Formal and Informal Russian Invitation: Context and Politeness Strategies

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Abstract


Invitation is a speech act which is perceived differently across cultures. Understanding the pragmatics of invitation requires knowledge of the notion of politeness and politeness strategies which comprise culture specific elements. Politeness is realized in various discourses, social contexts and speech acts. The purpose of the study is to identify politeness strategies in Russian invitation in formal and informal contexts in three age groups and see how they correspond to the understanding of politeness in Russian communicative culture. The empirical data for the study were obtained through discourse completion tests with 101 participants (issuers of the invitation) of different age and social status as well as through ethnographic observation. The research is based on Discourse Analysis and Politeness Theory (Brown & Levinson 1987; Larina2009, 2015; Locher 2006, 2013; Leech 2014; Mills 2003, 2017; Sifianou 1992; Terkourafi &Kadar 2017; Watts 2003, among others). We used discourse analysis to analyze the impact of the social and cultural context on the performance of invitation, the descriptive method which was used to analyze the pragmatic functions of invitation, as well as contextual interpretation of this speech act and the method of quantitative data processing. The study revealed some differences between a formal and informal invitation concerning politeness strategies and linguistic means of its expression. It also showed that in Russian culture issuing an invitation is not perceived as a face threatening speech act; in the analysed social contexts the preference is given to direct invitation, and the inviter’s imposition, as a rule, is perceived positively. The results contribute to a better understanding of Russian politeness and communicative style and can be implemented in intercultural pragmatics, intercultural communication and SL teaching.

About the authors

Gayane Rubenovna Vlasyan

Chelyabinsk State University

Email: VlasyanGR@yandex.ru
129 Brat'yev Kashirinykh st.454001, Chelyabinsk, Russia
PhD in Linguistics, Chair of the Department of Theory and Practice of the English Language at Chelyabinsk State University

Irina Vladimirovna Kozhukhova

Chelyabinsk State University

Email: vinantov@mail.ru
129 Brat'yev Kashirinykh st.454001, Chelyabinsk, Russia
PhD in Linguistics, Associate Professor at Chelyabinsk State University

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