Revisiting the conceptualisation of politeness in English and Japanese

Haugh, M. B. (2004) Revisiting the conceptualisation of politeness in English and Japanese. Multilingua, 23 1/2: 85-109. doi:10.1515/mult.2004.009

Author Haugh, M. B.
Title Revisiting the conceptualisation of politeness in English and Japanese
Journal name Multilingua   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0167-8507
Publication date 2004-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1515/mult.2004.009
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 23
Issue 1/2
Start page 85
End page 109
Total pages 25
Editor R. J. Watts
D. Galasinski et al
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publisher Mouton de Gruyter
Collection year 2004
Language eng
Subject C1
420113 Japanese
751001 Languages and literature
2003 Language Studies
Abstract The issue of what in fact constitutes politeness remains a source of considerable debate amongst researchers. There is mounting evidence that although there may be common underlying elements, politeness is conceptualised differently across cultures. A comparison of the notions of politeness in English and teinei, reigi tadashii and keii hyoogen in Japanese indicates that these respective terms encompass somewhat different conceptual ranges. Politeness in English refers to showing consideration for others and demonstrating a polished self-presentation. In Japanese, on the other hand, it encompasses showing respect (with a strong nuance of vertical respect involved) and consideration towards the position and quality of character of others, and modesty about oneself While politeness in both English and Japanese involves showing one thinks well of others (other-oriented politeness) and showing one does not think too highly of oneself (self-oriented politeness), differences in the underlying conceptualisation of politeness give rise to different ways of expressing politeness. It is thus difficult to maintain the assumption that politeness can be defined in the same way across different cultures, although this does not necessarily preclude the identification of common elements of politeness across cultures. © Walter de Gruyter.
Keyword Japanese language
English language
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2005 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 04:00:07 EST