Vol 27, No 1 (2023): Identity, Politeness and Discursive Practices in a Changing World


Identity, politeness and discursive practices in a changing world

Eslami Z.R., Larina T.V., Pashmforoosh R.


This special issue continues the discussion of the impact of culture on identity, communication, politeness, and discourse strategies (see Russian Journal of Linguistics 22 (4) 2018, 23 (4) 2019, 24 (2) 2020). The topic has become particularly relevant in the context of two multidirectional processes, i.e., globalization resulting from current geopolitical trends and technological advancements, which have encouraged the intensification of contacts between people, languages, and cultures; and deglobalization focused on the preservation of national cultures and development of a multipolar and multicultural world. In our introductory article, we attempt to trace the impact of communication technologies, language, and culture contacts on digital, face-to-face, and public communication in different settings and discourses and outline its influence on communication, language variation, and change. In this introductory article we present a summary of the contributions of our authors to the issue, which showed that the implications of globalization and language contact are multifaceted, they can have both positive and negative effects on language use, maintenance, and change, as well as on cultural identity and diversity. Pursuing these latter factors contributes to developing trends of deglobalization. Our authors invite the reader to reflect on these processes. In conclusion, we sum up their major findings and suggest a brief avenue for further research.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):7-38
pages 7-38 views

Politeness and impoliteness in social network service communication in Korea

Rhee S.


With the technological benefits and challenges computer-mediated communication provides, interactants in social network service (SNS) communication are driven to use language creatively, overcoming the disadvantages and exploiting advantages. This creative language use leads to innovative language change that often extends beyond SNS environments. In this regard, the medium is not merely a restrictive but also a facilitative factor. Communicative acts are fundamentally bound by the interactants’ desire to express politeness, especially in face-threatening acts, well articulated in Brown and Levinson’s (1987) model. In recent research, however, the issues of the norms of politeness and impoliteness as well as those of appropriateness have been highlighted (Locher & Watts 2005, Locher & Bousfield 2008). Interactants employ not only mitigating strategies to alleviate face-threatening but also use impoliteness strategies, which are often disguised politeness. Drawing upon the data from a 26-million-word corpus of synchronous SNS communication, involving two or more participants, in 3,836 instances, developed by the National Institute of the Korean Language, this paper addresses how SNS interactants make use of diverse elements of language to show their polite and impolite stances in interpersonal negotiation. For instance, interactants use fragments, interjections, letter-based ideophones and emoticons, exaggerated punctuations for emotiveness, omission of regular punctuation marks, intentional violation of orthographic rules, prolific slang expressions, deviated spelling to create cuteness or intimacy, among numerous others. All these creative strategies lead to language change at lexical, grammatical and discourse levels.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):39-66
pages 39-66 views

Politeness markers in emails of non-native English speaking university students

Alemi M., Maleknia Z.


The use of computer-mediated communication including emails has become pervasive in academic contexts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What seems to be significant but simply overlooked by students is meeting politeness netiquettes while sending emails. To this end, the current study investigated the extent to which non-native English speaking university students adjust the level of politeness in their response emails written in English to that of the emails received from an American professor. To collect data, four versions of an academic email message with different levels of politeness were prepared in advance. The emails either included or excluded verbal and structural politeness markers and asked for the participants’ demographic information and their reason for participation in the study. Then, 73 university students enrolled in a general English course were selected and divided randomly into four groups each of which received one version of the email message from the professor. The results of the data analysis on the participants’ response emails, based on accommodation theory (Giles 1973) as a theoretical framework, revealed that they did not accommodate either verbal or structural politeness cues in emails. Besides, the participants’ knowledge of the politeness etiquettes in the academic email genre seemed inadequate. Finally, the article provides some pedagogical implications for course designers, materials developers, and instructors to devise some plans to raise students’ awareness of email politeness etiquettes and for students to be aware of the significance of meeting politeness principles in their academic emails.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):67-87
pages 67-87 views

Perception of impoliteness in refusal and response to it by native speakers of English and Persian

Tajeddin Z., Rassaei Moqadam H.


