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Look Inside Questions and Politeness

Questions and Politeness
Strategies in Social Interaction


Part of Cambridge Papers in Social Anthropology

Esther N. Goody, Elinor Ochs Keenan, Bambi B. Schieffelin, Martha Platt
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  • Date Published: March 1978
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521292504

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About the Authors
  • These essays, by anthropologists and anthropological linguists, draw on material from speech communities in three continents to raise fundamental questions about the ways in which interrogative and politeness forms are used in day-to-day social interaction. The authors suggest that interrogative and politeness forms have universal features which make them efficient for certain strategies of interaction. Why should these strategies constantly recur? Here the focus shifts to the consideration of status and power, social roles and social distance. Esther Goody looks at the way in whichy the institutionalization of questioning allows only for speech acts consistent with status differences. Brown and Levinson claim that speech acts are potentially threatening to those being addressed, and that politeness forms have evolved as a mechanism for reducing such threats. They analyse the conditions under which politeness forms will be used and show that their findings are consistent with data drawn from India, Mexico and the US.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 1978
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521292504
    • length: 334 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Lists of figures and tables
    Symbols and abbreviations
    1. Introduction Esther N. Goody
    2. Towards a theory of questions Esther N. Goody
    3. Questions of immediate concern Elinor Ochs Keenan, Bambi B. Schieffelin and Martha Platt
    4. Universals in language usage: politeness phenomena

  • Author

    Esther N. Goody


    Esther N. Goody, Elinor Ochs Keenan, Bambi B. Schieffelin, Martha Platt

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