Politeness strategies in different varieties of English

Rehana Mubarak
2015 unpublished
For professionals involved in transcultural communication and translation, the expression and understanding of speech acts becomes increasingly difficult due to the increasing heterogeneity of users of English. This also applies to politeness as one pragmatic aspect. On the one hand, the concept, realization and perception of politeness are highly subjective, on the other hand, polite communication in English across different cultures and metacommunication about politeness are possible. This
more » ... sis argues that this is possible because of the translatability of politeness, based on Cooke's evolutionary theory of translation, aspects of Constructive Realism, and perspectives of functional translation theories (including Skopos Theory). Furthermore, the thesis claims that politeness is nevertheless lingua-culturally embedded and shaped, and that human beings with similar lingua-cultural biographies are inclined to share patterns of perceiving and realizing politeness. To assess this hypothesis an empirical study is performed. The study focusses on the de- and encoding of modality in requests in the communication between customer-support staff members and customers. The first part of the study consists of a survey incorporating optional discourse completion and simulating fictitious situations, and the second part of the study analyzes messages exchanged between customers and customer support accounts on the social networking platform Twitter. The results of the study show that the second hypothesis can only partially be corroborated. The patterns of de- and encoding modality are in some cases shared within a lingua-cultural group and distinctive for this group, but in many cases certain patterns of de- and encoding modality are shared across different lingua-cultural group. This could be interpreted as an indicator for homogenization processes due to mass media, cyberspace, and communication technology, or already existing subtle translation processes leading to a newly negotiated communication culture. In order to [...]
doi:10.25365/thesis.39453 fatcat:mfvb7nuu45e5njoddp4d3h2jye