Impoliteness entails the employment of strategies oriented toward attacking face and bringing about social disruption. Although research on impoliteness has received great attention in the past two decades, how impolite utterances are perceived and what the recipients of impoliteness do in return has remained relatively under-addressed. The current study set out to examine native English and Persian speakers’ perceptions of and response to impoliteness in the production of the speech act of refusal. To this end, 90 native English speakers and 120 native Persian speakers were administered a written discourse completion task containing eight refusals that either observed politeness or contained various degrees of impoliteness. The results showed that native Persian speakers did not perceive any of the refusals to be impolite whereas three of the refusals were considered impolite by native English speakers. When reacting to impoliteness in refusals, native English speakers exploited a wider range of strategies than did Persian speakers. The results showed that social distance and power relations were of more significance for Persian speakers than for English speakers in perceiving the degree of impoliteness; however, in responding to an utterance perceived as impolite, English speakers were more likely to adopt offensive strategies to counter impoliteness, including positive and negative impoliteness strategies. These findings indicate both cross-cultural divergence and convergence in the perception of impoliteness and responses to impoliteness.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):88-110
pages 88-110 views

The speech act of compliment in student-teacher interaction: A case study of Emirati university students’ attitudes

Deveci T., Midraj J., El-Sokkary W.S.


For effective communication, interlocutors must be cognizant of lingua-cultural aspects in context-dependent situations. Among others, they include culturally and linguistically diverse university settings where students are tempted to complain about grades to teachers and request grade changes. To reduce the negative impact of these speech acts, students may resort to compliments whose utilization varies from culture to culture. This study investigated the attitudes of 146 undergraduate Emirati students towards complimenting an instructor from a different lingua-cultural background before negotiating a grade at a university in the United Arab Emirates that uses English as the medium of instruction. Data were collected using a survey and a discourse completion task. Results show that 49% of the respondents thought that it would be appropriate to use a compliment prior to a complaint about a grade or a request for regrading. Students primarily complimented their teacher’s teaching skills and effort in teaching. The syntactic structures of their compliments mainly included You+V+NP (You+Verb+Noun Phrase). Results highlight the significance of considering interlocutors’ lingua-cultural backgrounds and the potential impacts of an ulterior motive behind a compliment in deciding whether or not to produce one. If it is used, topics (i.e., what is complimented upon) to include in the compliment must be chosen delicately, considering the cross-cultural nature of the context and social status of the interlocutors.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):111-133
pages 111-133 views

The meaning of welcome. Positive migration discourse

Ponton D.M.


Human e/migration across the Mediterranean increased significantly in the first part of the 21st century. At the mercy of people smugglers, migrants who succeed in crossing the seas face uncertain futures in Europe. Such immigration is at the heart of political debate in Europe, where right-wing populist parties have made significant gains because of their opposition to it. These parties tend to view human migration as a negative phenomenon, using familiar and by now even clichéd cultural and socio-political arguments against it. This study explores some of these discursive tropes. Rather than following studies that use a critical discourse paradigm, the paper’s main aim is to identify positive discourse and practice that might represent models for future behaviour in this context. It focuses on a discussion on recent migration involving Italy and, by applying tools of pragmatic analysis, united to knowledge of the socio-political background, traces some underlying trends in migrant reception. The data analysed were gathered by interviewing an Italian mayor who has attracted hostility from right-wing media for his novel approach to migrants, whose needs are met by finding them a place in the local social context. Findings suggest that, in certain circumstances, the migratory phenomenon may benefit not just the subjects involved but also the places concerned. The study thus foregrounds the degree to which welcoming the cultural other counters social discourses that currently appear triumphant in mainstream media and electoral processes.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):134-151
pages 134-151 views

A corpus-based approach to corporate communication research

Malyuga E.N.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a decisive reputation tool for companies and as such, a key concept in corporate communication as a phenomenon of intercultural and global significance. This has warranted a comprehensive examination of the language of CSR reports reflecting the principles of the corporate culture. Studies exploring the narratives of CSR reporting currently lack insights into the distribution of meaningful priorities evidenced in language use. This study sets out to explore the linguistic environment of the most frequently occurring language tokens to identify recurrent language patterns used to ensure efficient CSR reporting, and to further establish priority directions in CSR narrative composition evidenced in language use. A corpus-based approach and contextual analysis were adopted to examine CSR reports issued by Microsoft over the last seven years and recognised as an example of best practices in the corporate field. The corpus was compiled using the Prime Machine corpus concordancer tool and comprised 99,176 tokens. Following the study results, the study makes a number of inferences regarding the use of pronouns, “Microsoft + a verb denoting positive action”, “more + than,” “more + adjective”, “Corporate” as part of compound terminological units, as well as a set of key tokens encountered within a descriptive linguistic environment with positive connotation. This, in turn, proved helpful in identifying the hierarchy of priorities distribution revealed in the course of material analysis. The results contribute to a systemic appreciation of corporate language policies facilitating efficient stakeholder communication and can be used in further research investigating related matters of scientific interest.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):152-172
pages 152-172 views

Transgressive Russianness: Claiming authenticity in the Russian woman assemblage

Gritsenko E.S., Laletina A.O.


