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From Politeness1 to Politeness2: Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space
MARINA TERKOURAFI

“Some think that [politeness] theory is irrelevant, in that it fails to correspond to [real life]. This opinion rests often on a misapprehension about [politeness]. It assumes that [it] exist[s] simply and immutably, that [it is] permanently established once and for all … Hence that all [politeness] theory has the same (lowish) value” Adapted from Georgia (1994: 100)

Abstract Increasing attention to the distinction between first- and second-order im/ politeness has led to considerable soul-searching among theorists regarding which of the two should form the basis of a theory of im/politeness. In this article, I take an alternative path: I build on norms of Politeness1, as attested in influential texts laying out Politeness1 norms in different parts of the world from antiquity to this day, to extract from them the core elements of a theory of Politeness2. By affording us with some glimpses into the diachronic intertwining of Politeness1 and Politeness2, this analysis helps explain why it has been so difficult to keep these two notions apart in previous research. At the same time, it suggests some possible ways forward. Specifically, this survey reveals two overarching themes regarding the role of politeness (and, by implication, impoliteness) in these cultures. The first concerns the social regulatory role of Politeness1 norms, while the second concerns the relationship of Politeness1 norms with an underlying morality. I propose that these two elements should be placed at the heart of an empirically grounded theory of Politeness2. Keywords: manuals, courtesy, civility, conduct, etiquette, manners, morals, regulation, religion 1. From Politeness1 to Politeness2: Take I When politeness is mentioned in casual conversation today, ideas about letting the other go first, saying “please” and “thank you”, and table manners usually spring to mind. Politeness is considered a matter of
Journal of Politeness Research 7 (2011), 159 185 DOI 10.1515/JPLR.2011.009 1612-5681/11/007 0159 Walter de Gruyter

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Marina Terkourafi

upbringing and opens doors socially for those who display it; at the very least, it may be rewarded with a smile and a favourable impression. Exactly because of its potential to reap social rewards and the fact that it is considered teachable, a matter of nurture rather than nature, politeness has been a staple of didactic literature from early on. In this article, I track canonical understandings of im/politeness in different cultures from antiquity to this day as a novel way of approaching a question that has become increasingly central in im/politeness research over the past decade, namely, what is the object of a theory of im/politeness? which inevitably leads to the follow-up question, what should be the object of a theory of im/politeness? In trying to answer these questions, researchers noticed a disconnect between the use of the terms politeness and polite by speakers themselves, and the way these terms have been used in the linguistics literature. Speakers, as well as authors of etiquette books and foreign language textbooks, tend to associate politeness (and impoliteness) with a closed inventory of forms or behaviours that are thought to communicate politeness (or impoliteness) in and of themselves. It is with this understanding of politeness in mind what has more recently been called “firstorder politeness” (or Politeness1 for short; Watts et al. 1992: 11) that one should read comments regarding particular forms or actions as being “polite”, such as the ones cited at the start of this article, or related remarks in grammar and foreign language textbooks, ranging from T vs. V address usage to neg-raising, tense and aspect, and derivational phenomena1. Within contemporary linguistic theory, on the other hand, politeness came to the limelight as a result of the work of ordinary language philosophers, who saw in it a potential motivation for indirectness. Specifically, Searle (1975) suggested that politeness constitutes an additional meaning (i. e., an implicature) conveyed by an indirect speech act (i. e., a speech act that departs from the mandates of the conversational maxims; Grice 1975). This line of thought sparked what Culpeper (in press) calls the “first wave” of politeness theories, whose primary aim was to account for the range of forms that convey politeness by means of departures from the Cooperative Principle and the maxims2. No sooner, of course, did linguists embark on this task than they realized that even a slight shift in intonation, or repetition of the most canonical “polite” expression, could give rise to the opposite effect, making politeness resolutely a matter of inference (pragmatics) over and above encoded content (semantics). Politeness in this second sense what has more recently been called “second-order politeness” (or, Politeness2; Watts et al. 1992: 11) has commonly been interpreted as social adequacy (cf. Braun 1988: 49 53; Held 1992: 139 151), and the emphasis this time has been

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Politeness2 must be explicitly defined with the help of a metalanguage in order to circumscribe the scope of the phenomena under study.. manipulated and examined just as a physical object can” (Eelen 2001: 179). Following Eelen (2001: 33 34). historically. when. can be highly individual. while Politeness2 should retain a stable meaning for all (at least for those working within the same theoretical framework). a theory of im/politeness must be a theory of Politeproposing such a theory is easier said than done. from polite to impolite5. Eelen has further proposed that a theory of Politeness2 should be non-evaluative. and able to explain the whole gamut of behaviours. it should essentially be at the antipode of Politeness1 (2001: 48). i. theories of politeness have typically failed in this regard because they have. being closely tied to each speaker/listener’s personal experience. As I sugness2?3 gested in the previous paragraph. Politeness1 and Politeness2 have different conceptual origins. In other words. Eelen sees signs of the normativity of politeness theories in their “blindness” to the ethical underpinnings of allegedly technical principles (such as the CP). the question that arises next is: which of the two should be the object of a theory of im/politeness? If the answer to this question seems relatively straightforward surely.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 161 on accounting for how. A major source of difficulty stems from the issue of norms and the role they play in both Politeness1 and Politeness2. we might think of their differences in terms of Vygotsky’s distinction between spontaneous and scientific concepts: as a spontaneous concept. which essentially turns polite- AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . as he has also argued in detail. non-normative. sometimes explicitly but more often implicitly. the distinction between the two is not as easy to maintain in practice. As he puts it. Eelen is pointing to the theories’ failure to make room for diverging norms and alternative interpretations. their representation of politeness norms as social mandates (hence potential vulnerability to prescription). and why linguistic expressions achieve this. imported wholesale the normativity of Politeness1 into Politeness2. e. and their reification of politeness. Building on this distinction. Having distinguished between Politeness1 and Politeness2. and serve different purposes socially and epistemologically. and theories of im/politeness have been at best ambivalent in their placement towards it (Eelen 2001: 48 75)6. while as a scientific one. However. According to Eelen (2001: 174 187). “[p]oliteness is regarded as a unique and objective system that exists ‘out there’ in reality. that can be discovered. This way of looking at the two notions also explains why conceptualizations of Politeness1. rather than simply listing those that do. depending only upon the meanings of other theoretical notions in relation to which it is being defined4. Politeness1 builds on speakers’ experiences using (and being told how to use) language.

