Politeness Expressions In Karonese Nganting Manuk Ceremony Herawati Br Bukit, Sondang Manik, Immanuel Prasetya Gintings

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Politeness Expressions In Karonese Nganting Manuk Ceremony

Herawati Br Bukit, Sondang Manik, Immanuel Prasetya Gintings



The writer analyze the description of the Politeness in Karonese Nganting Manuk Ceremony by the data and analysis, finally the writer comes to the conclusion that Politeness is one of the important factors in one’s socialization and it is used to maintain the social value of the community, including in virtual-community. There are 6 situations of politeness that is used in the Conversations Of Karonese Nganting Manuk Ceremony on 6th May 2009. They are: Greeting, Thanking, Offering, Invitation, Apologizing and Leave-Taking. There are 3 types of politeness used in the Conversations of Karonese Nganting Manuk Ceremony. They are: Positive Politeness Strategy amounts to 23 conversations or 58,9%, Negative Politeness Strategy amounts to 13 conversations or 33,4% and Off-Record Strategy amounts to 3 conversations or 7,7%. There are 5 Politeness Maxims used in the Conversations of Karonese Nganting Manuk Ceremony. They are: Tact Maxim amounts to 4 conversations or 43,6%, Generosity Maxim amounts to 4 conversations or 12,8%, Approbation Maxim amounts to 6 conversations or 17,95%, Agreement Maxim amounts to 6 conversations or 17,95% and Modesty Maxim amounts to 3 conversations or 7,7%.

Key Words: Politeness, Greeting, Thanking, Offering, Invitation, Apoligizing, Leave-Taking


The writer is a native speaker of Karo language and who was born and brought up in this speech area is interested in analyzing this politeness problem. Though the writer was not born in the Karo district, she sees that making this analysis in order to make Karonese will more respect in speech with other peoples and increase the awareness of the younger generation. So, the writer interested to do this research with the title “Politeness in Karonese Nganting Manuk Ceremony.

The objectives of the study are to find out how politeness is used in Nganting Manuk ceremony and how politeness maxim is used in Nganting Manuk ceremony.


Psychologically, a speaker is tempted to show that he or she has a good personality. One of the strategies is to speak gently and politely. No one wants to be regarded as an ignorant person. Everyone wants to be respected as he or she is. The respect that is required is called the positive face of the speaker and the self-identity is called negatif face. Kramsch (1998:46) aptly says:

Members of a cultural group need to feel respected and not impinged upon in their autonomy, pride and self-sufficiency (negative face).

They also need to be reinfoced in their view of themselves as polite, considerate, respectful members of their culture (positive face).

Brown and Levinson (1987:103) states that there are some ways of politeness to attract people attention. They are:

  1. Notice, attend to H (his interest, wants, needs, goods)

Speaker should take notice of aspects of hearer’s condition (noticeable changes, remarkable possession, anything which looks as though hearer would want speaker to notice and approve. For example:

    • “Goodness, you cut your hair! By the way, I came to borrow some flour.”

2. Exaggerate (interest, approval, sympathy with hearer)

This is often done with exaggerated information, stress and other aspects of prosodic as well as with intensifying modifier. For example:

    • “Yes, isn’t it just ghastly the way. It always seems to rain just when you’ve hung your laundry out!”

3. Intensify interest to hearer

Another way for speaker to communicate to hearer that he shares some of his wants is to intensify the interest of his own contributions to the conversation by making a good story. For example:

    • “I come down the stairs and what do you think I see?” – “A huge mess all over the place, the phone’s off the hook and clothes are scattered all over.

The situations of politeness

Politeness is aimed at investigating the language use in society which is appropriate to the situation. Specifically, it is aimed at maintaing a good relationship between the speaker and hearer. Therefore, it is very needed the situations to show politeness. They are:

1. Greeting

According to Oxford English Dictionary, ‘Greeting is the first word used on seeing somebody or in writing to somebody.’ The way to greet someone is different in one culture to the other. What greeting is appropriate depends on circumstances, on the time of day on the intercultural and how well they know each other, for example, good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, can be used in informal or formal situation. Here is a dialog when meeting someone in the morning:

A: “Good morning, Mr. Joe?”

B: “Good Morning”

A: “How are you today?”

B: “Fine, thanks!”

The greeting ‘good morning’ in the dialogue above can be used by everyone and it can be expressed in a lively way, or in uninterested way, according to our mood. The word good can be ommited, especially in information situation. We must also realize that the greeting “good morning” is normally used about 01.00 a.m to 11.59 a.m. or midday meal time.

