Sara Mills, Kate Beeching
May 9, 2006
Introduction The papers in this special issue of the Journal of Politeness Research arose from a workshop which took place at the University of the West of England, Bristol, in February 2003 entitled ‘Politeness and (business) communication across national borders’. The aim of the workshop was to draw together researchers on politeness in business contexts or in the workplace working mainly on British English with others working on politeness in other cultures or in cross-cultural contexts. Some papers focus more closely on the workplace (Bargiela-Chiappini and Harris; Mullany); others more closely on politeness in different cultural settings (Kerbrat-Orecchioni; Beeching on French; Arnáiz on Spanish) and others on cross-cultural phenomena (Daller and Yıldız on Western European cultures such as the UK and Germany in contrast with Turkey, Belarus and Uzbekistan; Traverso on French and Syrian). The studies, moreover, cover a range of levels of analysis from an extralinguistic to a macro- and micro-linguistic level. The subject of some studies involves a broad consideration of cultural factors, including power and distance, that of others involves an exploration of speech events and linguistic rituals, whilst still others study the implementation of politeness at a micro-level. All of the researchers acknowledge the primacy of the Brown and Levinson politeness framework yet many attempt to adjust the theory so that it accounts in a more satisfying way for the sometimes apparently contradictory nature of the empirical data investigated.