The role of “face” in building a successful relationship

The role of “face” in building a successful relationship


  • Ekaterine Vatsadze Kutaisi University



სახის ცნება, წარმატებული კომუნიკაცია


Understanding the concept and role of ‘face’ is of great importance in the process of establishing successful communication.  As for successful communication, it is a prerequisite for establishing successful relationship and achieving goals. The term ‘face’ in the sense of ‘reputation’, ‘good name’ was first used in English  language in 1876 as a translation of the Chinese term ΄diū liăn΄ in the phrase ‘preparations by which China lost face’ (Thomas, 1995:168).  Since then, the word ‘face’ has been widely used in concepts such as ‘loosing face’ and ‘saving face’. Speaking about ‘face’, Brown and Levinson  mention ‘Negative and Positive Face’. ‘Positive Face’ presents strategies of friendship and harmony and expresses a person’s wish to be positively assessed by other people. ‘Negative Face’ means a person’s wish not to be restricted by other people. However, both ‘positive face’ and ‘negative face’ may be in danger and consequently we have an act of damaging face (Brown, Levinson 1987:60). It is also worth noting that in his theory P. Brown and S. Levinson discuss politeness as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’. ‘Positive politeness’ strategies are directed to the ‘positive face’ of the listener and express solidarity, close friendship and informality, while ‘negative politeness’ strategies are directed to the ‘negative face’ of the listener and are expressed by restraint, formality and distance. Thus, understanding the concept of face and its role for successful communication and relationships is of great importance not only from a linguistic, but also from an extra-linguistic point of view.


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ბრაუნი, ლევინსონი 1987 – Brown P., Levinson S. C. (1987). Politeness – Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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დეილ კარნეგი 2017. წარმატების ენა . გამომცემლობა გეო. თბილისი

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ტომასი 1995 – Thomas J. (1995). Meaning in Interaction. An Introduction to Pragmatics. London and NewYork: Longman




How to Cite

Vatsadze , E. (2022). The role of “face” in building a successful relationship. LANGUAGE AND CULTURE, (28).