Grounded in naturally-occurring language data and drawing on findings from linguistic pragmatics and social psychology, Jonathan Culpeper. Politeness and Impoliteness Jonathan Culpeper (Lancaster University) 1. Introduction Thirty or so years ago politeness was a specialist, even somewhat. Impoliteness strategies. Jonathan Culpeper. Uploaded by. Jonathan Culpeper. Loading Preview. Sorry, preview is currently unavailable. You can download the .
|Published (Last):||9 April 2015|
|PDF File Size:||6.56 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||10.12 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Impoliteness strategies | Jonathan Culpeper –
Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. A final draft of: Culpeper, Jonathan Politeness and impoliteness. Karin Aijmer and Gisle Andersen eds. Jucker and Klaus P. Mouton de Gruyter, This is the final draft submitted, but it may have very minor errors and infelicities. Introduction Thirty or so years ago politeness was a specialist, even somewhat esoteric topic, primarily located in pragmatics. Indeed, Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson’s book — the book that was to become so central to the area — was in fact bundled with another piece on questions and published as part of a collection edited by Esther Goody.
Today, seven of the most cited articles published by the Journal of Pragmatics involve politeness or impoliteness, according to the publisher’s website. Furthermore, the field now has its own dedicated journal: The surge in politeness studies has had profound effects on the study of pragmatics.
Moreover, the multidisciplinary nature of politeness studies, something which undoubtedly has contributed to its popularity, has been strengthened. Although the conceptual heart of the field is still located in pragmatics, models of politeness have been applied and sometimes refined in diverse disciplines, including psychology especially social psychologyanthropology, sociology, cultural studies, literary studies and behavioural organisation.
Section 2 immediately following is devoted to politeness and is the largest section in this chapter. After some consideration of definitions of politeness in section 2.
The first, in section 2. What is articulated here is generally a more pragmatic view of politeness. The second, in section 2. What is impolitenesz here is generally a more socio-cultural view of politeness a few alternative models also attend to core aspects of pragmatic theory in their proposals. Section 3 of this chapter focuses more closely on the new burgeoning subfield of impoliteness.
And finally, the concluding section of this chapter returns to the definition of politeness and suggests what might be referred to as the attitudinal view of politeness.
For somebody who has been invited to dinner in England, politeness might include remembering to use please when you want something passed, complimenting the cook on the food and definitely not burping.
Each of these three things involves complexities that work on politeness attempts to account for. But how is it actually used by adults?
It matters how the rest of the request is worded: Differences in situation would influence whether you use the word please. Please tends to be used in relatively formal situations, and in business letters and written notices.
It is particularly frequent in service encounters, notably telephone service encounters.
So, if the dinner were a formal invitation, please would more likely be used. Complimenting the cook on the food may seem a straightforwardly nice thing to do, but it is not: If they simply accept the compliment, they may sound rather immodest, but if they simply reject it, they may offend the person who made it. Consequently, responses to compliments tend to weave a path between these two positions. Finally, even burping cannot always with certainty be seen as the antithesis of politeness.
Cultural considerations clearly come into play here. In some cultures e. Culture also keenly influences all aspects of politeness. The use of the word please is more typical of British culture than North American, being used about twice as frequently Biber et al. This is not to say that American culture is less polite.
There are other ways of doing politeness, and those other ways might be evaluated as polite by North Americans, just as using please in certain contexts might be impoliteneas as polite by British English people. Im politeness is in the eyes and ears of the beholder. What exactly is politeness? This is one of the most intractable questions in the field, to which a multitude of answers have been proposed.
Let us survey some of those definitions and approaches. The classic, and most frequently cited, politeness studies culpeeper heavily towards a pragmatic view of politeness. Specifically, these studies have concentrated on how we employ communicative strategies to maintain or promote social harmony: Brown and Levinson Thomas summarises the research agenda of scholars like the above engaged in the study of pragmatic politeness: The socio-cultural view of politeness emphasises the social context.
