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Journal of Politeness Research

Language, Behaviour, Culture

Ed. by Grainger, Karen

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Politeness in Hittite state correspondence: Address and self-presentation

Mojca Cajnko
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  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institut für Assyriologie und Hethitologie, 80539 München, Germany
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Published Online: 2016-06-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2016-0006


In this paper deferential and strategic or face-based politeness are distinguished (Jucker 2010). The distinction seems to be crucial for a proper understanding of the use of address and self-presentation terms and the address formula in Hittite state correspondence. Namely, the corpus of 80 letters written between c. 1450 and 1190 B.C. shows that the appropriate use of politeness largely reflects the writer’s awareness of his place in society, as well as his desire to behave in conformity with culturally expected forms of behavior. Examples of deferential politeness are thus influenced by the relative and absolute social status of communication participants as well as general and socially expected concern for the addressee’s face. Examples of real strategic politeness may be observed in symmetric relations where the writer is trying to minimalize a potentially face-threatening act and in some letters to the Hittite king.

Keywords: Hittite; address; self-presentation; deferential; strategic politeness

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Published Online: 2016-06-15

Published in Print: 2016-07-01

Citation Information: Journal of Politeness Research, Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 155–171, ISSN (Online) 1613-4877, ISSN (Print) 1612-5681, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2016-0006.

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