Cake and critique: 'power' full ingredients, A comparison of power and politeness between the British judges of The Great British Bake Off and the Dutch judges of Heel Holland Bakt.
The aim of this research was to investigate how power and politeness are operationalised in the two strongly authority-ridden contexts The Great British Bake Off and its Dutch counterpart Heel Holland Bakt, and to examine how authority is established when comparing its British judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry to their Dutch colleagues Robèrt van Beckhoven and Janny van der Heijden. Through a quantitative analysis, the frequency of four politeness strategies, used by the judges, were compared to each other. The four politeness strategies under scrutiny were British I think and its Dutch counterparts ik vind and ik denk, Dutch discourse particle hè and British question-tags, and British as well as Dutch softeners (e.g. Br: pretty; D: best wel) and strengtheners (e.g. Br: very; D: heel). These politeness strategies were examined in order to find out which of these strategies contributed to establishing authority. There is a common belief that the British are less direct and more polite than the Dutch. Brown and Levinson (1987) argue that the British are indirect because of their tendency to use negative politeness strategies. However, Mellaard (2008) contends that the Dutch also make considerable use of negative politeness strategies. Negative politeness strategies can be interpreted as facilitating understatement. This study suggests that the British judges show more authority in their discursive actions than their Dutch colleagues, but not because of the Dutch judges’ frequent use of negative politeness strategies, as what might be suggested when considering Mellaard’s (2008) argument. Hence, this study is not in line with Mellaard’s (2008) argument, nor with Brown and Levinson’s (1987) theory.
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