A friendly-greeting mostly used Hi and Hello. These words are usually intended to a friend or somebody whom we know closely or intimately. When two children meet, they are more likely to say Hi or hello than good morning, good evening, good afternoon and etc. For example:

A: “Hi, Lani!”

B: “Hi…..”

A: “How’ve you been?”

B: “Fine, thanks.”

In informal greeting, one can use more formal way such as:

A: “How do you do?”

B: “Oh, I’m Tina. How do you do?”

A: “I’m Wanto.”

This greeting is usually used when we just meet with someone for the first time, or when speaking to someone who we do not know well.

2. Self-Introducing

Self-introducing can be expressed directly or indirectly. We express directly, when we meet someone we do not know each other and there is the other people who can be as a mediator to introduce us. For examples:

A: “Excuse me, I don’t think we’ve met before. I’m Nita.”

B: “How do you do? I’m Rika”

A: “Nice to meet you.”

The conversation above is usually done in informal way. The answer “How do you do” is a common greeting when people meet for the first time. This is really not a question and we can also say:

A: “How do you do? My name is Claudia.”

B: “How do you do? I’m Heni.”

A: “Nice to meet you.”

Indirectly, self introducing is held by other people as mediator. For example:

A: “John, this is my friend, Hendra.”

B: “How do you do?”

C: “Very glad to meet you.”

B: “So am I.”

3. Thanking

Thanking is to express gratitude to other people, if we want to thank them. For English people, thanking is a very common act. They always say that to someone for something he/she does. There are some ways to express thanks, for example: thanks, many thanks, thank you very much, thanks a lot, thank you, so many thanks.

Besides the everyday ‘thanks’, there are also a few ways of expressing thanks to over the expression of grattitude, for examples:

  • I’m very grateful to you

  • I’m most grateful to you

  • I can’t tell you now grateful I am (for having helped me when my husband left me)

  • I shall be grateful/thankful to you all my life (this is the way of thinking for having saved one from murder, for example)

The expression of acknowledgements can be acknowledged in various ways, for example:

A: “I’m very grateful to you for your help.”

B: “Don’t mention it, or you’re welcome.”

A: “I really must thank you for having much trouble to find my sister.”

A: “It’s not trouble at all.”

B: “It’s really very good of you to lend me your pens.”

A: “Not at all. It’s a pleasure, thanks all right.”

4. Offering

Offering is an expression of willingness to do something. The act of offering can be expressed in a few ways. For examples: if you want to offer someone about something to do or to have, you can say:

A: “Would you like to have a dinner with me?”

B: “Yes, I would like to or I’d love to.”

A: “Would you like something to eat now?”

B: “Yes, please. I would like fried rice without much pepper, please.”

A: “What would you like?”

B: “A glass of tea, please.”

5. Invitation

Invitation is a request to come or go somewhere or do something. The invitation can be expressed when she go to our friend’s house to come to party of anniversary. For example:

A: “Hi I’d like to invite you to come to a birthday party tommorow.”

B: “Where?”

A: “In my house at eight o’clock.”

B: “Ok. I’ll come to your house tomorrow.”

6. Apologizing

Apologizing is say one is sorry or make an apology. Someone expresses his apology when he fells sorry for doing something wrong or hurts one’s feeling. For example:

A: “I’m sorry, because I don’t come to your birthday party yesterday.”

B: “It’s O.k, Why don’t you come?”

A: “Yesterday, I visit my grandmother in village.”

7. Leave-Taking

Leave-taking is someone say good bye. Usually, leave-taking will be done when two or more people are going to end meeting like visit her friend home. For example:

A: “It is night, I go home now.”

B: “All right. Be careful.”

A: “Thank you, good bye……!”

Types of Politeness

There are four types of politeness strategies, described by Brown and Levinson, that sum up human “politeness” behaviour (1987:101), namely Bald On Record, Negative Politeness, Positive Politeness, and Off-Record-indirect strategy.

Bald On-Record strategy

Brown and Levinson outline that Bald On-Record Strategy do not attempt to minimize the threat to the hearer’s face. This strategy is most often utilized by speakers who closely know their audience. With the bald on record strategy, there is a direct possibility that the audience will be shocked or embarrassed by strategy. For example,

  • A bald on record strategy might be to tell your sister to “Do the dishes. It’s your turn.”

