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Speech Acts and Politeness across Languages and Cultures


Edited By Leyre Ruiz de Zarobe and Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe

Speech Acts and Politeness are among the main areas of interest in pragmatics. These communicative phenomena can be considered universal and at the same time language and culture-specific. It is this latter dimension that has been at the centre of recent developments in pragmatics, and it is also the focus of this book.
The aim of this book is to reflect this development, providing evidence from four main areas crucial to pragmatics across languages and cultures: a description of a variety of speech acts and politeness strategies in different languages and cultures, a cross-cultural comparison of several speech acts and patterns of politeness, an in-depth analysis of issues concerning the learning and teaching of speech acts and politeness in second/foreign languages, as well as some methodological resources in pragmatics.
This book is intended for researchers, scholars and students interested in the field of pragmatics, in general, or in the fields of cross-cultural and second/foreign language pragmatics, and specifically for those interested in speech acts and politeness. It will also be useful to any scholar interested in how communication and culture are related.


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Introduction 9


LEYRE RUIZ DE ZAROBE / YOLANDA RUIZ DE ZAROBE Introduction: Pragmatics across Languages and Cultures This book deals with speech acts and politeness across languages and cultures. In our increasingly globalized world, people from different countries and communities cross borders and switch languages, com- ing into contact with other cultures and languages. Likewise, in many societies distinct communities live alongside each other, each with their own language and culture, either indigenous or as a result of emigration. These contacts create intercultural interactions which highlight the peculiarities of each language, as well as the similari- ties and differences between different languages and cultures. Moreo- ver, this intercultural communication gives rise to a whole new set of challenges, such as the need to reconsider language learning in rela- tion to the communicative demands of speakers from different cul- tural and linguistic backgrounds. Current pragmatics research needs to respond to these commu- nicative phenomena linked to the cultural and intercultural dimen- sion. If we look at speech acts and politeness, the dominant issues in pragmatics, we see that both issues are inseparable from their cul- tural dimension, that speech acts/politeness and culture are inter- twined. Highlighting the fact that speech acts/politeness are univer- sal phenomena and at the same time language and culture-specific, the development of pragmatics has emphasized the need to describe different languages and their inherent cultures more and more speci- fically. The study of speech acts and politeness knows no bounds and there are endless possibilities for further study in...

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