Negative expression in Chinese is a kind of strategic speech act. It has two purposes: one is to convey the speaker’s views and opinions more effectively and accurately, and the other is to manage the face of all participants in the Conflict Talk. In this study, after classifying negative expressions based on the classification method of Kasper, G. & C. Rover (2005), they were reclassified according to the characteristics of Chinese. Especially the indirect strategy for expressing negative opinions without using negative words is analyzed according to “face management”, “specific markers” and “specific sentence patterns”.
The regulatory indirect strategy of B2 which is specific markers-centered classification and B3 which is specific sentence-centered is generally associated with the function of protecting the listener’s face. However, the role of maintaining the speaker’s face and image and forming visualization is relatively weaker than that of C, so B2 and B3 can be regarded as the listener-centered expressions. The non-prescriptive indirect strategy of C which is focused on suggestibility can be seen as a useful expression for face management of listeners and speakers. In this paper, however, B2, B3, and C will be regarded as “negative expression for face management”.
The negative expression appeared in the analysis of the conversation has many indirect strategies which are suggestive and unconventional. In order to express the meaning of negation effectively, the strategies of [positive expression+negative opinion], [negative opinion borrowed from question form], [argument and explanation+negative opinion], [A negative opinion with a responsible request] are mainly used. These strategies relieve the psychological burden of the listener, save face, and reduce the aversion. Because speakers use these strategies in accordance with their own identities and status, they can maintain their face and image as well.