Positive Politeness strategy

Brown and Levinson (1987:101) states that strategy attempt to minimize the threat to the hearer’s positive face. This strategy is most commonly used in situations where the audience knows each other fairly well. Quite often hedging and attempts to avoid conflict are used. Seeks to establish a positive relationship between parties; respects a person’s need to be liked and understood. Direct speech acts, swearing and flouting Grice’s maxims can be considered aspects of positive politeness because:

  • They show an awareness that the relationship is strong enough to cope with what would normally be considered impolite (in the popular understanding of the term);

  • They articulate an awareness of the other person’s values, which fulfils the person’s desire to be accepted.

According to Brown and Levinson, there are fifteen sub-strategies that are used in positive politeness strategies:

    1. Notice, attend to H (his interests, wants, needs, goods)

    2. Exaggerate (interest approval, sympathy with H)

    3. Intensify interest to H

    4. Use in-group identity markers

    5. Seek agreement

    6. Avoid disagreement

    7. Presuppose/raise/assert common ground

    8. Jokes

    9. Assert or presuppose S’s knowledge of and concern for H’s wants

    10. Offer, promise

    11. Be optimistic

    12. Include both S and H in the activity

    13. Give (or ask for) reasons

    14. Assume or assert reciprocity

    15. Give gifts to H (goods, sympathy, understanding, cooperation)

For example:

  • A positive politeness strategy might be the request, “It would be great if you could the dishes for me.”

Negative Politeness strategy

Negative Politeness strategy which similar to Positive Politeness in that we recognize that they want to be respected, however we also assume that we are in some way imposing on them, i.e. say “I,m sorry to bother you but, I just wanted to ask if I could use one of those pens?” Making a request less infringing, such as “If you don’t mind….” or “If it isn’t much trouble…”; respects a person’s right to act freely. In other words, deference. There is a greater use of indirect speech acts.

Off-Record indirect strategies

According to Brown and Levinson (1987), a communicative act is done off-record if it is done in such a way that it is not possible to attribute only one clear communicative intention to the act. Thus, if a speaker wants to do an FTA, but wants to avoid the responsibility for doing it, he can do it off-record and leave it up the addressee to decide how to interpret it.

Brown and Levinson outline this strategy uses indirect language and removes the speaker the speaker from the potential to being imposing. Some sub-strategies of off-record are:

    1. Give hints

    2. Give association clues

    3. Presuppose

    4. Understate

    5. Overstate

    6. Tautologies

    7. Contradictions

    8. Be ironic

    9. Use metaphors

    10. Use rhetorical questions

    11. Be ambiguous

    12. Be vague

    13. Over-generalize

    14. Displace H

    15. Be incomplete, use ellipsis

Politeness Maxims

Geoffrey Leech (1982:132) states the maxims of the politeness tend to go in pairs as follows:

1. The Tact maxim

The tact maxim states: ‘Minimize the expression of beliefs which imply cost to other, maximize the expression of beliefs which imply benefit to other’. The first part of this maxim fits in with Brown and Levinson’s negative politeness strategy of attending to the hearer’s interests, wants, and needs:

Could I interrupt you for a second?

If I could just clarify this then.

2. The Generosity maxim

Leech’s Generosity maxim states: ‘Minimize the expression of benefit to self; maximize the expression of cost to self’. Unlike the tact maxim, the maxcim of generosity focuses on the speaker, and says that others should be put first instead of the self.

You relax and let me do the dishes.

You must come and have dinner with us.

3. The Approbation maxim

The Approbation maxim states: ‘Minimize the expression of beliefs which express dispraise of other;maximize the expression of beliefs which express approval of other’. The operation of this maxim is fairly obvious: all things being equal, we prefer tob praise others and if we cannot do so, to sidestep the issue, to give some sort of minimal response (possibly through the use of euphemisms), or to remain silent. The first part of the maxim avoids disagreement; the second part intends to make other people feel good by showing solidarity.

I heard you singing at the karaoke last night. It was, um… different.

John, I know you’re a genius- would you know how to solve this math problem here?

4. The Modesty maxim

The Modesty maxim states: ‘Minimize the expression of praise of self; maximize the expression of dispraise of self’.

Oh, I’m so stupid – I didn’t make a note of our lecture! Did you?

