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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article selectively reviews the literature on politeness across different disciplines—linguistics, anthropology, communications, conversation analysis, social psychology, and sociology—and critically assesses how both theoretical approaches to politeness and research on linguistic politeness phenomena have evolved over the past forty years. Major new developments include a shift from predominantly linguistic approaches to those examining politeness and impoliteness as processes that are embedded and negotiated in interactional and cultural contexts, as well as a greater focus on how both politeness and interactional confrontation and conflict fit into our developing understanding of human cooperation and universal aspects of human social interaction.

Keywords: language use, politeness, impoliteness, politeness theory, discourse, conversation, conversation analysis, conflict, face, pragmatics

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