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Politeness in East Asia by Daniel Z. Kadar


Politeness in East Asia by Daniel Z. Kadar

We use politeness every day when interacting with other people. Yet politeness is an impressively complex linguistic process, and studying it can tell us a lot about the social and cultural values of social groups or even a whole society, helping us to understand how humans 'encode' states of mind in their words. The traditional, stereotypical view is that people in East Asian cultures are indirect, deferential and extremely polite - sometimes more polite than seems necessary. This revealing book takes a fresh look at the phenomenon, showing that the situation is far more complex than these stereotypes would suggest. Taking examples from Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and Singaporean Chinese, it shows how politeness differs across countries, but also across social groups and subgroups. This book is essential reading for those interested in intercultural communication, linguistics and East Asian languages.


'... avoids restrictive stereotypes and glib assumptions, productively complicating and extending our understanding of East Asian politeness and impoliteness.'
Robert B. Arundale, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

'... a fundamental milestone and an overdue change of direction, this collection will doubtless become one of the 21st century's reference works for politeness research.'
Dr Derek Bousfield, University of Central Lancashire

About the Author

Daniel Z. Kadar is Research Fellow in the Department of Oriental Studies, Research Institute for Linguistics at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He has published in the areas of politeness research and East Asian studies, and his most recent publications include Terms of (Im)politeness (2007), Politeness across Cultures (with Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini, forthcoming), Historical and Contemporary Chinese Politeness (with Yuling Pan, forthcoming) and Politeness in China and Japan (with Michael Haugh, forthcoming). Sara Mills is Research Professor in Linguistics at Sheffield Hallam University. She has published in the field of feminist linguistics and politeness research and also in postcolonial feminist theory. Her most recent publications are Language and Sexism (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Gender and Colonial Space (2004), Gender and Politeness (Cambridge University Press, 2003), Discourse (2000) and Michel Foucault (2002).

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Book Info

Publication date

8th September 2011


Daniel Z. Kadar

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Cambridge University Press


330 pages


Communication studies
Cultural studies



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