ) stated that “ Face-saving may be defined as the act of continuing one ‘s prestigiousness or outward self-respect ” ( p.154 ).

Face-saving is one of the ways to continue niceness when people fall ining in conversation. As George Yule ( 1996 ) states that face-saving act is “ given the possibility that some action might be interpreted as a menace to another ‘s face, the talker can state something to decrease the possible menace ” ( p. 61 ).


Politeness is an act of consciousness of other people ‘s face. Brown and Levinson are two major representatives on niceness and when we talk about them, we no uncertainty speak about their theoretical account ‘s niceness that is considered as the greatest impact on linguistic communication research in general and on intercultural communicating in peculiar.

And harmonizing to Brown and Levinson, two chief sides of niceness include positive niceness and negative niceness.

Positive niceness:

Peoples fall ining communicating want to be praised and respected.


a. How about loaning me some money?

Hey, Bucky, I ‘d appreciate it if you ‘d allow me borrow you money.

This sort of niceness is seen in every life and the talkers want the others to be pleased and glad. That can take to be easy for every issue for both talkers and hearers.

Negative niceness

In contrast to positive niceness, people fall ining communicating want to be independent and non to be treated.


Could you lend me your money?

I ‘m regretful to trouble oneself you but can I inquire you for your money?

Face salvaging act is more normally performed via a negative niceness ( George, 1996, p.64 ).

In decision, in Brown and Levinson ‘s theoretical account the complement hope and self-denial are the most cardinal force of niceness.

Face-saving map as niceness:

Socio-norm position:

Face-saving has maps as niceness. Peoples in communicating consider continuing face-saving as one of niceness ‘s issues. Face-saving is concerned all over the universe. And it is a cosmopolitan one ; nevertheless, the feature of face-saving is so different through the universe. And that is ground why it is concerned as socio-norm position in our society. Continuing face-saving for ourselves and others plays an of import function in continuing societal dealingss among people. As a consequence, people avoid losing face while pass oning with others.

Face-saving map as niceness:


Person prosecuting in communicating attempts to salvage his/ her face in forepart of the others. In this respect, the talkers appreciate their independency or individuality. And continuing their face in forepart of other people is the most of import thing. As a consequence, they try to avoid being caused to lose face by themselves among people.


Person prosecuting in communicating attempts to salvage the other face in forepart of the others. Partner avoids lose the niceness and attempts to follow the colloquial rules. In communicating, other-face may be the most concerned one than self-face. This is one of the of import issues in continuing niceness. In brief, as in a survey of Baxter ( 1984 ), the Nipponese frequently concerns much more on self-face than others. In contrast, the American people seem to concern much more on other-face than self -face one.

As a consequence, Stella Ting – Toomy ( 1994 ) confirms that “ There were besides differences in the state of affairss persons thought keeping self-face was of import. Nipponese wanted to continue self-face in private, informal, and intimate state of affairss. North Americans, in contrast, wanted to keep self-face in public, formal, and non-intimate scenes ” ( p. 56 ).

Socio-cultural impacts on face-saving:

“ The positive societal value a individual efficaciously claims for himself or herself ” ( Goffman, 1995, p.213 )

The construct of face-saving through is different from civilizations worldwide. In such a civilization with strong face-saving point of view, all concern could stop up if one side or another is leaded to lose face. In this civilization, face-saving plays a more of import function than concern issues. On the other manus, in such a civilization with weak face-saving point of view, all concern could go on if one side or another is leaded to lose face. In this civilization, concern issues play more of import than face-saving.

In Ho ‘s position, face “ is ne’er a strictly single thing. It does non do sense to talk of the face of an person as something lodged within his ( her ) individual ; it is meaningful ; merely when his ( her ) face is considered in relation to that of others in the societal web ” ( as cited in Stella Ting – Toomy, 1994, p. 51 ).

Equally good as the Vietnamese in peculiar and in Asiatic civilization in general, the American besides have their face-saving. They besides do non desire to lose face in forepart of other people. American people appreciate the individuality and they frequently do non concern on the others ‘thought. Stating “ no ” in forepart of the others is non considered to be ill-mannered that is a necessary demand to avoid misinterpretation tomorrow. A typical illustration is that in Asiatic fiscal crisis in 1997, many Nipponese directors suicide because they think their action is one of the ways to protect their human self-respect. But to the American, at the same circumstance, they are non to make like that. As a consequence, they want to do the others progress so.


Through the survey, we can recognize that American communications in face-saving frequently appreciate each individual ‘s individuality and they seem non to concentrate on collectivized face-saving. Vietnamese, on the other manus, frequently appreciate leftist face-saving than self-face economy. That does non intend I indicate which is better, I want to state in general one issue. That is besides appropriate to the two cultural communications American and Vietnam.

If we can understand clearly this face-saving in communicating that can assist us lend to holding proper communicating manner and avoid too bad errors and struggles in a cross-cultural communicating. In this survey, I give you the comparing between the two civilizations Vietnamese and American that is non to judge which civilization is more polite in face-saving while communicating. That is the ground why we could non see this civilization to be higher than the other one.


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out