Politeness strategies and pragmatic functions in selected doctor-patient interaction in Private Hospital in Akure


  • David Olorunsogo University of Ibadan


Politeness, Hierarchy, Strategies, Medical discourse, Doctor-patient interactions, Private hospital


This study examined how politeness strategies are constructed and their functions in doctor-patient interactions in Private hospitals in Akure. Although, polite behaviours have been investigated in the field of medical discourse with an emphasis on doctor-patient interaction, this study focuses on private hospitals, with an attempt to magnify the interplay of hierarchy between doctors and patients in private medical practice. Akio Yabuuchi's hierarchy politeness and Jacob Mey's pragmatic act theory were adopted to analyse the data for this study. Audio-taped recordings of doctor-patient interactions in private hospitals in Akure were selected for this study. Five strategies used by doctors are diagnostic elicitation, familiarisation elicitation, emotive pain-alleviation, consultation focusing, and lexical-substitution explanation. The patient-motivated strategy is complaint focusing. The pragmatic functions performed through these strategies are investigating, consoling, focusing, complaining, and inquiring. The negotiation of polite behaviours within social distance and power is evident in the data. Hierarchy in the interactions is relative depending on the type of existing relationship between doctor and patient. This relationship, in turn, determines the type of politeness used. Desires and their gratifications are also negotiated through the politeness strategies identified in the study.


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How to Cite

Olorunsogo, D. (2021). Politeness strategies and pragmatic functions in selected doctor-patient interaction in Private Hospital in Akure . Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 10(1), 353–371. Retrieved from https://laghana.org/gjl/index.php/gjl/article/view/336