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Requests and Culture

Politeness in British English and Japanese

Saeko Fukushima and Saeko Fukushima

This book presents a cross-cultural comparison between British and Japanese cultures focusing on requests and responses. The study is based on data elicited from a questionnaire which lists the choices of strategies for making requests and responding to off-record requests, taking into account the variables power, social distance and imposition. The author’s findings suggest important refinements to Brown and Levinson’s politeness categorisation and question the validity of cultural stereotypes. Drawing on the distinction between individualist and collectivist cultures, this study also accounts for differences between the politeness strategies in British English and Japanese.
Contents: Introduction – Politeness Theories – Requests and Responses to Requests – Cultural Dimensions of the Study – Research Design and Methodology – Results – Discussion – Conclusion.