No 4 (2014)


IN MEMORY OF GEOFFREY LEECH (16.01.1936-19.08.2014)

Larina T.V.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):5-8
pages 5-8 views

Politeness: West and East

Geoffrey Leech -., Larina T.V.


The present paper was planned for this issue of our journal, which Geoffrey Leech and I intended to devote to Politeness phenomena across cultures. It is based on his article titled “Politeness: Is there an East-West Divide?” (2005) which he suggested as a theoretical framework and includes results of our discussions held during our personal meetings and our epistolary exchange. Unfortunately the final version of the paper was never read by Geoffrey Leech for the reasons we all sadly know. Nevertheless I decided to publish it as a tribute to him in the knowledge that the result was not going to have the degree of excellence it would have had if he were still with us today. I therefore apologise for any mistakes or misinterpretations of his thoughts that might be found in the paper. The aim of this article is to sum up the main ideas of Politeness Theory presented earlier in Leech 1983, 2003, 2005, and other publications and discuss how that theory applies (or fails to apply) to other languages, with the main emphasis on the Russian language and culture. The term ‘maxim’ used in Principles of Pragmatics (Leech 1983) is avoided here as much as possible, as it implies some kind of moral imperative, rather than a pragmatic constraint. Instead, a single constraint, which comprehends all the maxims (the Maxims of Tact, Generosity, Approbation, Modesty, Agreement, Sympathy), and is called the Grand Strategy of Politeness (GSP), is used. The GSP says: In order to be polite, S expresses or implies meanings which place a high value on what pertains to O- his/her wants, qualities, obligation, opinion, feelings (O = other person[s], [mainly the addressee, i.e. H = hearer]) or place a low value on what pertains to S (S = self, speaker). The essential point is that these are not separate, independent constraints or maxims: they are instances of the operation of the GSP as ‘super-maxim’ which is an overarching framework for studying linguistic politeness phenomena in communication. The following hypothesis will be put forward, and supported by limited evidence: that the GSP provides a very general explanation for communicative politeness phenomena in Western languages such as English, Eastern languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean, and Slavonic languages such as Russian as well with a few examples from other languages. This is not to deny the importance of quantitative and qualitative differences in the settings of social parameters and linguistic parameters of linguistic politeness in such languages. A framework such as the GSP provides the parameters of variation within which such differences can be studied. We do not imply that ethnic cultures are homogeneous and unchanging entities, and do not disregard the fact that generalizations about any culture can be dangerous as things may be different in different sub-cultures or discourse systems within the same ethnic culture. Therefore we are speaking here in very general terms, as we believe that there is a common core which distinguishes one communicative culture from another. Further still there are some general characteristics of behaviour which can be observed in different cultures (1). Hence this article argues that, despite differences, each of the languages and cultures discussed herein constitute a more or less unified system in terms of politeness norms and strategies, and that the GSP can be used as a tertium comparationis to study politeness phenomenon across languages and cultures.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):9-34
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The Background of Politeness Universals

Assimakopoulos S.


Early accounts of politeness have been widely criticised for adopting a universalist stance while attempting to account for a phenomenon that is clearly culture-dependent. In reaction to this criticism, Leech (2007/2014) has argued for the necessity of politeness universals, on condition that they allow for the investigation of the relevant cultural variation. This paper sets out to provide additional support for Leech’s claim, by pursuing the argument that even though different societies have in principle different politeness values, all members of the same cultural and/or linguistic group typically accept very similar sets of such values. This argument is theoretically supported by resort to Searle’s notion of the Background, as a body of preintentional mental capacities that safeguards the alignment of our intentional states with that of our peers. Given then the systematicity with which we develop a culturally uniform understanding of politeness, the postulation of politeness universals, in Leech’s sense, cannot but be a useful analytical tool when theorising about politeness.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):35-43
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“You must, pardon, you should” - Being polite across cultures

Alcina Maria Pereira de Sousa -.


Drawing on an empirical study undertaken in 1998-9 and 2008, this paper suggests a renewed and refreshing view (Micklos 2001: 5) on an ever-problem posing issue as is the role of modality in communicative and intercultural competence. In fact, this diachronic case study aims at reassessing some evidence on EFL learners’/undergraduates’ reading habits in a FL context, grounded on empirical research undertaken in Madeira Island in 1998-1999 compared with data collected in 2008. The former involved a representative number of informants: 12 th form Humanities students ( n = 197) and first- and second-year undergraduates ( n = 57) taking English - Joint Honours - at the University of Madeira. Their response to a questionnaire on reading habits, purposes, strategies and text types in English as a foreign language, has offered renewed insights on a changing trend in the use of modals by EFL undergraduates for global communication. The analysis of respondents’ use of modals (1998/9-2008) unearths a shifting cline from the use of “must” to “should”. Consequently, it is necessary to ponder on how demands of a society associated with globalisation have affected patterns of education / instruction in both secondary and higher education. In this paper it is thus argued that fostering speakers’ linguistic and discursive awareness with an emphasis on the grammatical, pragmatic and semantic levels, contrastively, contributes to speakers’ awareness of specificities of both their mother tongue and foreign/additional language in a dialogic and dynamic way.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):44-59
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The Pragmatics of the Handshake: A Politeness Index in British and Italian Usage

Douglas Ponton -.


