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Some Universals in Language Usage


Penelope Brown, Max-Planck-Institut für Psycholinguistik, The Netherlands, Stephen C. Levinson, Max-Planck-Institut für Psycholinguistik, The Netherlands
Foreword by John J. Gumperz, University of California, Berkeley


This study is about the principles for constructing polite speeches. The core of it first appeared in Questions and Politeness, edited by Esther N. Goody (now out of print). It is here reissued with a fresh introduction that surveys the considerable literature in linguistics, psychology and the social sciences that the original extended essay stimulated, and suggests distinct directions for research. The authors describe and account for some remarkable parallelisms in the linguistic construction of utterances with which people express…

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