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Journal of Politeness Research

Language, Behaviour, Culture

Ed. by Grainger, Karen

2 Issues per year

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 1.441
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 1.521
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 1.909

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Children’s early awareness of the effect of interpersonal status on politeness

Yupin Chen
  • Department of Foreign Languages and Applied Linguistics, National Taipei University, Taiwan
  • :
Published Online: 2017-02-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2014-0016


This study discusses two Mandarin-speaking children’s linguistic politeness through longitudinally observing their uses of request forms with regard to different interactional situations where their interpersonal status may vary accordingly. It seems that the children demonstrate a systematic correspondence between request forms and directness to adhere to politeness at an early age. Although they apparently prefer to utilize comparatively more direct request forms most of the time, a closer investigation reveals a division of labor: they appear to use simple imperatives when their interpersonal status is either superior or equal to their parents and use declaratives with the lexeme WANT when their interpersonal status is inferior. It is therefore suggested that politeness may be mutually negotiated between interlocutors and that children should get socialized with politeness through interaction with adults or other children within various social or interpersonal relationships.

Keywords: linguistic politeness; request; pragmatic development; child language

Published Online: 2017-02-02

Published in Print: 2017-02-01

Citation Information: Journal of Politeness Research. Volume 13, Issue 1, Pages 121–142, ISSN (Online) 1613-4877, ISSN (Print) 1612-5681, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2014-0016, February 2017

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