Chinese politeness is not about 'face': Evidence from the business world

Hinze, Carl G. (2012) Chinese politeness is not about 'face': Evidence from the business world. Journal of Politeness Research, 8 1: 11-27. doi:10.1515/JPLR.2012.002

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Author Hinze, Carl G.
Title Chinese politeness is not about 'face': Evidence from the business world
Journal name Journal of Politeness Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1612-5681
Publication date 2012-03-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1515/JPLR.2012.002
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 8
Issue 1
Start page 11
End page 27
Total pages 17
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publisher De Gruyter Mouton
Language eng
Abstract Through reviewing the historical development of the English term face and the Chinese terms mianzi and lian, and drawing upon examples of the use of the terms mianzi and lian in the business domain in mainland China and explanations of negotiations in which the author has been personally involved, this paper argues that mianzi and lian (and by reference 'face') are not sub-concepts lying essentially at the heart of Chinese politeness, but separate concepts which, while overlapping with politeness in some instances, frequently operate in ways which are entirely removed from any accepted notions of politeness. In this way, this paper claims that concern for mianzi and lian in Chinese business interaction is just as likely to engender acts of impoliteness as it is to link with examples of politeness, and concludes that the sooner we accept the disassociation between Chinese 'face' and politeness, the more we will find ourselves better placed to understand crucial nuances of cross-cultural interaction between Chinese and non-Chinese interactants.
Keyword Face
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online February 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
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