The Comparative Study of Politeness Principle in English and Chinese
Politeness is one of the major social constrains on human interaction which regulates participants’ communicative behavior by constantly reminding them to take into consideration the feelings of the others so as to establish mutual comfort and accelerate human communication. (1) That is to say, always being regarded as a symbol of civilization of human being, politeness plays a very important role in sustaining a fine relationship among people and a well-organized society. There are two levels of politeness, one is the verbal courtesy--- that is the outside form to demonstrate your politeness; and the other is the essential courtesy--- the final effect of verbal courtesy. However, the same words or sentences may lead to different effects even a reverse meaning when spoken under different background or different culture. Hence, to understand different politeness is quite important in an inter-cultural communication. Only by studying politeness under different cultural background can we reduce misunderstanding.
1.1The Politeness Principle of English
D. Leech introduced his Politeness Principle from the perspective of interpersonal rhetoric. The Politeness Principle, stating maxims in the use of language, offers a good account of why something is said indirectly rather than straightforwardly. Especially, it accounts for the indirectness in the use of language not from the point of view logic, but from a socio-cultural perspective on the basis of interpersonal rhetoric.
Leech proposed six maxims of the Politeness Principle:
(1) Tact Maxim: to minimize cost to others and to maximize benefit to others.
(2) Generosity Maxim: to minimize benefit to self and to maximize cost to self.
(3) Approbation Maxim: to minimize dispraise of others and to maximize praise of others.
(4) Modesty Maxim: to minimize praise of self and to maximize...