5. The Agreement maxim

The Agreement maxim runs as follows: ‘Minimize the expression of disagreement between self and other; maximize the expression of agreement between self and other’. It is in line with Brown and Levinson’s positive politeness strategies of ‘seek agreement’ and ‘avoid disagreement,’ to which they attach great importance. However, it is not being claimed that people totally avoid disagreement. It is simply observed that they are much more direct in expressing agreement, rather than disagreement.

A: I don’t want my daughter to do this, I want her to do that.

B: Yes, but ma’am, I thought we resolved this already on your last visit.

6. The Sympathy maxim

The sympathy maxim states: ‘minimize antipathy between self and other; maximize sympathy between self and other’. This includes a small group of speech acts such as congratulation, commiseration, and expressing condolences – all of which is in accordance with Brown and Levinson’s positive politeness strategy of attending to the hearer’s interests, wants, and needs. Eg. I was sorry to hear about your father.

Kinship Term in Karonese

First of all, the name of Karo was derived by Tambun (1951:65) said that: “Kata Karo berasal dari kata ha + roh, artinya pertama datang (ha ‘pertama’, roh ‘datang’). Kemudian ‘haroh’ berubah menjadi ‘karo’.

The above quotation is translated as the following: the term Karo was derived from the combination of ‘ha’ and ‘roh’. Ha means ‘first’ and roh means ‘come’, furthermore the combination gradually developed to be Karo that means ‘come first’. The language spoken by the Karo people as a communicative tool among the societies is called ‘cakap karo or karo dialect’.

Karo is one widely known ethnic groups in North Sumatra with its own particular and unique kinship terms. Almost all aspects of Batak Karo social life are generally organized and determined by these kinship terms. The presentation is clearly shown in their oral practices, customs and any ceremonies they perform. For the Karonese, the system of kinship terms plays a significant role in their daily life. Everything done or planned is always connected to this system.

Father, Mother and Children

Thus, when two people are of the same sex, their relation is senina and when they are of different sex, their relation is turang. Senina and turang are translatable into English as “brother” and “sister” only depending on Ego’s sex. In the Karo language one who has turang relations is called er-turang and who has senina relations is called er-senina.

A senina or turang, who is older than Ego is called kaka, and one who is younger than Ego is called agi. Kaka are divided into the following:

Kaka tua i.e. the eldest

Kaka tengah i.e. those between the eldest and the youngest, possibly more than one

Kaka nguda i.e. the youngest of all kaka

Notes: ∆ = male; О = female

A = child I; B = child II; C = child III; D = child IV

A and D = ersenina

B and C = ersenina

A to B and C = erturang

D to B and C = erturang

B to A and D = erturang

C to A and D = erturang

BCD are agi of A

BCA are kaka of D

A is kaka tua of D

B is kaka tengah of D

C is kaka tengah of D

The first child of the Ego is called anak sintua

The third child anak peduaken

The fourth child anak peteluken

The fourth child anak pempatken,

and so forth

Types of Ceremony

Karonese is one ethnic group that has various culture in their society life. Tarigan (2008 : 47) states that there are many types of ceremony in Karonese, such as: Enter new house (Masuki / Mengket rumah mbaru), Kerja Tahun or Merdang Merdem, Ngambat (Engaged to the son of father’s sister or the daughter of mother’s brother), Besur – Besuri (The party that make to pregnant woman in 7th month), Death Ceremony (Nurunken Kalak Mate), and Wedding ceremony.

Enter new house (Masuki / Mengket rumah mbaru)

Ope denga ibahan acara mengket rumah mbaru, maka arih lebe simada rumah nentuken belin kerja. Biasa i bahan kerja mengket rumah, ibas wari Aditia Naik, Beras Pati tah pe Cukera Dua Puluh. (Tarigan, 2008 : 56). Bentuk Kerja

    1. Sumalin Jabu, mengkah dapur (Kerja Singuda)

    2. Mengket Rumah Erkata Gendang (Kerja Sintengah)

    3. Ngerencit (Kerja Sintua)

The above quotation is translated as the following: before being this party, the owner of the house make discussion to determine when the party is done. It usually does at Karo days, they are wari Aditia Naik, Beras Pati Tah or Cukera Dua Puluh. The types of this party are:

  1. Sumalin Jabu or Kerja Singuda (Small party). It is only invite extended family.

  2. Mengket rumah erkata gendang or Kerja sintengah (Medium party). Many families invite to come to this party.

  3. Ngerencit or Kerja sintua (Biggest party). Many families, friends, neighbours and the others relation invite to come to this party until the house owner make tents outside their house.