incorporating norms in one’s account of im/ politeness can enhance the explanatory power of the account by affording some insights into the internal workings of the evaluative moment itself. as in other branches of linguistic analysis. much like grammar textbooks and politeness manuals make it out to be. and how they figure in individuals’ reasoning and action. if politeness norms are seen as fixed and observer-independent. they frequently justify their interpretations with respect to this or that social norm. people will have conditional preferences for obeying a norm. then. As Bicchieri points out. (Bicchieri 2006: 2) If norms are treated as observer-dependent and subject to change as described in this paragraph. the danger that Eelen identifies is real. AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . Two major themes emerge from this investigation: the regulatory role of Politeness1 norms. what is more. if we want to explain human behaviour. That does not ipso facto make the theory a normative one. What is important to understand is that. how they change. is to understand and account for participants’ linguistic behaviour. since norms are important to humans on both social and cognitive grounds. in this article is precisely to begin to understand Politeness1 norms and the relationships between them by studying the forms they took in different cultures and historical periods. On the contrary. as a wealth of experimental evidence seems to suggest (Bicchieri 2006). his account. then norms will figure prominently in any theory of linguistic im/politeness (cf. My aim. part of our investigation (though not all of it) should focus on norms themselves: how they come about (both phylogenetically and ontogenetically). and expecting that enough other people are following it in those kinds of situations. then. then. Given the right kind of expectations.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 162 Marina Terkourafi ness into a static notion. Eelen 2001: 186). the very existence of a social norm depends on a sufficient number of people believing that it exists and pertains to a given type of situation. is oblivious to the fact that politeness (and impoliteness) do not generally remain perpetually in flux for participants themselves: participants typically do interpret each other’s utterances as polite (or impolite). meaning that preferences will be conditional on having expectations about people’s conformity. norms need not be shared: they must simply be assumed to be shared. and if this behaviour makes reference to norms. If our aim. Such expectations and preferences will result in collective behaviours that further confirm the existence of the norm in the eyes of its followers [emphasis mine]. to play this crucial role in what Eelen calls the “evaluative moment” of im/politeness (2001: 35). nevertheless. Granted that.

or. Tracking norms of im/politeness across space and time In this section. indeed. for various reasons. and about speaking gently (maxim 25) and with restraint (epilogue. The notions of Politeness1 that emerge from these texts give us some insight into what it has meant to be “polite” for people in different places and at different times in human history. and 760 763. 61). I examine canonical understandings of politeness as captured in didactic and/or prescriptive works from different parts of the world and from antiquity to this day. some common themes are also possible to discern. we will see that many societies. Similar instructions can be found in other ancient Egyptian texts belonging to the Ancient Near Eastern genre known as “wisdom literature”. my aim is ultimately to arrive in a bottom-up fashion at an empirically grounded notion of Politeness2 that will do justice to these divergent points of view. This overview is not meant to be exhaustive and focuses only on those texts that proved most influential and achieved a lasting impact. and honest. or the other way around. Hesiod’s Works and Days is a general didactic work from around 700 BCE. and. one finds instructions about how to behave at the table (maxim 7). which deal with interpersonal relationships. By locating potential points of contact between Politeness1 norms. a text of the late Old Kingdom (second half of the second millennium BCE). although there is a degree of variability. consisting of thirty-seven maxims addressed by the Vizier Ptahhotep to his son (Lichtheim 1973: 7. and China The earliest writings about politeness date back to the ancient Egyptians.1. 2. which talk about one’s reputation and good name. especially in lines 706 722. with either morals motivating manners. was composed in Hebrew around 180 BCE but is preserved only in its Greek translation. Ancient Egypt. without for that matter being identified with one of them. With respect to the second theme. but the directionality of this relationship could go either way. 2. Also known as Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach and as Ecclesiasticus. it is part AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . the Book of Sirach. Another didactic work. the two being assigned to different realms and having little to do with each other.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 163 and their ambivalent relationship with morals. in the antechamber (maxim 13). There. India. line 618). It is mostly about farming but some material related to politeness can also be found. The most widely cited text in this regard is The Instruction of Ptahhotep. distinguished between manners and morals. Of these. among injunctions to be humble. which also includes archaic Greek and Hebrew texts7. moderate.

“becoming a quality person” was a social and cultural achievement in another ancient tradition. “helps us to understand the distinctly ‘aesthetic’ quality of Confucian morality. manuals codifying established norms of behaviour appeared in other cultures from which written records survive. MT] and a society shaped by models of propriety. ‘manners’. cf. Adab is a key term in classical Arabic literature that can be translated.” note Hall and Ames (1998). as ‘good breeding’. Written in Sanskrit and consisting of 2.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 164 Marina Terkourafi of the Old Testament apocrypha and contains several references to politeness. who thus provided a living model of propriety. depending on the context. verse 130. The content of the term has shifted over time. Propriety leads to ‘proper’ conduct in one’s relationships by at once reinforcing traditionally appropriate norms while at the same time insisting that they be internalized and ‘made one’s own’”. Although in the Analects these rules are not spelled out explicitly in the form of aphorisms. Around the same time (second half of the first millennium BCE). Kshatriyas. especially in chapters 31 (about table manners) and 32 (about speaking with restraint). and (physical) action (12/1 3). starting with Islamic adab. and the rules of propriety apply equally to all (1/15. In the Analects of Confucius. speech. they can be inferred from references to the behaviour of the Master. 2. Upholding these prescribed norms made one a virtuous person (chapter 10. and Shudras).684 verses organized in twelve chapters. The Manava Dharma Shastra (‘The Laws of Manu’) was the earliest and most influential of these texts in India. In contrast with ancient India. ‘culture’. that of China. especially. including rules for sitting down and standing up. eating. Vaishyas. 12/5).2. and personal cleanliness (see. “The distinction between a society of principles [such as Western rationalized societies. ‘refinement’ or ‘belles lettres’ (Kilpatrick 1998: 54). so lasting was its influence that it provided the basis for the legal system of the British Raj in India nearly two millennia later. chapter 2)8. a work composed posthumously by his disciples between 475 and 221 BCE. propriety encompasses gaze. where caste was given by birth and virtue attained through solitary action9. Islamic adab The belief that externally appropriate behaviour is not only linked to an underlying morality but can also be instrumental to its attainment is also encountered in other cultural contexts. the Laws of Manu (Manu 1886) set out the proper conduct or ‘way’ (dharma) for each of the four castes (Brahmins. from signalling behaviour in conformity with tribal social norms in pre-Islamic times (Kilpatrick 1998: 54) to meaning culti- AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . Van de Walle 1991: 28). speaking.

Consequently. without the addition of successive layers of meaning having necessarily meant the abandonment of earlier ones (Böwering 1984: 66. This link is eloquently explained by Barbara Metcalf in her introduction to a volume on the Place of Adab in South Asian Islam. and regional patterns of behaviour of the conquered people (Böwering 1984: 62). Obedience to legal injunctions generally is both a good in itself and the means to self-transformation. Even feigned emotions serve a legitimate end. ideally makes it possible to act correctly without even the process of reflection. The earliest works on adab are the two Compendia on Manners composed in the early eighth century by Ibn al-Muqaffa’. “The central metaphor for personal development” in Islam. she writes. prayer. fast. As a convert to Islam and a non-native speaker of Arabic himself. Divinely revealed ritual actions. (Metcalf 1984: 10) The intimate link between manners and morals outlined in this passage is worth noticing for two reasons. Persian and Greek ideas about morality. and pilgrimage. 78)11 and overall tendency not to distinguish “between personal virtues and habits of politesse specific to the secretarial profession” (Kaufmann 1997: 15): in a society in flux. a translator and prose-writer of Persian origin who served as a secretary in the Abbasid court (750 1258 CE)10. such as that of the cosmopolitan early Islamic state. which highlights the geographical and temporal expanse of these ideas. adab covers a range of meanings from ethical conduct to social etiquette to one’s inner cultivation through literature. and the two will be intimately linked12.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 165 vated behaviour defined precisely in opposition to these earlier norms (Metcalf 1984: 3). Actions reflect true knowledge and actions create that truth. alms. First. Kaufmann 1997: 6 7). al-Muqaffa’ sought to empower the class of secretaries who were often foreigners at court. outward behaviour may well be all that is available to appraise one’s character. This may well explain his insistence on the importance of speaking Arabic without a trace of a foreign accent (Kaufmann 1997: 74. yet emerging from their refinement in the urban environment of Islam and encompassing. above all the attestation of faith. if repeated often enough. Jewish and Christian attitudes. for the Prophet himself taught that one should pretend to weep if one did not do so naturally. for moral choices create a pattern that ultimately. because it turns received ideas AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . is that of habit or malaka through which outer action transforms or colors the soul. in order to cultivate the appropriate emotion [emphasis mine]. in addition to the Qur’anic teachings and model conduct of the Prophet and his Companions. act on man in ways beyond his comprehension […].

such as Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (ca. Here. (Aristotle. g. nor coarse and boorish. in sitting or reclining. but just enough to avoid boorish AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . and a certain propriety in the sort of things we say and in our manner of saying them. or. But the intimate link between manners and morals described in this passage is also important for another reason: because it forces us to rethink the separation of manners from morals that pervades contemporary Western ideas about etiquette (e. 2. our eyes. [I]n standing or walking. the clothes do maketh the man. for Aristotle. Classical antiquity Far from being unique to non-Western thought.’ In these matters we must avoid especially the two extremes our conduct and speech should not be effeminate and over-nice. for Cicero. 350 BCE) and Cicero’s De Officiis (‘On Duties’. However. Nicomachean Ethics 4. This raises the alternative possibility that.3.. or the movements of our hands. too. We must besides present an appearance of neatness not too punctilious or exquisite. let us preserve what we have called ‘propriety.. Gillingham 2002: 281 284) and should not be taken for granted (Georgia 1994: 172). g. their aim is not to prescribe norms of behaviour but rather to set out the components of virtue and happiness in order to help the reader attain them of his own accord.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 166 Marina Terkourafi about the relationship between manners and morals on their head: instead of treating manners as the externalization of a pre-existing cultivated inner self 13.8) Similarly. in our expression. the connection between morality and outward conduct is also found in foundational works of Western moral philosophy. the manners maketh the morals. Thus. Aresty 1970: 12). we feel that there is a certain standard of good taste in social behaviour. Like several of the texts cited in this section. in this case. Propriety is not unrelated to this pursuit. and it will also concern us whether those in whose company we speak or to whom we listen conform to the same rules of propriety. and also in the sort of things we allow to be said to us. in adab the directionality of this causal relationship is reversed. [L]ife also includes relaxation. 44 BCE). on the other. in true performative fashion. these works are addressed from father to son. on the one hand. suggesting instead that this separation is the product of specific socio-historical circumstances (e. and one form of relaxation is playful conversation.

93 4) In the Ethics. the latter were also available in classical antiquity. and is “the closest we’ve got to an actual etiquette manual” from this period (first to second century CE. for in Greek it is called prepon (‘befitting’). as it were. and what is morally right is proper. (Cicero. Cato’s Dis- AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . the noblest.8) If these philosophical works are at several levels of remove from manuals of more direct utility. 2. in Latin. The classical legacy in the Middle Ages A pagan gnomic source-book composed in the third century CE by an otherwise unknown author. (Cicero. However. In ‘On Duties’. a sort of polish to life […]. Nicomachean Ethics 1. Under this head is further included what. We must follow the same principle in regard to dress. personal communication). and consisting of fifty-seven monostichs and 144 couplets in non-rhyming classical metre. external conduct and underlying morality are inseparable. and the pleasantest of things: these qualities are not separated. That is the one in which we find considerateness and selfcontrol. Earlier works by Xenocrates and by Aristotle himself (both fourth century BCE). (Aristotle. among others. 128 131) Moreover. Plutarch’s Quaestiones Convivales (‘Table talk’ in Moralia 612c 748d) covered such topics as sitting arrangements and conversation topics at symposia.4. Robin Nadeau. for what is proper is morally right. Aristotle concurs: [H]appiness is at once the best. For whatever propriety may be. may be called decorum ¬ (‘propriety’). are now lost but surviving descriptions suggest that they also contained significant material related to etiquette and (table) manners15. De Officiis I. which give. as well as by Ennius (third to second century BCE). The nature of the difference between morality and propriety can be more easily felt than expressed. the classical work that proved most influential on posterity was Cato’s Distichs (Dionysii Catonis Disticha de Moribus ad Filium)16. it is manifested only when there is pre-existing moral rectitude [emphasis mine].AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 167 and ill-bred slovenliness. De Officiis I. that it is inseparable from moral goodness. Such is its essential nature. Cicero writes14: We have next to discuss the one remaining division of moral rectitude. Dionysius Cato.

skill/art is deceived with skill/art. Nevertheless. 1360 1387). based on a cynical and calculating view of human motives. [t]he wisdom of the Distichs was that of the worldly and the practical. In dealing with these issues. William Langland was scathing in his critique: In other science it says I saw it in Catoun ‘he who pretends with words. while four centuries later. neighbours. did not prevent the Distichs from achieving a lasting impact rivalled only by that of the biblical wisdom books (Taylor 1992: 25). and pray for our enemies17. however. [… but …] he would have done so out of self-interest. notoriety did not necessarily translate into undisputed acceptance. to the author’s son. is not a faithful friend with his heart.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 168 Marina Terkourafi tichs is a work that owes much of its popularity over the next thirteen centuries to the fact that it was used as the set text for teaching Latin in primary schools well into Early Modern times. servants. Chaucer wrote “He knew no Catoun. and “the religiously minded were often troubled by those Distichs in which ‘Cato’. (theology) teaches us the contrary against Catoun’s words. In this way. whoso takes heed. ‘if he had followed to the letter the precepts given him. As late as the fourteenth century. Addressed. (Gillingham 2002: 279) It has indeed been characterized as “[o]ne of the paradoxes of a supposedly Christian and clerical medieval culture […] that throughout this period the standard primary schoolbook was a pagan and secular one” (Gillingham 2002: 280). (Taylor 1992: 31). the Distichs was among the first books that Benjamin Franklin chose to print (in James Logan’s English translation) in the puritan New World (Lemay 2005: 118). would have cultivated patience. to highlight that character’s lack of manners. for (theology) bids us to be as brothers. And you [should] do the same. recommended dissimulation or concealment” (Gillingham 2002: 279). The reader. temperance and fortitude’. not out of any higher motive. it contains a wealth of domestic advice on how to deal with one’s wife. This. following the genre’s conventions. But Theology teaches not so. If the utilitarian bent of Cato’s advice not to mention the effect of refined manners on women. Attacking one of these passages in his allegorical poem Piers Plowman (written ca. household accounts etc. like courtesy books. who found them simply irresistible (Gilling- AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . Cato’s emphasis on self-interest was contrary to the religious sentiments of the Middle Ages. in 1735. prudence. for his wit was rude” of the carpenter in The Miller’s Tale.’ This is Catoun’s instruction to clerks that he teaches.

scholars had started replacing classical sources with biblical ones (Taylor 1992: 26). Echoing this point of view in modern times. Where the Distichs advocated worldly wisdom. how to deal with friends and enemies. The time of these developments coincided with a period when political power was gradually shifting from monasteries to aristocratic courts. sexual immorality. courtly literature added elegance and refinement” (Gillingham 2002: 283). rather than the monastery. Consequently. urbanus.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 169 ham 2002: 268 fn. cause. that the beginnings of a separation between manners and underlying morality in Western thought should most likely be sought. notions (Carre ´ 1994.839 lines of Daniel of Beccles’s Liber Urbani (‘The Book of the Civilized Man’). 4) seem to have contributed to this change of heart. occasionally even antithetical. all roughly equivalent to contemporary ‘polite’. [and] how to choose a patron or a wife” (Gillingham 2002: 273 275). and curialis. author Evelyn Waugh wrote in 1956: “[i]f you examine the accumulated code of precepts which define the gentle- AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . to this transitional period between the late Middle Ages and Early Modernity. being associated with hypocrisy. which drew admiration […]. that the new genre of courtesy literature was forged during the twelfth century (Gillingham 2002: 283). they are not its sole. and even heresy (Gillingham 2002: 282 283). In the mouths of the austerely religious. “the most substantial courtesy poem in any language” (Gillingham 2002: 272). and adapting secular teachings to suit religious sensibilities (Taylor 1992: 31). It is. From then on. and to the attendant competition for power between the monastic and courtly spheres. however. Already in the postCarolingian period. 2003: 41 42). or even primary. these adjectives took on distinctly negative connotations. monastic clergy’s rejection of courtly manners was equally motivated by worldly motives. only about 7 per cent concerned itself with behaviour in the church. who populated the ranks of the monastic clergy. the two would be treated increasingly as separate. as can be seen in the ambivalent use of three key adjectives typical of the new genre. these same adjectives had a positive meaning: they “drew attention to behaviour that was attractive and charming. while twice as much was separately devoted to household management. it was in the environment of the court. who “were the first to see the value of [gentleness of spirit]” for “surviv[ing] in the competitive hothouse of court society” (Gillingham 2002: 278). facetus. then. 172. Watts 2002. Georgia 1994: 98. and almost double that to general advice about “how to hold a conversation. and to the duties and problems of a wide range of vocations. In counterpoint. The declining concern about all matters religious in the new genre was also expressed in quantitative terms: of the 2. For court clergy.

to the Instruction of Any that “comes from the sphere of the middle class and is meant for the average man” (Lichtheim 1976: 135) and eventually the Instruction of Anqhsheshonq in which “the moralizing is down-to-earth and utilitarian rather than lofty and idealistic. It is important to remember. which may after all have simply accelerated trends begun earlier. according to Gillingham (2002: 277 278). however. a much better picture of the evolution of the genre is obtained by taking into account works in all of these languages rather than just those written in English. for all its insight. the notion of “courtesy” was transformed into that of “civility” (Bryson 1998). all of which is “in keeping with the evolution of Egyptian society and with the growth of the middle class” (Lichtheim 1976: 135). Elias’s study focusing on Erasmus’s celebrated treatise De Civilitate Morum Puerilium (1532) may have overstated its case somewhat. Much has been made of this transformation in terms of a “civilizing process” that spread across Europe’s rising urban middle classes (Elias 2000 [1939]). A similar attitude is found in AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . “[t]welfth-century courtesy literature was written in Latin. so much so that sometimes expediency takes the place of moral principle” (Lichtheim 1980: 160). Once earlier Latin and Anglo-Norman works are taken into account. what remains undeniable is that the expansion of the genre beyond court circles brought with it a pressing need for expediency and a shift of emphasis toward outward display and the regulation of daily social practices. continuities between the two periods emerge and the break between them appears less dramatic than what was previously assumed. 2. As he points out. Parallels abound. From the “courtier” to the “new man” With the expansion of the target audience of these works from the hereditary aristocracy of medieval courts to a class of self-made “new men” making their way up the social ladder. While it may thus be time for a reassessment of the rise of civility. starting with ancient Egypt. Consequently. part of an elite culture common to all Western Europe. However. From the thirteenth century onwards we have courtesy poems written in Anglo-Norman” while the first texts in the English language do not appear until the fifteenth century (Gillingham 2002: 269 270).5. where a progression can be observed from “the maxims [of Ptahhotep] that embody the pragmatic wisdom of the upper-class Egyptian” (Lichtheim 1973: 7) and aim to instil a pious sense of morality in the reader. that this need for expediency is not unique to this historical period or geographical region. It is perhaps not a coincidence that Waugh was a staunch Catholic himself.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 170 Marina Terkourafi ´ man you will find that almost all are negative” (cited in Carre 1994: 1 2).

it was typically to advise the young man how to select a wife. when women were mentioned. for the longest time. Finally. which ap´ peared in 1528 (Carre 1994: 7.6. by extension. Georgia 1994: 86). such as Aulus Gellius in the second century CE. women had remained conspicuously absent from literature dealing with politeness and proper conduct. in the West at least. however.. one of the most enduring conventions across places and historical periods has been for the works to be addressed by father to son and. But even then. they remained unaddressed (Gillingham 2002: 272). women had to wait well over a century for the first books explicitly addressed to them to appear. 275). ‘wit’. Gillingham 2002: 270 271. In the earliest works. the rise of the conduct book ought to be seen against the background of the post-Reformation period in England and the specific needs of a newly mobile and socially ambitious society for a more democratic collection of guidelines (Georgia 1994: 85 88). Kaufmann 1997: 13. This triggered a process of secularization that was expressed. the medieval Arabic concept of zarf. It may seem strange to us today when “[t]he teaching and enforcement of ‘manners’ is often considered to be the preserve of women” (Mills 2003: 203) but. came to be associated with “[u]rbanization and its concomitant phenomenon of an urbane” (Szombathy 2006: 114) and was similarly accompanied by a shift toward more worldly pursuits and the attenuation of the religious and moral high standards of earlier epochs (Szombathy 2006: 109 110). In addition to the catalytic role of women (to which I return below). From the sphere of religion to the female sphere Until the seventeenth century. as in the twelfth century Liber Urbani. Indeed. came with the subsequent expansion of the genre to yet another new audience: women (Georgia 1994: 78). or ‘resourcefulness’ ø (Giffen 1998: 821). ‘charm’. Van de Walle 1992: 33 35. The first work in which women appear to be held in high(er) esteem was Castiglione’s Il libro del Cortegiano (‘The Book of the Courtier’). which now morphed into the new genre of the conduct book. which advertise themselves as “a short-cut for the reader in a hurry” (Taylor 1992: 31). women were often depicted as untrustworthy and a potential source of embarrassment that should be carefully managed or ignored (e. Even when women were understood to be part of the author’s intended audience. by (male) teacher to (male) disciple18. g. not so much as the whole- AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . politeness was a male business. in the Islamic world.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 171 some classical texts. meaning ‘elegance’. The appearance of women on the scene brought yet another transformation of the genre. Perhaps the greatest push for expediency. published in England in 167319. 2. Among the earliest was The Gentlewoman’s Companion.

Many gods have been done away with. The implication is that in one sense this secular world is not so irreligious as we might think. some persons will find him contaminating while others will find they contaminate him.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 172 Marina Terkourafi sale abandonment of religious values. yet. as expressed in books like The Gentlewoman’s Companion” (Georgia 1994: ´ 87 88. while “earlier courtesy books contented themselves with providing general precepts and allowing the reader to use his own judgement”. the “near obsession with politeness” (Georgia 1994: 98) in eighteenth-century England can be explained as the result of a renewed emphasis on the regulatory potential of politeness in the wake of the decreasing influence of religion in this regard. The underlying link between politeness and religion has not gone unnoticed in contemporary sociological works that are considered foundational of the field of politeness studies. as one might expect if the cultivation of an AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . In contacts between such deities there is no need for middlemen. each of these gods is able to serve as his own priest. Perhaps the individual is so viable a god because he can actually understand the ceremonial significance of the way he is treated. Goffman theorized this link as follows: I have suggested that Durkheimian notions about primitive religion can be translated into concepts of deference and demeanour. and quite on his own respond dramatically to what is proffered him. Carre 1994: 5). He walks with some dignity and is the recipient of many little offerings. cf. Seen in this light. He is jealous of the worship due him. but rather as an implicit recasting of Protestant ethics in the terms of the new genre (Carre 1994: 6). (Goffman 1967: 95) The potential for social regulation that Goffman identifies in this passage as being shared between politeness and religion is what enables the emphasis to shift from one to the other according to the prevailing social and historical circumstances. The ´ waning of the explicit influence of religion left a gap to be filled by “a new method for social control […]. approached in the right spirit. A consequence of this shift was the further decoupling of manners from morals that had already been set in motion a few centuries earlier. As Georgia (1994: 92) puts it. Because of their status relative to his. but the individual himself stubbornly remains as a deity of considerable importance. In an oft-quoted passage. in either case finding that they must treat him with ritual care. and that method was manners. and that these concepts help us to grasp some aspects of urban secular living. he is ready to forgive those who may have offended him.

as captured in Goffman’s analysis of deference and demeanour (1967: 95 and above): adherence to the dictates of polite conduct/standard discourse provides a means for counteracting the perception of Otherness.2). books began to describe women’s conduct in daily social life. a possibility that was not open to their male peers. as Watts (2002) has suggested for English. a path seems to be traced from educated/standard language to polite language or vice versa. with the minutiae of daily social practices occupying more and ´ more of its pages (Georgia 1994: 78. the rise of the conduct book (and attendant “decline” of courtesy into conduct) is related. Aresty 1970: 59. Georgia’s account of the potential of manners to symbolically “elevat[e] women’s status somewhat” (1994: 61) is reminiscent of Trudgill’s (1974: 94) explanation of his findings with respect to the (ng) variable in Norwich English and women’s preference for the standard variant thereof. However. or whatever other social AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . to another social development: the slow but certain emancipation of women (Georgia 1994: 68). with linguistic and social regulation mutually reinforcing each other and leading to the identification of polite and standard language as a natural outcome of their combined effect. cf. women took a keen interest in manners: “[f ]or the first time. In each case. as mentioned earlier. “the later etiquette book [takes] the rhetorical stance that social laws are codified” and concerns itself largely with codifying these laws.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 173 underlying morality was still at least part of their goal. those books came to be written more frequently by women themselves” (Georgia 1994: 69). At a time when women had not yet joined the workforce. Ibn al-Muqaffa’s emphasis on proper diction and lack of tolerance for foreign-accented speech. ´ Parallel to the weakening of religious influence. ethnicity. what was recast later in more general terms by Hudson as the “Sex/Prestige pattern” (1996: 193). and in the process. this trend contributed to a sense of moral decline that has been dubbed “the crisis of courtesy and its attendant decline into mere conduct [emphasis mine]” (Carre 1994: 2). which he saw as central to the notion of Islamic adab (see Section 2. The underlying principle seems once more to be inclusion/exclusion. As a result. it also points to a wider association between correctness in manners and correctness in language which is found in many cultures and in different historical periods. adhering to norms of propriety became for them a means of improving their social situation by marrying “upwards”. Carre 1994: 2). For instance. As the transitional genre between these two forms. constructed on the grounds of gender. Over time. for whom social advancement was tied to professional and financial success (Georgia 1994: 68). exemplifies the same trend. this time motivated by considerations of ethnicity rather than gender. the conduct book shows evidence of this trend.

this role was played by women. until they are finally treated as one and the same. Almost ten years later.7. now in the shape of the contemporary etiquette book.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 174 Marina Terkourafi category is deemed pertinent each time. “women were counselled to be more vigilant than men in their possible breaches of etiquette and to master the laws to a finer degree”. So. etiquette became a socially favoured means of “maintaining divisions of gender and class in a society that has historically refused to acknowledge social stratification in its narratives of success” (Hemphill 1999. was increasingly both written by women and addressed to them (Georgia 1994: 69. English borrowed also its Middle French successor. it is important to realize that the link between standard language and polite language is crucially mediated by perhaps. From etiquette to netiquette By the end of the nineteenth century. etiquet. According to Aresty. if being introduced to the world of politeness (manuals) was initially seen as a sign of emancipation for women. it derives from the same family of semantically related terms. and even discriminating against them. 2. The English term etiquette derives from the ´ French e(s)tiquette meaning ‘label’. which was in turn borrowed back into French as ticket. When it comes to eighteenth-century England. the trend begun during the late seventeenth century had spread to both sides of the Atlantic and politeness literature. in 1995. netiquette acquired its first official man- AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . public attention has shifted to questions of internet etiquette or netiquette. which gave rise to English ticket. over time it became a subtle means of keeping them apart. As Young writes. reported in Young 2010: 239). middle-class women’s behaviour” (Mills 2003: 203). Developments during this period thus largely shaped contemporary Western stereotypes about politeness as “a prototypical description of white.to late-nineteenthcentury American etiquette manuals. Two centuries after borrowing the Old French term. for the other. who therefore served as the necessary catalyst in this respect. “metonymically” so to speak. In other words. while etiquette did not originally refer to that which secures access to a closed-off social circle20. estiquette originally referred to “the list of rules and regulations attached to a post in the courtyards of feudal castles and palaces [which] could be torn down and changed daily if necessary” (1970: 13). Nevertheless. presupposes a socially constructed Other. the “access” afforded by etiquette was not unconditional. in mid. a term which has been in use at least since 198321. More recently. In this way. Young 2010: 239). to attach’. from the Old French verb estiquier. ´ ‘to stick. it is not long before one comes to stand in. Since linguistic and social regulation both serve the same end.

This confirms that a primary function of Politeness1 norms is a gatekeeping one. Again. AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . At the same time. accessed 13 December 2010) This rationale reiterates several themes also found in some of the cultures and/or historical periods discussed above. Haugh 2003: 399 400). or the feeling that “etiquette [is] merely ‘ethics in the diminutive’” (McKendrick 2007 cited in Young 2010: 235). also seen in the case of the “decline” of courtesy ´ into conduct (Carre 1994: 2). we are reminded. they merely need to be quickly familiarized with it so that their presence among the ranks of internet users will not be disruptive (to the old users). To start with. “descriptive” norms.org/html/rfc1855. the community of Internet users includes people who are new to the environment. or civility to conduct. cf. “newbies” do not need to understand all the intricacies of the culture.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 175 ual when the Intel Corporation circulated an informational memo titled Netiquette Guidelines. the following rationale is given: In the past. netiquette is no exception to this. Prescriptive norms. Today. (http://tools. it is the expansion of the target audience that creates the need for explicitly outlining practices that were previously unwritten yet silently agreed on and unproblematically followed by a select few who had “grown up” with these principles. and understood the nature of the transport and the protocols.ietf. for instance. norms about what one should do vs. Netiquette Guidelines emerge later. In the Introduction to these Guidelines. in other words. Finally. were technically minded. the population of people using the Internet had ‘grown up’ with the Internet. invented set of practices but rather to codify existing ones. courtesy to civility. this Guide offers a minimum set of behaviors which organizations and individuals may take and adapt for their own use [emphasis mine]. norms about what one is likely to do (Terkourafi 2005: 244. This is interesting because it blurs the boundary between what I have elsewhere called “prescriptive” vs. In the name of the preservation of the existing social order. not in order to propose a new. These ‘Newbies’ are unfamiliar with the culture and don’t need to know about transport and protocols. the temporal gap between the emergence of the term netiquette and the publication of these guidelines is also telling. expediency is ratified and so is the consequent shift toward outward compliance without deeper understanding. this is the now familiar scenario resulting in the separation of manners from morals. Once more in line with a trend observed across cultures and historical periods. In order to bring these new users into the Internet culture quickly. parallel with the processes of social transformation that mediated the passage from. that is.

