The Host's speech-act strategies on the ellen degeneres show in 2016

Hardianti Ningsih, F. X. Rahyono

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A host's skills to deliver an entertaining talk show is the result of a successful speech act strategy. As an interviewer, a host elicits information from her public figure guests. On the other hand, personal life is often a topic that potentially creates a face threatening situation for the guests. Therefore, a host has to be able to save a guest's face in public to keep the continuity of the talk and make sure the guest remains willing to respond to questions and give relevant information. This research aims to identify the speech act strategies used by the host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that succeed in gaining relevant information. Data processing is conducted through four stages. The first stage is the categorization of questions and answers based on the topic of the talks. The second stage is the identification of speech strategies used by the host and the guests' answers. Using Grice's Cooperative Principle, analysis is then conducted to find the compatibility between the questions and the desired information in the answers. Using Searle, both speeches from the host and the guests are identified based on whether they are a direct or indirect speech and the illocutionary force. The third stage is applying Brown and Levinson's politeness strategy on the host's questioning. The last stage is evaluating the compatibility between the host's questions and the guests' answers guided by Sperber and Wilson's relevance theory. Qualitative analysis reveals that the selection of speech act strategies is based on two major factors: the topic and each guest's personality. The host does not randomly determine the strategies, such as direct speech and indirect speech as well as the positive and negative politeness strategies. In fact, the host has the skills to navigate the choices and adjust the strategies spontaneously to suit the context of the talk and each guest's response. The analysis shows that different topics and guest personalities demand different speech act strategies. A guest's willingness to respond to a host's questions is proof enough of the host's skills in controlling the talk. Even though in reality a host always makes face-threatening statements, but if they are presented appropriately, the guests will remain comfortable to respond.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOn Language, Education, Politics, and Identity
Subtitle of host publicationA Cross-Linguistics Perspective
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781536193374
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2021


  • Cooperative principle
  • Politeness strategy
  • Relevance
  • Speech act
  • Talk show


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