Schiffrin’s (1981) paper on handwork is an early attempt to come up with a description of the communicative significance of the quasi universal greeting and leave-taking ritual, the handshake. She follows Goffman (1971: 80) in viewing the gesture, on greeting, as an ‘access ritual’, increasing intimacy and thus, carrying rights and obligations for both parties. Her description aligns the modern day handshake with its roots in ancient Greece, with the medieval ‘handclasp’ between a king and his knights, and associates it with such values as ‘mutual trust’, ‘solidarity’ and ‘friendliness’. As a form of non-verbal communication the handshake must concern researchers of politeness phenomena, as well as being of general sociological (and socio-linguistic) interest. This study proposes to add some data to Schiffrin’s theoretical considerations, and to add an intercultural dimension by means of a survey conducted online with Italian and British respondents. It is a commonplace of intercultural communication, in fact, that differences exist between contexts that can be broadly distinguished as British/Anglo-Saxon on the one hand, and Mediterranean/Latin on the other. Some of these differences are in the area of physical contact, and the business of shaking hands can therefore be a useful index for exploring such issues (Hall and Spencer Hall 1983: 249). Through analysing responses to the survey and the personal narratives provided this paper aims to add ballast to notions that are otherwise mere intercultural stereotypes, and to explore possible meanings attached in both social contexts to this most basic of human gestures.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):60-75
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Lexical Ways of Expressing Explicit Politeness in German Linguoculture

Gazizov R.A.


The article deals with lexical ways of expressing explicit politeness forms in the German linguocultural community. Speech acts of greeting, saying good-bye, apologizing, thanking, requesting, giving advice, offering help and making invitations are used to analyze most frequent means of realization of explicit politeness, the latter acting in verbal communication as a graded phenomenon. The use of modal and introductory verbs, modal particles, adjectives, adverbs, distant and contact communication forms, specific politeness modificators are demonstrated to be most common lexical means of expressing the type of politeness under consideration. Frequency of use of different parts of speech in the structure of etiquette formulas in German allows us to situate politeness at one or another level (high - medium - low) i. e. etiquette units implement the category of explicit politeness with various degrees of intensity. The use of the forms expliciting varoius levels of politeness is connected with communicants' specific intentions, such as paying attention, showing interest, mitigating imposition, and implying further incentive to act. The German linguocultural community is characterized by frequent use of neutral forms of expressive speech acts and stylistically elevated forms of incentive statements representing undogmatic and nonurgent forms. To conclude, specific national peculiarities of explicit politeness in German liguoculture are formulated.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):76-84
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Constituencies of Politeness: Stiff Upper Lip

Jioeva A.A., Sosedova V.S.


The article is analyses the concept Stiff Upper Lip as a means of representing the category of politeness in English. The article descirbes linguocultural peculiarities of the concept, its correlation with other culturally significant concepts and its role in expressing the category of politeness in English. The article uses examples from the English fiction, newspaper articles and the author’s observations. Being one of the universal categories of communication, politeness is expressed by different means depending on national and cultural peculiarities. The lingvocultural concept Stiff Upper Lip is culturally significant concept for the Anglo-Saxon mentality. It is linked with such notions as emotional reserve, determination, and self-control. One of the main features of the English communicative behaviour is taking into account the listener's interests and concerns. Consequently, keeping distance between inerlocutors is of great importance, as it gives an opportunity to preserve the communication parties' privacy. The authors come to the conclusion that the concept Stiff Upper Lip is one of the main means of verbal realization of the category of politeness in the English communicative behaviour.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):85-100
pages 85-100 views

Linguistic and Cultural Analysis of the Dichotomy ‘Dicent-Indicent’ in English and Russian

Zhelvis V.I.