More specifically, the emphasis is on either or imoliteness often both social norms or the constructions of participants i. Regarding social norms, this view of politeness is neatly summed up by Fraser Briefly stated, [the socio-cultural view] assumes that each society has a particular set of social norms consisting of more or less explicit rules that prescribe a certain behavior, a state of affairs, or a way of thinking in context. For example, parents teaching their children to say please typically proscribe requests that are not accompanied by that word.
Note that social norms are sensitive to context: Often, such situations are characterised by a huge power imbalance, as might be the case in army recruit training.
But not necessarily so: Regarding the cilpeper of participants, let us turn to Richard Watts, whose work on politeness, spanning more than two decades, culminated in his book, the most important work on politeness in recent years. We take first-order politeness to correspond to the various ways in which polite behaviour is perceived and talked about by members of socio-cultural groups. It encompasses, in other words, commonsense notions of politeness.
Second-order politeness, on the other hand, is a theoretical construct, a term within a theory of social behaviour and language usage.
A theory of politeness2 should concern itself with the discursive struggle over politeness, i. What Watts refers to as second-order politeness or politeness2 is the stuff of the pragmatic view previously mentioned, or what in this chapter constitutes the first wave of politeness research.
What he refers to as first-order politeness or politeness1which constitutes the second wave, is like the social norm view of politeness in that it connects with “commonsense notions of politeness”, but it is more specific in that it argues that politeness exists in the articulations of lay members and not researchers.
One problem with approaching politeness in this way is that researchers are reticent to define politeness precisely, because we are to be guided by the definitions of participants. But one may wonder how we are to recognise a participant’s definition of politeness as such, if we have nothing to guide us. In fact, Watts These different definitions of politeness have largely evolved as a consequence of different agendas.
The starting point of pragmatics is primarily in language: The basic question is: What did s mean [to convey] by saying X?. And once interaction has started we monitor how participants impolitemess constructing and orienting to politeness and adjust our pragmatic choices accordingly.
Meanings, including understandings of politeness, thus emerge in the flux of social interaction. I will return to these definitional issues in the final section of this chapter, but first let us survey the various approaches to politeness in more detail. The classic theories of politeness draw, as one might guess, on the classic pragmatic theories, implliteness, Conversational Implicature e. Grice and Speech Act Theory e. Austin ; Searle The bulk of the work in politeness studies has been based on or related to Brown and Levinson Before attending to that, I will outline an alternative theory.
Maxim-based politeness Robin Lakoff was the first to posit a maxim-based view of politeness. In brief, she proposes that there are two rules of pragmatic competence, one being ‘be clear’, which is formalised in terms of Grice’s Cooperative Principle, and the other being ‘be polite’, which is formalised in terms of a Politeness Principle.
The latter Politeness Principle consists of the following maxims: Lakoff notes that sometimes the need for clarity would clash with the need for politeness, as later would also Leech e. But unlike Leech e. There are indeed many occasions in which conveying a potentially offensive message implicitly is a means of upholding politeness.
However, we must be careful not to assume that implicitness or indirectness always conveys politeness. For example, the utterance ‘you must have shit for brains’ is more likely an implicit way of conveying impoliteness. Leech a is a much more developed maxim-based approach to politeness. In fact, it lends the Cooperative Principle much explanatory power: Let us illustrate culpeepr this might work with an example from a play this is analysed in Leech Great flow of spirits, sir.
Only his joke, sir, his favourite joke. Yesterday I was to be his father However, in order to avoid upset i. Note that the Politeness Principle is not confined to dealing with impolite beliefs. The Politeness Principle consists of the following maxims: Leech states that tact will be influenced by the following social parameters i the greater the cost A to h, ii the greater the horizontal social distance of h from s, iii the greater the authoritative status of h with respect to s, iv the greater will be the need for optionality, and correspondingly for indirectness, in the expression of an impositive, if s is to observe the Tact Maxim.
Leech is careful not to claim that these maxims apply universally to all cultures, but instead suggests that the Politeness Principle maxims may be weighted differently in different cultures a: For imppoliteness, the Tact Maxim might be a strong feature of some British cultures, Modesty of some Culpeped cultures and Generosity of some Mediterranean cultures.