The question of sociolinguistic authenticity has been widely researched with reference to authentic linguistic production and authentic language users. Globalization and intense language contacts have brought increased attention to the question of authenticity as it applies to what linguistic and cultural production is considered authentic and what facets of linguistic and cultural production are most salient to authenticity. The study examines the notion of authenticity in relation to the linguistic presentation of Russian womanhood by the Tajik-Russian singer Manizha in her song Russian woman . We aim to show how linguistic and cultural transgression underlying her performance prompted contestable interpretations and opened up the evaluative divide among the audience. Using Pennycook’s semiotics of transignification (Pennycook 2007), we analyze the performance at different levels (pretextual history, contextual relations, subtextual and intertextual meanings, and post-textual interpretations). We juxtapose the song, the singer’s post-performance interviews, and the viewers’ online comments in order to reveal the authenticating and deauthenticating discourses of gender and ethnicity. We have identified the opposing conceptions of Russian womanhood in the performance, both of which can be deemed authentic or inauthentic. We argue that authentication and deauthentication of this textual assemblage are driven by different ideologies and often depend on a single textual level or element. Moreover, authenticity may be recontextualized and renegotiated through discourse. The study highlights the co-existence of multiple and competing authenticies within a single multimodal performance and demonstrates how semiotics of transignification may be used to un-cover these competing ideological orientations.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):173-193
pages 173-193 views

Kinship terms variation among speakers of Bahmaie dialect in Khuzestan Province of Iran

Tazik K., Aliakbari M.


Language indicates the social and cultural identity of the nations, and literature is of great value in reflecting ideas, beliefs and visions in language. Considering the fact that the local dialects that lack written literature are more subject to convergence and death, extensive research is required for further documentation and investigating the factors leading to their infrequency of use. Bahmaie, a variant of Luri dialect spoken in the southwest of Iran, is an example in which the stylistic variation of kinship terms represents dialect endangerment and necessitates in-depth analysis of the factors affecting this variation. The present study aims at examining the variation of Bahmaie kinship terms and their Persian equivalents across different contexts, with respect to age, gender, educational level, and third person presence. To this aim, a 32item questionnaire was designed and distributed among 275 Bahmaie speakers divided into four age groups: 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, and 40 - above. The findings of the study indicated that the 15-19 age group speakers favored the Persian terms while those aged 40 - above were more likely to use Bahmaie terms. They also showed the impact of other contextual characteristics on variation of kinship terms (interlocutors’ status, gender, educational level, and third person presence). Results further demonstrated that Bahmaie speakers have a tendency towards being persified, and this trend is more pronounced among young speakers. This tendency is attributed to the dominance of Persian as the only high-status language, language contact, and migration causing a generation gap. The implication of the research is that documenting Bahmaie dialect, encouraging educated speakers to use it and fostering intra-cultural communication, are the strategies that can be helpful in keeping this dialect alive.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):194-215
pages 194-215 views

Translingualism and intercultural narratives in Kiana Davenport’s “House of Many Gods”

Galaktionov S.S., Proshina Z.G.


Language and culture contacts resulting from the migration of population, as well as current geopolitical and technological processes, enhance the increase of translingual works that reveal symbiotic phenomena of languages and cultures in contact. However, there are still many unsolved problems in defining the translingual discourse and linguistic devices for creating it. The article discusses intercultural narratives in a novel by Kiana Davenport, an American author of Hawaiian descent, whose literary creative translingual work is enhanced by intercultural phenomena related to the contacts of American English, Hawaiian, and Russian languages. The article aims to describe linguistic devices for creating translingualism and to characterize the processes that take place in assimilation and language alteration in contact situations. The research has revealed that translinguality characterizes not only texts that are written in a second language, as is a traditional point of view, but also writings of a bilingual with two native languages enhanced by a third one. Translinguality can be reached by various linguistic tools comprising lexical borrowings, including endonymic toponyms and culture-specific concepts, loan translations, allusions, as well as pidginization of speech and some others. The findings showed that pidginization of speech of different characters results in stylized dialogues with deviated articulation of English words, intentional grammatical deviations, set expressions from Hawaiian Pidgin and wordplay. The results of the paper expand the idea of translingualism and intercultural communication and can be used for further research into linguistic and cultural contacts.

Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):216-234
pages 216-234 views


Review of Marco Bagli. 2021. Tastes We Live By: The Linguistic Conceptualisation of Taste in English. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. ISBN-13: 978-3110626773 (hardback)

Feng Y., Lin Z.



Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):235-239
pages 235-239 views

Review of Gerrard Mugford. 2022. Developing Cross-Cultural Relational Ability in Foreign Language Learning Asset-Based Pedagogy to Enhance Pragmatic Competence

Ilina A.Y.



Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2023;27(1):240-244
pages 240-244 views

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies