Linguistic politeness in English: Concept and context

Si Fan, Wei Fan, Yun Yue

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Politeness is a common word that is used frequently in the English language. It has also been a term particularly established in scholarly works on pragmatics and linguistics. The term politeness is found to be rather confusing and susceptible, due to the multiple variations based on personal, historical and social differences. The shift from positive to negative politeness in the development of the language adds another layer of complexity for leaners of the English language. Understanding the term politeness and its applications in contexts is an essential step of culture and language learning for leaners who wish to survive in English speaking countries. An analysis of the term politeness and contexts in which it is used can be perceived as a worthwhile research. It has the benefit of providing an ethnographic view of different speakers of the English language regarding politeness, and the semantics of the word politeness or polite at several different points in the history. This chapter seeks to provide an overall picture on this particular term, and an analysis of its development over the years. It will consider how it has developed historically, while focuses specifically on changes that have occurred in people's understandings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLinguistics and Language Education in New Horizons
Subtitle of host publicationThe Link between Theory, Research and Pedagogy
PublisherNova Science Publishers Inc
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781634828437
ISBN (Print)9781634828000
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Historical view
  • Politeness
  • Social differences


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