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Journal of Politeness Research

Language, Behaviour, Culture

Ed. by Grainger, Karen

2 Issues per year

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5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.365

CiteScore 2017: 1.65

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Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.848

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From Politeness1 to Politeness2: Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space

Marina Terkourafi
  • Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, specializing in post-Gricean pragmatics, theories of im/politeness, socio-historical linguistics, and construction grammar(s).
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Published Online: 2011-06-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jplr.2011.009


Increasing attention to the distinction between first- and second-order im/politeness has led to considerable soul-searching among theorists regarding which of the two should form the basis of a theory of im/politeness. In this article, I take an alternative path: I build on norms of Politeness1, as attested in influential texts laying out Politeness1 norms in different parts of the world from antiquity to this day, to extract from them the core elements of a theory of Politeness2. By affording us with some glimpses into the diachronic intertwining of Politeness1 and Politeness2, this analysis helps explain why it has been so difficult to keep these two notions apart in previous research. At the same time, it suggests some possible ways forward. Specifically, this survey reveals two overarching themes regarding the role of politeness (and, by implication, impoliteness) in these cultures. The first concerns the social regulatory role of Politeness1 norms, while the second concerns the relationship of Politeness1 norms with an underlying morality. I propose that these two elements should be placed at the heart of an empirically grounded theory of Politeness2.

Keywords:: manuals; courtesy; civility; conduct; etiquette; manners; morals; regulation; religion

About the article

Published Online: 2011-06-19

Published in Print: 2011-07-01

Citation Information: Journal of Politeness Research. Language, Behaviour, Culture, Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 159–185, ISSN (Online) 1613-4877, ISSN (Print) 1612-5681, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jplr.2011.009.

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