Kerja Tahun or Merdang Merdem

Tarigan (2008:65) mengatakan bahwa Merdang Merdem dilaksanakan setiap tahun, seperti layaknya perayaan tahun baru / hari raya. Merdang Merdem ini merupakan ritus budaya peninggalan Hindu, yang dilaksanakan sebelum menanam padi tiba. Dalam ritus ini dibuat penyembahan-penyembahan agar padi yang ditanam dan memberikan hasil yang mencukupi kebutuhan. Setelah masuknya agama baru Kristen dan Islam, pelaksanaan merdang merdem telah bergeser nilai-nilai religinya dan telah mendapatkan penekanan sebagai hari raya untuk silahturahmi keluarga untuk dapat berkunjung setiap tahun.

Ngambat (Engaged to the son of father’s sister or the daughter of mother’s brother)

In fact, this Ngambat is done when they are children. It refers to engaged to the son of father’s sister (for girl) or the daughter of mother’s brother (for boy). Gist of this party, it has the goal so that the children can know families relationship further. But, most of Karonese people do this Ngambat party when their child is sick, so that their child has recovered from his / her illness. This party as if to give surprise to the mother who has sick child. Anak beru (child’s aunt) steal her nephew secretly without her mother knowledge. After her mother surprised and panic, her child return again to her mother. After it, they do Ngambat party.

Besur – Besuri (The party which is made for pregnant woman in 7th month)

It is obligatory to make Besur – Besuri party for pregnant woman after 7th month. The purpose of this party, so that the mother and a child she is carrying feel get full respect from many families. At long time ago, Karo peoples believe that Besur – Besuri party can make the child she is carrying easy to birth and her baby birth safely and healthy.

Death Ceremony (Nurunken Kalak Mate)

Jenis-jenis kematian

  1. Berdasarkan Usia

    1. Cawer Metua (anak sudah berkeluarga semua, umur lanjut, kalimbubu sudah ngembahken nakan)

    2. Tabah-tabah Galoh (anak sudah berkeluarga semua, usia belum lanjut)

    3. Mate Nguda (usia muda, anak belum semua berkeluarga)

  2. Berdasarkan Sebab / Keadaan Kematian, dibagi atas:

    1. Batara Guru (Mati dalam kandungan)

    2. Guru Batara / Sabutara (mati dalam kandungan dan kelamin belum dikenal)

    3. Bicara Guru (mati sesudah lahir)

    4. Lenga Ripen (mati belum bergigi)

    5. Mate enggo ripen (mati sesudah bergigi)

    6. Mate ndahi nini (mati anak perana / singuda-nguda)

    7. Mate kayat-kayaten (sakit-sakitan)

    8. Mate sada wari (tewas)

Nurunken Simate

Adapun acara untuk ‘nurunken’ (pesta penguburan) adalah sebagai berikut:

  1. Sirang-sirang

Pagi-pagi, anak rumah dan keluarga dekat membuat sirang-sirang

  1. Erpanger bas pas-pasen rumah

Pagi-pagi, janda / duda simate erpanger (berlangir) di tiras rumah, kemudian di osei (di kepala dipasang sertali tanpa topi-bulang atau tudung), dan di leher dikalungkan sertali (janda), rudangnya dibuat dari daun ndokum sumsum atau tumba laling.

  1. Tek-tek Ketang

Selesai berlangir diadakan acara tek-tek ketang, pisau tanggal-tanggal dipegang dengan tangan kiri, lalu ditek-teklah sebuah rotan.

  1. Gendang jumpa teroh

Selesai acara tek-tek ketang janda/duda berjalan menuju ture (beranda) rumah, sementara pada waktu yang sama, mayat diturunkan dari rumah. Pas dibawah ture, janda bertemu dengan mayat, lalu diadakan acara menari. Mayat lalu dikelilingi sebanyak empat kali, kemudian dibawa ke kesain.

  1. Narohken Simate Ku Pendonen

Selanjutnya, mayat diantar ke kuburan (pendonen). Untuk mengusung mayat, kalimbubu di arah kepala, anak beru di bagian kaki, dan senina di bagian tengah. Dahulu mayat diberhentikan sebanyak empat kali di jalan. Setiap berhenti, dikelilingi sebanyak empat kali. Apabila cawer metua, maka sepanjang jalan diamburi page. (Tarigan, 2008:47-52)

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