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Historical (Im)politeness


Edited By Jonathan Culpeper and Dániel Z. Kádár

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.


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Acknowledgements 7


Acknowledgements We would like to acknowledge the aid of the team of colleagues who kindly helped our work by peer-reviewing the chapters of this volume, including (in alphabetical order) Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini, Huba Bartos, Marcel Bax, Susan Fitzmaurice, Gudrun Held, Jeremy King, Geoffrey Leech, Gabriella Del Lungo, Gabriella Mazzon, Maria Cris- tobalina Moreno, Jim O’Driscoll, and Yuling Pan. We would like to express our gratitude to Maurizio Gotti for kindly inviting us to pub- lishing our volume in the Linguistic Insights Series of Peter Lang and arranging a generous financial support for this project, and to Ursula Rettinghaus for editorial aid. Our sincere thanks to Jane Demmen for thoroughly reviewing the style of the manuscript with great expertise. We are also grateful to the Linguistic Politeness Research Group, which permitted us to organise a panel, ‘Historical (Im)Polite- ness Research’, in its 4th International Symposium on Linguistic Po- liteness (Budapest, July 2008) where the selected contributions for this volume were originally presented. Last but not least, we would say a big thanks to our families for their long-suffering patience while we were engaged in the editing of this volume.

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