Living conditions, history and geography of any ethnos determine specifically nation-specific differences of the dichotomy “decent: indecent . The paper analyzes the conceptualization of this dichotomy by British and American versus Russian societies. The author studies the meaning of the words decent, decency, decently plus their synonyms and related words as compared with the Russian приличие, приличный, приличная, приличное and прилично . The result of this analysis reveals noticeable differences in understanding of these notions, esp. as far as their negative versions ( indecent, неприлично ) are concerned. Moreover, as further analysis shows, dictionaries are sometimes unable to express some shades of meaning which are exposed through the analysis of concrete word usage. It appears that often discrepancies make themselves evident when some formal society rules are violated, as they play an important role in the individual’s socialization. Some differences are determined by differences of Protestant and Russian Orthodox moral principles. We observe cases when principles which are strictly observed in Anglo-Saxon culture are not followed in Russian culture. Consequently, such concepts do not find expression in the Russian language (for example indecent assault and indecent exposure) . This fact may serve as another evidence of a greater attention paid by Western cultures with their cult of individualism to the problems of personal self-esteem. At the same time, the article demonstrates a significant difference between Western and Oriental linguistic weltanschauung. Finally, the analysis of some Russian synonyms allows us to conclude that the concept of (не) приличие is undergoing a serious crisis, which cannot be said about the English (in) decent.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):101-118
pages 101-118 views

The Conceptualisation of Impoliteness in Russian and English

Kharlova M.L.


The article analyses the concept of “impoliteness” in Russian and English. On the basis of the material taken from various explanatory dictionaries and corpus data the article presents a comparative analysis of the Russian and English words for “impolite”, which provides a means of identifying cultural implications of the concept in the corresponding linguaculture. The analysis of the definitions, synonyms, and usages of the words for “impolite” in the languages under study in the lexicographical sources, in the National Corpus of the Russian Language, and the Corpus of Contemporary American English allow us to conclude that impoliteness possesses different linguocultural content. Both in the Russian and English languages it is connected with breaching politeness norms. Additionally, impoliteness in the Russian language and culture correspondently is associated with the notions of propriety and deference, and has moral and ethical ground, whereas in the English language and culture impoliteness is based on the external non-demonstration of etiquette politeness, respect, tack and good manners. Thus, the study of the semantic content of the linguistic signs naming the concept of impoliteness makes it possible to further turn to the category of impoliteness that reflects the experience of impolite interaction. The main research methods used in the study are definitional analysis, corpus data analysis, descriptive and comparative methods.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):119-131
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The cases of observance and violation of politeness maxims by communicants in the ego-state of natural Child

Gizatova G.F.


Nowadays, the study of human communication is of great importance in linguistics and psychology. In order to achieve smooth and conflict-free interaction it is necessary not only to respect the rules of politeness, but also to take into account the position of the speaker and the addressee. This explains the need to study many psychological factors in communication. This paper studies the ego-state of Natural Child in speech communication. Investigating the behavior of communicants in the ego-state of Natural Child, we rely on the theory of transactional analysis (E. Bern 1961) . According to this theory, the behavior of the speaker and the addressee in the ego-states of Natural Child varies from curious, inspiring, dreamy, and natural to the selfish, spiteful, shameless and impatient. The material for investigation is the dialogs from British and American fiction of XIX-XXI centuries. The dialogs contain the speaker and addressee’s replicas, meeting the essential requirements of the Principle of Politeness (G. Leech 1983) and the theory of transactional analysis. In our work we have applied hypothetical-deductive method, and methods of definitional and contextual analysis. The anylisis of our material demonstrates that communicants in the ego-state of Natural Child observe the maxims of generosity, tact and agreement, and violate the maxims of approbation, modesty and tact. Thus, the implementation of politeness maxims by communicants in ego-state of Natural Child depends entirely on their behavior.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):132-139
pages 132-139 views

Irony as Inferred Contradiction

Alba-Juez L.


“If we acknowledge the existence of an Irony Principle, we should also acknowledge another ‘higher-order principle’ which has the opposite effect. While irony is an apparently friendly way of being offensive (mock politeness), the type of verbal behaviour known as ‘banter’ is an offensive way of being friendly (mock impoliteness).” Geoffrey Leech, Principles of Pragmatics (1983: 144) In this work I present some theoretical considerations about what I consider to be a permanent and ever-present feature of verbal irony, namely, inferred contradiction , which has to be distinguished from plain, direct (non-inferred) contradiction as well as from indirect negation , for a contradiction which is directly expressed cannot be interpreted as ironical (since it lacks a crucial component: inference), and an indirect negation may or may not be ironic (depending on the situation), and thus cannot be considered a permanent feature of the phenomenon. In spite of the fact that many scholars have proposed different theories in order to capture the essence of this intricate and complex phenomenon, not all of them have managed to find a feature or characteristic that applies to or is found in all possible occurrences of irony. I briefly discuss the tenets of some of the best-known of these theories, namely the Classical theories (Socrates, Cicero, Quintilian), the Echoic-Mention Theory (later Echoic Theory), the Echoic Reminder Theory, the Pretence Theory and the Relevant Inappropriateness Theory, trying to show that in all the types of irony emerging from these proposals (e.g. echoic irony, pretence irony, etc.) it can be observed that the irony is triggered by inferred contradiction . The one theory that according to my view and knowledge- seems to capture its whole essence to date is Attardo’s (2000) Relevant Inappropriateness Theory, to whose proposal I adhere, but I argue at the same time that inferred contradiction is another feature of irony (which goes hand in hand with relevant inappropriateness) that should be considered in any theoretical approach to irony. I also try to show how the feature of inferred contradiction is found in all the types of verbal irony identified by different authors (e.g. Alba-Juez’s 1995 negative, positive and neutral irony, Leech’s 1983, 2014 conversational irony, etc.), and thus conclude that this is a feature of irony that should be taken into consideration as a distinguishing and identifying characteristic of the phenomenon.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):140-153
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Semantics and Pragmatics of a Linguistic Sign as Cultural Information Drivers

