Edited By Roberta Facchinetti, David Crystal and Barbara Seidlhofer
CRISTIANA CHIARINI Israeli politeness in English: an intercultural perspective 51
CRISTIANA CHIARINI Israeli politeness in English: an intercultural perspective 1. Introduction and theoretical framework The Israeli linguistic context has been attracting the attention of schol- ars for decades, among others Fishman (1985; 1996; 1997; 1999; 2001), Katriel (1986; 2004), Ben Rafael (1994), Lefkowitz (2004), Blum-Kulka (1987; 1989; 1997; 2005), Suleiman (1996; 1999; 2003; 2004) for sociolinguistic issues related to identity, style and pragmat- ics, and Spolsky (with Cooper 1991; 1996; 1997; with Shohamy 1999; with Shohamy 2001) and Shohamy (2006) for language policy. This study focuses on the features of English politeness in Is- rael, by analysing this variety from a sociolinguistic perspective, and intertwining it with the identity dynamics occurring in the Israeli ethnic, social and cultural context. In particular, it draws on Katriel (1986; 2004), who analyses the direct way of speaking (Dugriyut) of Sabra1 subculture in modern Israel from a cross-cultural perspective, by comparing it e. g. with male “Tough Talk” in the United States, female talk in Madagascar and Arabs’ indirectness, and recently in relation to media. Katriel (1986) describes the role of dugriyut in verbal interaction, identifying five dimensions of meaning, i. e. sin- cerity, assertiveness, naturalness, solidarity and anti-style. Such di- rect talk expresses and enacts a modern way of life, which came into being, along with its nation (Israel), only in the last century, contrib- uting to the creation of the ethos of the emerging Sabra identity. 1 Sabra is a term usually referring to native Israelis. It is the metaphor of the...
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