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Politeness in Ecuadorian Spanish

Placencia, Maria Elena (1996) Politeness in Ecuadorian Spanish. Multilingua - Journal of Cross-cultural and Interlanguage Communication 15 (1), pp. 13-34. ISSN 1613-3684.

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This paper examines politeness phenomena in Ecuadorian Spanish as reflected in the language of telephone conversations, and, as such, attempts to add another cultural perspective to the discussion of politeness issues and of Brown and Levinson's (1978, 1987) much criticized theory, in particular. It highlights some of the difficulties involved in the application of Brown and Levinson's theory to actual conversational data in Ecuadorian Spanish, such as the frequent occurrence of embeddedness, which brings into question their notions of positive and negative politeness strategies as clear-cut categories, and the lack of one-to-one correspondence between certain forms and their politeness value, which poses problems for generalizations. It also explores the motivations behind participants' use of certain strategies and brings into question Brown and Brown and Levinson's notion of face. In addition, it considers some features of politeness at the macro-speech level (cf. van Dijk, 1977, 1980), which Brown and Levinson do not seem to take into account. Finally, it suggests that it might be fruitful to seek explanations for some aspects of linguistic politeness in fields that deal with social behavior and patterns of social interaction (e.g. social psychology and social anthropology). It nevertheless also suggests that to arrive at a more adequate characterization and understanding of politeness phenomena in Ecuadorian Spanish, it might be useful to examine some aspects of its history and the development of what today constitute its key social institutions.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): politeness, Ecuadorian Spanish, Andean Spanish, telephone conversations, overall organization of conversation, openings
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > Cultures and Languages
Depositing User: Maria Placencia
Date Deposited: 03 May 2012 13:59
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2014 10:55

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