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Translating Politeness Across Englishes

The Princess and the Pea


Rehana Mubarak-Aberer

Due to the increasing lingua-cultural heterogeneity of today’s users of English, it has become necessary to examine politeness, translation and transcultural communication from a different perspective. This book proposes a concept for a transdisciplinary methodology to shed some light onto the opaque relationship between the lingua-cultural biographies of users of English and their patterns of perceiving and realizing politeness in speech acts. The methodology incorporates aspects of CAT tools and business intelligence systems, and is designed for long-term research that can serve as a foundation for theoretical studies or practical contexts, such as customer relationship management and marketing.

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6. Prospective for Further Research on Politeness Strategy Patterns


6. Prospective for Further Research on Politeness Strategy Patterns

6.1 Objective and scope

In contemporary discussions about communication across cultures, it is often implicitly claimed that explicable knowledge about societies, their histories and belief systems can facilitate communication processes. But the knowledge about how cultures or how different scientific schools define “politeness”, i.e. explicit knowledge about politeness concepts, cannot be sufficient207, since this explicit knowledge does not give an insight into how individuals with different lingua-cultural biographies actually employ and perceive politeness strategies. The explicit knowledge may assist decision-making processes to a certain degree, but not to the full extent. Therefore, it is also necessary to acquire implicit knowledge about the manifestation and perception of politeness in different cultures.

But the acquisition of implicit knowledge is very complex, since as we have seen, it depends on many parameters. Due to the transcultural nature of today’s societies, it is also impossible for a single translationally-acting person who translates from or into Englishes to gain implicit knowledge about communicative behavior of individuals with all kinds of potential lingua-cultural biographies.

While we can communicate and convey explicit knowledge, implicit knowledge is learned through socio-cultural practice, i.e. through imitation, rehearsal and training208. In fact, the acquisition of implicit knowledge is inherently an embodied process – it is necessary to physically act or participate in a cultural system in order to gain implicit knowledge. Furthermore, understanding is not confined to primarily mental processes, but also refers to the...

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