Naowarat (Nina) Keawseangtham

Naowarat (Nina) Keawseangtham

Supervisor: Professor Ian Hutchby.


  • Bachelor of Creative Arts (Film and Video), University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Master of Media Arts and Production (Film and Video), University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia

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Research interests:

  • Communication (Intercultural communication and cross-cultural communication)
  • Mass Communication (Film, television, Public Relations, New Media, Media: Society, Culture, and Critical theory)
  • Sociolinguistics (Politeness)

PhD abstract: Politeness theory provides us with an understanding about appropriate language uses that will best suit our circumstances and our relationships to others. Although Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness theory has been useful in regards to the study of human politeness, their theory has been criticised for its lack of cultural reference and settings. The present study investigated the politeness in Thai language of 24 female and 24 male Thai north-eastern high school students by looking at their response to a request from members of the same sex. The study aimed to examine the role of the requester’s age, status, social distance and the imposition of the requested act and gender differences in their politeness. The study used role-play data, retrospective, semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions and basic questionnaires. Discourse analysis was employed as an analysis tool. The findings revealed their linguistic politeness; vocative uses and dialect, pragmatic negative politeness; indirect refusal and pragmatic positive politeness; and co-operation. The findings provide an insightful discussion on the chosen variables under the given contexts. The findings also infer the crucial role of Thai cultural norms of politeness that were underlying their polite behaviours and the informal setting as portrayed in their language uses.

Research Questions:

  • What the variation of the polite strategies do Thai north-eastern female and male high school students adopt with the same sex as a respond to the requester’s requester as influenced by the requester’s specific perceived power (Higher and lower), social distance (D) (High and Low), the imposition of the requested act (RX) (high), age (A) (Older and Younger)? Why is this so?
  • How do the same sex requester’s specific perceived power (Higher and lower), social distance (D) (High and Low), the imposition of the requested act (RX) (high), age (A) (Older and Younger) Why is this so?
  • What is the gender difference in their politeness strategies and why?


  • Qualitative Research
  • Discourse Analysis
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