Politeness in english - Essay Example

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An Analysis of Politeness and Its Development in the English Language Name University Politeness in English The history of politeness in the English language is seen to be long and of a checkered nature. Politeness in the English language has adopted a number of varying forms from its Anglo-Saxon England politeness to the form of politeness that the language has currently adopted…
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Download file to see previous pages 157). The key assumption of this definition is that social friction is generally undesirable and there are several behavioral modes that have historically been gradually developed and can be adequately categorized as being polite. It is believed that if these behavioral modes are adequately applied in society, they will have the result of either preventing friction or at least minimizing its occurrence. Another definition of politeness defines it as being a strategic avoidance of any possible conflict (Watts, 2003, p. 50). Although this definition can be perceived as being concrete, a closer examination of the definition shows that politeness is something that we tend to use rationally and consciously with the sole intent of avoiding conflict.Another proposed definition of politeness defines it as being one of the various constraints of human interaction that is primarily used to aid in the promotion of rapport, the consideration of other’s feelings and the establishment of mutual comfort (Locher, 2004, p. 76). This definition of politeness equates politeness with a general constraint on human interaction that mainly involves a social injunction preventing one form doing the opposite (Bax and Ka?da?r 106-107). Defining politeness as being either a constraint or a set of various constraints is seen to conveniently help lead us away from any form of objectivist approach to politeness. This is mainly due to the nature of constraints that requires people to learn them on an individual basis through their social interactions and practice. Although researchers can be able to observe the various instances of emergent social practice, they are however unable to adequately observe the constraint itself (Bax and Ka?da?r 106-107). Politeness is found to be a common word that is frequently in everyday use in the English language and has various translations in different languages such as politesse in French and beleefdheid in Dutch. The tem is found to be particularly established in most scholarly works on pragmatics and linguistics. As is common with most everyday English expressions, politeness is found to be rather fuzzy and hence its susceptibility to having multiple variations based on personal, historical and social differences. It is common for such common terms to often have wider applications than technical terms in the language and there is a tendency for uncertainty to arise in the event that the two happen to be confused. Technical terms are found to often be not everyday expressions and as such have more a generally more specific denotation. This makes it important to clearly distinguish between the basically technical term “politeness” and the more everyday notion that the term is put to use(Gotti, Dossena&Dury, 2008, p. 5). An analysis of the term politeness as it is used in these contexts can be perceived to be a very worthwhile research both historically and in the different varieties of PDE. This can have the benefit of providing an ethnographic view of how the different speakers of the English language talk about politeness and the semantics of the word politeness or polite at several different points in the history of the English language (Gotti, Dossena&Dury, 2008, p. 5). Politeness in the English Language The distinction existing between negative and positive politeness that was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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