- Politeness and characterisation
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- Understanding Politeness - Dimensions
From good manners to facework: Politeness variations and constants in France, from the classic age to today. Positive and negative face as descriptive categories in the history of English. Insults, violence, and the meaning of lytegian in the Old English Battle of Maldon. An evolutionary take on im politeness: Three broad developments in the marking out of socio-proxemic space. The crux of the matter is in the nature of im politeness, succinctly put in the apparent oxymoron: Politeness is not always polite!
The ways im politeness has been handled cross-historically can help us understand better why this seemingly universal characteristic of human behavior is so full of mysteries. The collection is a true treasure trove for politeness researchers and linguistic-anthropologically interested readers alike. Jacob L.
Politeness and characterisation
Mey , University of Southern Denmark. The book will be of interest to historical linguists, pragmatists, sociolinguists, anthropologists and other professionals interested in the topic of politeness, both as a first-order and second-order term, as well as to those working on impoliteness, ritual insults, and related topics. Ranging from prehistory to our own time and from England to China, the contributors go beyond the classic study of politeness by Brown and Levinson in their concern with both cultural variation and cultural change.
Peter Burke , University of Cambridge.
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No author info given Culpeper, Jonathan The influence of Italian manners on politeness in England, — Linguistics Pragmatics. Nineteenth-century English politeness: Negative politeness, conventional indirect requests and the rise of the individual self Jonathan Culpeper and Jane Demmen.
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- Understanding Politeness.
This book provides an overview of politeness. Politeness is a key means by which humans work out and maintain interpersonal relationships. Rather, it covers something much broader, encompassing all types of inter- personal behaviour through which we take into account the feelings of others as to how they think they should be treated in working out and maintaining our sense of personhood as well as our interpersonal relationships with others. However, while this book relies on this broad definition of politeness, in accordance with its title Understanding Politeness we propose that there are in fact often multiple different understandings of politeness at play in discourse.
Various different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives are necessitated, in turn, in order to tease out these multiple understandings of politeness. In this book we suggest that these various understandings offer different insights, which may at times be complementary, and so instead of singling out any one of these understandings, we aim to introduce a variety of them, with the aim of helping readers to make their way into this fascinating area.
Our aim, then, is to discuss these different understandings of politeness in a systematic and organised way, with our aim being to point out interconnections between various views on and perceptions of politeness. There is an important rationale behind authoring an overview of this field, as our aim is not just to summarise but also to provide an analytical framework by means of which one can successfully situate the analysis of politeness across time and space.
Politeness research has gone through several stages.
- Politeness theory.
- You Need To Know: High School;
- The Invention of Deconstruction.
Until the beginning of the twenty-first century, most politeness researchers attempted to systematise the analysis of polite- ness through different theoretical frameworks. However, critiques of these theories began very soon after they were first proposed, and since the s these critiques have been gaining steam to the point that to talk about a sci- entific or theoretical understanding of politeness without consideration of the understandings of the participants themselves, at least in some respect, seems simply out of step with the times.
Yet because of this, politeness research has been left in somewhat of a theoretical limbo. Indeed, although early theories of politeness are often claimed to be highly problematic, we have nevertheless sometimes unwittingly inherited many of the underlying assumptions of those first attempts at theorising politeness. And despite the numerous critiques no similar systematic account of politeness has yet been created to take their place.
It is therefore perhaps not surprising that politeness researchers often continue to employ these assumptions, either as is, or in some modified form. From the perspective of many, this lack of a systematic theoretical approach to politeness is under- standable and even acceptable. As Mills a argues, it is not a pre-evident objective that we need to systematically describe linguistic politeness, which is by its very nature diverse and contested, while Watts questions whether a theory of politeness is even possible.
And yet an account of politeness, espe- cially a book on politeness, cannot function without being able to determine what politeness involves, how it arises and how understandings of it can vary between individuals and across various social groups. We argue that if there is such a thing as politeness it goes beyond the bound- aries of language, and so an overview of how we can analyse politeness — like the one provided by this book — necessitates a multidisciplinary approach that goes beyond the boundaries of traditional linguistic pragmatics and sociolin- guistics, drawing also from insights into politeness that can be gained from work in semantics, corpus linguistics, historical linguistics and pragmatics, phonetics and phonology, conversation analysis and ethnomethodology, soci- ology, intercultural communication, cognitive science and psychology and so on and so forth.
