CODE CHOICE AND FACE
This paper starts by presenting the factors that govern language choices among multilinguals, to show then that they can be seen as the result of face considerations: (1) 'Natural' or 'efficient' language choice: choosing the language for which the product of the competences of both partners is highest. This maximizes the negative face, i.e. the freedom of action, of both partners. (2) Language practice: choosing a language not because it is the easiest one but because one wishes to practice it. This means reducing one's positive and negative face for the moment in order to increase them in the long run. (3) Prestige or its opposite, fear of losing face by making mistakes. This is clearly the positive face aspect of language choices. (4) And finally, compliance: adapting to the language preferences of one's partner by speaking either his mother tongue, or a language s/he has a preference for. This means reducing one's own negative face in order to increase the one of the partner. Which in turn will contribute to the positive face of both partners, one feeling important because s/he is being complied with, and the other getting the image of a kind and polite person.
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