Ivanova S.V., Chanysheva Z.Z.


The article traces the influence of Geoffrey Leech’s semantic and pragmatic conceptual theories on modern general and comparative cultural linguistics. The article aims to distinguish drivers of cultural information within the semantic structure and pragmatic potential of a linguistic sign. The material of the analysis is drawn from cultural and linguistic dictionaries as well as from English and Russian texts. The study implements definitive, distributive, contextual, pragmatic and linguocutural analyses. Two major approaches to determining cultural information carriers within the linguistic sign are established. The notion of cultural connotation is interpreted as a linguocultural category and paid special attention to. Two types of cultural connotation, primary and secondary, are singled out. Cultural connotations are classified due to their range of action within cultural space. The cultural connotation is seen as a linguocultural category marked by such features as relational, axiological, associative, cognitive, precedent and stereotypical character.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):154-166
pages 154-166 views

The Speech Act Set of Direct Complaints in American and Russian Cultures

Gallaher B.


This study investigates the speech act set of direct complaints performed by American speakers and Russian native speakers. This article explores the semantic categories that speakers in each language group used to structure their complaints and the order of occurrences of the categories from the point of view of face-saving strategies, as defined by Brown and Levinson (1978 [1987]). The data was obtained through a combination of oral responses to a discourse completion questionnaire and an assessment questionnaire. The findings demonstrate that speakers in each language group used the same range of semantic categories to structure their complaints. However, the frequency and the order of the categories greatly differed, which revealed differences in politeness norms and cultural values in American and Russian cultures. The results of the study indicate some language- and culture- specific features of complaints, which can have a significant effect on problem negotiations across cultures.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):167-177
pages 167-177 views

Prosody-Pragmatics Interface in the Sitcom Discourse

Bilá M., Kačmárová A.


The paper presents the outcomes of the analysis of the tonic stress placement and its interpretation in terms of a speaker’s communicative intention in the original version of the episode of the sitcom ‘Friends’. Phonetic and pragmatic analyses of an utterance represent a combination of langue and parole phenomena and that of quantitative and qualitative approaches. The research intention is to explore quasi-spontaneous conversational speech of American variety of English, and to establish in what manner the occurrence of tonic stress is reflected in pragmatic interpretation of the selected audio-visual text. The findings show that the genre of pre-scripted text does not necessarily inhibit and/or determine the mere vocal realization and pragmatic reading.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):178-187
pages 178-187 views

Intercultural Communication in the Light of Polish and Russian Verbal Etiquette

Korzeniewska-Berczyńska J.


The question of effectiveness of intercultural dialogue is directly connected with the question of fortunateness of communication. Hence the need to have knowledge of the norms of linguistic behavior which are binding in a given culture. The aim of this article is to analyze Polish and Russian forms of address, greetings and farewells, as well as typical acts of communication, such as requests, thanks, or the ritual of making apologies. The use of appropriate, conventionalized forms of verbal etiquette is a basic condition of the fortunateness of acts of communication.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):188-197
pages 188-197 views

Forms of Address in the Regulated Sphere of Communication: The Formation of a New Standard

Zhukova T.S.


The article is an attempt to interpret the formation of new standards of use of the forms of address in regulated spheres of communication. Regulated communication is considered as communication restricted by the rules of an organization or a socio-political institute, as well as the rules and standards of speech etiquette and corporate ethics adopted by an organization. It is noted that in modern linguistics there are no typically occurring the conservative and restrictive perception of standards. A new view on the nature of the standard is being formed: the standard must be as close to the communicative situation as possible. The trends in the formation of the standards are identified on the basis of the observation over modern word usage, the analysis of metalinguistic reflection of the native speakers and the surveys of preferable choices of form of address in a particular communicative situation. To conclude it is stressed that the new standards of functioning of the forms of address need further theoretical understanding of this problem, analysis and recommendations for the use of new forms.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):198-215
pages 198-215 views

Conributors to this issue

- -.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):216-222
pages 216-222 views

Information for contributors

- -.
Russian Journal of Linguistics. 2014;(4):223-224
pages 223-224 views

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