This means we need to observe politeness as a social practice, and to bring together first-order language user and second-order language observer understandings of it. We also need to capture the pervasiveness of politeness, which is more often than not noted for its absence rather than for its presence. Developing an understanding of politeness as social practice reflects this fast-growing body of research, which offers more credible alternatives to the traditional politeness paradigm in two key ways.
First, it allows for a much more nuanced range of approaches and method- ologies to be drawn upon in furthering our understanding of politeness. We propose a framework that breaks down different ways of understanding politeness into distinct perspectives, and which should, therefore, be useful for those approaching the complex field of polite- ness for the first time.
These terms and the perspectives that they imply will be introduced in detail in Part I. Crucially, we do not place any inherent greater value on any one of these perspectives, but rather argue that all of these can in principle contribute to a holistic understanding of politeness. Second, it allows us to go beyond the traditional focus on linguistic mani- festations of politeness behaviour.
This broader focus is reflected in the wide range of data we use to illustrate and exemplify points in this book, which will include not only analy- ses of spoken face-to-face interaction, but also other modalities and modes, including various forms of computer-mediated communication CMC as well as different types of historical texts such as letters and invitation cards.
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In accordance with our claim that politeness is a social practice rather than a simple manifestation of language usage, we argue that politeness, as with any other practice, has to be described with reference to time and space. The concept of time underpins the claim that any understanding of politeness always arises relative to time, and so politeness in ongoing and historical inter- actions is necessarily interlinked. Our argument is that while politeness in inter- action involves an understanding in the here-and-now, this here-and-now can also be understood in the sense of a current moment of talk being constrained and afforded by prior and subsequent talk.
Furthermore, in many cases polite- ness does not come into existence simply through what is said in the moment, as many social actions and pragmatic meanings that are understood in locally situated contexts in fact follow pre-existing often formalised patterns. Finally, certain manifestations of politeness are historically situated, and so should be properly analysed in retrospection to trace how understandings of politeness in the here-and-now can never be totally divorced from understandings in the there and then.
The importance of time should not be underestimated because these different temporal occurrences of politeness necessitate different concep- tual and methodological approaches. For example, projecting an analysis of what took place diachronically from a synchronic perspective or vice-versa is problematic because such an approach may inadvertently decontextualise diachronic manifestations of politeness see Chapter 8.
The concept of space here refers specifically to social space, which operates with reference to time, given that there is no space without time. Space in our understanding refers to the relationship between the individual and the society in which he or she lives, and thus provides a suitable grounding for the analysis of politeness with reference to cognition and culture. A linguistic phenomenon like politeness is an example par excellence of a social phenomenon that emerges through the ongoing, interlinked interactions of individuals.
Just like language, then, we cannot trace politeness to any one single person or group of persons, but rather to the self-organising and emergent properties of the complex systems that form through ongoing interactions between persons over time and social space. To sum up, it is hoped that the framework we offer here for analysing the multiple understandings of politeness, which inevitably arise when politeness is understood as social practice, and the conceptual links to time and social space we are making in grounding the analysis of these practices, will provide a working model by means of which the reader can approach politeness in differ- ent languages and contexts, without falling into the trap of overgeneralising.
A treatment of politeness as arising from particular behaviours or linguistic forms can lead to overgeneralisations and even stereotyping. Approaching politeness as social practice, on the other hand, means that politeness can be systematically theorised and analysed within a wider research framework.
Understanding Politeness - Dimensions
Most importantly, we are primarily focused here on politeness. It can be observed that since the s politeness researchers have increas- ingly recognised the importance of studying both politeness and impoliteness, and various frameworks for example, Culpeper a have been exclusively devoted to the latter area. It has even been suggested that they require distinct theoretical frameworks. However, we are doubtful that it is really possible, in the final analysis, to talk about impoliteness without implicitly invoking polite- nesss, and vice-versa.
For that reason, while much of our discussion focuses on instances where politeness is involved, we nevertheless draw from data that also include impoliteness phenomena. Indeed, in many instances the two are intertwined to the point that it makes little sense to rigidly separate them.