Politeness in Thesis Consultation by WhatsApp: Do Lecturers and Students Apply Different Strategies?

Keywords: Politeness Strategies, Lecturer-student Interaction, WhatsApp


The study of politeness in education setting interaction has increased in last decades. However, the investigation of politeness strategies in lecturer-student interaction using WhatsApp is relatively unexplored. Therefore, this study aims to explore politeness strategies used by a lecturer and students in virtual communication using WhatsApp during thesis consultation.  The researcher applied a mixed method: qualitative and quantitative research to discover the politeness phenomena in WhatsApp interaction. The participants of the study were 10 undergraduate students of English Department, University of HKBP Nommensen, and a lecturer as their thesis consultant. The data of the study consist of 50 screenshots of WhatsApp chats  thesis consultation. The results show that all four types of politeness strategies were found in lecture-students interaction. The politeness strategies used by the lecturer and students differ greatly. The lecturer dominantly employed bald on-record (30. 93%) with the most imperative sentences realization; on the other hand, the students tend to use positive politeness strategy (23.20%) with the most greetings realization. This demonstrates that lecturers keep their distance when communicating, whereas students attempt to “get closer” during the interaction. The different politeness strategy choices are caused by the different power and social status (position) factors between lecturers and students. The findings of this study also show that the politeness strategies chosen by lecturers and students are not always consistent with previous similar studies.


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Author Biographies

Arsen Nahum Pasaribu, Universitas HKBP Nommensen, Medan, Indonesia

Arsen Nahum Pasaribu is a senior lecturer in English Department, Faculty of Language and Arts, University of HKBP Nommensen Medan. He obtained his Doctoral Degree in Linguistics from University of Sumatera Utara in 2017. His research interests include Discourse Analysis, especially ideology investigation in text. Besides, Pragmatics in Educational settings is also his favorite topics of research. His recent research interests focus on politeness and impoliteness strategies performed by students and teachers in classroom interactions.  During pandemic covid-19, his research focus moves to politeness and impoliteness strategies implemented by students and teachers/lecturers through digital media, such as WhastApp and other social media.

Erikson Saragih, Universitas Prima Indonesia, Medan, Indonesia

Dr. Erikson Saragih, S.Pd, M.Hum is a lecturer of LLDIKTI 1 North Sumatra, who is currently positioned at English Education Department, Faculty of Teacher training and Education, Universitas Prima Indonesia, Medan, Indonesia. He teaches Research Method subject and Linguistic related subjects. He completed his Doctoral degree from Linguistic Department, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Medan majoring in Translation studies. His research interests are Applied Linguistics, Academic Writing and Translation. At present, he is actively writing in both National accredited journals and reputable international journals. Besides, he also actively reviews article manuscripts in 8 accredited national journals (Sinta 2) and 2 reputable international journals (Scopus indexed journals).

Agustinus Gea, Universitas HKBP Nommensen, Medan, Indonesia

Agustinus Gea was born in Ombolata village, North Nias in 1995. He is the four child from the five siblings. He studied at SD BNKP Lahewa in 2009, he continued to  SMP N.1 Lahewa and graduated in 2012, and then he studied at SMA N. 1 Lahewa, and he was graduated in 2014. At the same year he continued his education in English Education Study Program in institute of Teaching Training and Education of Gunungsitoli and graduated in 2018/2019. In 2021, he is pursuing his Master degree in English Education in University of HKBP Nommensen, Medan -North Sumatra. His research interest is pragmatics in education practice.


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How to Cite
Pasaribu, A. N., Saragih, E., & Gea, A. (2021). Politeness in Thesis Consultation by WhatsApp: Do Lecturers and Students Apply Different Strategies? . Elsya : Journal of English Language Studies, 4(1), 45-53. https://doi.org/10.31849/elsya.v4i1.6376
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