Historical (Im)politeness

by Jonathan Culpeper (Volume editor) Dániel Z. Kádár (Volume editor)
©2010 Edited Collection 300 Pages
Series: Linguistic Insights, Volume 65


This edited collection investigates historical linguistic politeness and impoliteness. Although some research has been undertaken uniting politeness and historical pragmatics, it has been sporadic at best, and often limited to traditional theoretical approaches. This is a strange state of affairs, because politeness plays a central role in the social dynamics of language. This collection, containing contributions from renowned experts, aims to fill this hiatus, bringing together cutting-edge research. Not only does it illuminate the language usage of earlier periods, but by examining the past it places politeness today in context. Such a diachronic perspective also affords a further test-bed for current models of politeness. This volume provides insights into historical aspects of language, particularly items regularly deployed for politeness functions, and the social, particularly interpersonal, contexts with which it interacts. It also sheds light on how (social) meanings are dynamically constructed in situ, and probes various theoretical aspects of politeness. Its papers deploy a range of multilingual (e.g. English, Spanish, Italian and Chinese) diachronic data drawn from different genres such as letters, dramas, witch trials and manners books.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2011 (January)
Sociolinguistics Social History Literary Theory
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2010. 300 pp.

Biographical notes

Jonathan Culpeper (Volume editor) Dániel Z. Kádár (Volume editor)

The Editors: Jonathan Culpeper is a senior lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, UK. His work spans pragmatics, stylistics and the history of English, and his major publications include History of English (2nd edition, 2005), Cognitive Stylistics (2002, edited with Elena Semino), Exploring the Language of Drama (1998, edited with Mick Short and Peter Verdonk) and Language and Characterisation in Plays and Other Texts (2001). He is currently working on a three-year research project on the topic of impoliteness. Dániel Z. Kádár is a research fellow in the Department of Oriental Studies at Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He has been carrying out research into East Asian (im)politeness, discourse analysis, historical pragmatics and letter writing. His major publications include Terms of (Im)Politeness (2007), It’s the Dragon’s Turn (2008, edited with Hao Sun), Historical Chinese Letter Writing (2009), Politeness in East Asia (2010, edited with Sara Mills), Politeness in Historical and Contemporary Chinese (2010, co-authored with Yuling Pan) and Politeness across Cultures (2010, edited with Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini).


Title: Historical (Im)politeness