Politeness in Europe Edited by: Leo Hickey, Miranda Stewart

Ebook(PDF) - 352 pages
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30 Mar 2005
Multilingual Matters
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148

Key features

- Study of linguistic politeness has undergone an explosion of interest since the late 1980s

- Contributes to the development of politeness theory and theories

- Provides a broad picture of politeness across 22 European countries

- Each chapter gives an empirical snapshot of the issues and practices in its society


The study of politeness has undergone an explosion of interest since the late 1980s, involving an examination of language and languages in many societies. The present volume aims to contribute to current knowledge and understanding of the subject by giving a broad picture of politeness across twenty-two European countries, addressing the essential debates at the heart of politeness studies. Each chapter attempts to provide an empirical snapshot, based on sound theoretical principles, of the issues and practices in its own society. 

Some of the contributors engage directly with critical thinking on politeness theory, using data from their languages and cultures to advance theoretical frameworks, while others highlight the forms politeness takes in particular cultural contexts, analysing how individuals interact with each other in ways intended to achieve their communicative goals.

The volume treats questions such as whether a given society favours positive politeness or negative politeness, the use of formal or informal pronouns of address, small-talk, conventional politeness formulas and how politeness practices change over time.


This volume offers a rich cross-linguistic source of references for individuals interested in the study of politeness. The breadth and depth of the contributions to this volume make this collection a valuable resource to anyone concerned with how politeness is realized cross-linguistically.

- Sarah Jourdain, Stony Brook University, in The Modern Language Journal 91 (2007)

This collection of 22 articles on politeness in Europe provides an important contribution to the growing number of empirical studies and theoretical debates in the field of politeness studies. The volume succeeds in providing a fascinating empirical snapshot and synthesis of linguistic politeness across European contexts and in different discourse settings.

- Helen Woodfield, University of Bristol, in Journal of Politeness Research 2-2, 2006

Politeness in Europe offers a timely and unprecedented collection of twenty-two chapters on politeness in Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Europe by some of the most prominent scholars in the field. The chapters draw equally from mainstream politeness theories and alternative formulations of politeness theories, thus offering a broadly inclusive picture of the research field. The book will be of great value to both politeness specialists and linguists in general.

- Dr Rosina Marquez Reiter, University of Surrey

This truly unique work is a must-have for anyone involved in politeness research for at least three reasons: it provides a never before attempted overview of European politeness practices; it charts the terrain of European politeness research; and through the juxtaposition of viewpoints informed by the socio-political and historical particularities of distinct languages and countries, lays the foundations for a more integrated understanding of politeness.

- Gino Eelen

The uniqueness of focus of each chapter increases rather than decreases the interest of the volume, which should appeal to scholars in cross-cultural pragmatics, anthropology, second-language acquisition and language teaching, as well as to scholars of politeness.

- Susan Burt, Linguistlist 16.2998.

Author Biography:

Leo Hickey is a Research Professor at the University of Salford, where he was Professor of Spanish for several years. His work centres mainly on Spanish linguistics, stylistics, pragmatics and translation theory. Miranda Stewart is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Strathclyde. Her interests include interactional pragmatics and the negotiation of face in dialogue interpreting.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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