Netiquette have been shaped. especially in the earliest texts. This opening up of the scope of the investigation is useful because it allows certain common themes to emerge. during all historical periods and in all cultures. 3. because they are intertwined from the outset. If impo- AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . Understandably. their grip over society can be very strong. with which they were closely intertwined. Ehlich 1992. today’s Etiquette book. politeness norms closely resemble religious creeds. Watts 2003: 34 41. The first of these themes is the social regulatory role of Politeness1 norms. while at the same time constraining future practices and so feeding back into the descriptive norms that gave rise to them in the first place. It is against this social regulatory role of Politeness1 norms that the deregulatory role of impoliteness can also be fully appreciated. as politeness theorists have argued (Leech 1983: 10. the process is never an entirely topdown or bottom-up one. ignore them at your own peril. If prescriptive norms are the domain of Politeness1 and descriptive ones belong rather to the realm of Politeness2. legitimizing and consolidating it further. in dialogue with both previous genres and the social conditions of the time. the Conduct book. g. prescriptive norms historically follow and reflect descriptive ones. the overview presented in the previous sections suggests that concepts of Politeness1 have existed.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 176 Marina Terkourafi never materialize out of thin air. then it should come as no surprise that Politeness1 and Politeness2 are hard to keep apart (Eelen 2001: 177 179): they cannot be kept apart in principle. Rather. and most recently. perhaps unsurprisingly. We have seen how a succession of genres from wisdom literature through philosophical and gnomic works to the Courtesy book. This allows them to play a gatekeeping role which is central to the smooth operation of society as we know it. Politeness1 norms effect social regulation inasmuch as they contribute to the reproduction of the social order that gave rise to them in the first place.. Politeness1 norms typically emanate from the upper classes and are a reflection of their power. From Politeness1 to Politeness2: Take II While recent accounts possibly influenced by the work of Elias (see Section 2. more than their moral aspect (to which I will return in a moment). In this. However. and you will go far. what seems to bind together polite and religious principles is their association with the ruling class.5 above) have picked up the thread of “politeness” some time around the late Middle Ages and the emergence of the concept of “courtoisie” (e. Felix-Brasdefer ´ 2008: 7 10). Lakoff 1977: 86). Politeness1 norms thus function as “carrot” and “stick” at one and the same time: abide by them.

It is symptomatic of this state of affairs that manuals for rudeness are few and far in between. Note. is not imputed upon the situation by the analyst. however. as Eelen claims. Eelen (2001: 181 183) argues that such a characterization is normative in that it embodies a (mainstream White) point of view. In other words. these practices are not experienced as impolite by the youths themselves but rather as strengthening their sense of solidarity and community belonging. The second theme that emerges from this overview of Politeness1 norms in different cultures and historical periods is their ambivalent relationship with morals. but is rather inherent in the practice itself. whereas. I would argue that a more adequate analysis of this phenomenon follows from Leech’s (1983) analysis of banter as a second-order phenomenon parasitical upon canonical/mainstream notions of Politeness1: subverting these canonical notions is precisely the means by which banter fulfils its solidarity-enhancing function. Which was assigned to you the first day. in order to work. AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . The normative point of view. and when they do appear. then. In sum. among others. A theory of im/politeness (or Politeness2) should account for this finding by incorporating a reference to norms. it is because. impoliteness undermines that order and aims to subvert it. exemplified. For instance. by the sounding practices of New York African American youths first analyzed by Labov (1972). often closely associated with the divine. rather than promoting the reproduction of the existing social order. maxim 13 of the Instruction of Ptahhotep reads: If you are in the antechamber. banter necessitates that participants not only be aware of Politeness1 norms but also that they acknowledge such norms as canonical ones.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 177 liteness has so far been absent from this discussion. impoliteness at the same time presupposes Politeness1: without a target to subvert the existing social order embodied in Politeness1 norms impoliteness cannot exercise its subversive function. that in aiming to subvert the existing social order. politeness and morality appear to be two sides of the same coin. they aim at a humorous and entertaining effect22. stand and sit as fits your rank. In the earlier texts. and should therefore be taken seriously and accounted for. This is true even of banter. Criticizing scholars’ classification of these practices as “mock impoliteness [emphasis mine]”. the mere possibility of impoliteness and related notions such as banter confirms the social regulatory role of Politeness1. Do not trespass you will be turned back. as in the recent How to be rude! A training manual for mastering the art of rudeness (Montry 2002). he continues. none of these could work if social regulation were not an important function of Politeness1 in the first place.

only there are doubts as to whether this outward appearance matches the speaker’s actual intentions” (Eelen 2001: 41). (Lichtheim 1973: 67) But politeness and morality can also be viewed as inseparable without reference to the divine. but also. Yet. AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . He who uses elbows is not helped. However. with Islamic adab (see Section 2. The rise of the middle class. create a model for practice in which artful speech is both ‘the index of the soul’ […] and the means by which speakers become sincere and ethically attuned [emphasis mine]. and eighteenth-century Britain. ‘beautiful and (morally) good’). respectively. as Young argues. This is the case.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 178 Marina Terkourafi […] It is the god who gives advancement. 94). This creates the possibility of a two-way relationship between them. virtue and veneer […] The rules of conversational etiquette. the existence of two separate lexemes rather than one honestas vs.23 succinctly captured in Cicero’s aphorism: “what is proper is morally right. urbanization. this relationship went from (underlying) morality to (surface) politeness: “[propriety] is manifested only when there is pre-existing moral rectitude [emphasis mine]” (De Officiis I. and the emancipation of women played this catalytic role in ancient Egypt. phenomena. medieval Islam.2). We have here a reiteration of the classical ideal ¬ œ ¬ of kalow kagauow (lit. blurring distinctions between character and outward comportment. This opens the way for “politeness [to be] seen as hypocritical or insincere […]. Emptied of moral content. if interdependent. a faint and potentially treacherous reflection of one’s underlying morality. in this light. For Cicero. 94). the opposite is also possible. the secularization of society. (Young 2010: 242 244) The intimate relationship between morality and politeness described so far can become strained at times of rapid social transformation. with (at least some) nineteenth-century American etiquette books: the end goal for many advice writers and perhaps also for polite practitioners was to make manners sincere. when competing interests can pull the two apart relegating them to different spheres. and what is morally right is proper” (De Officiis I. [T]he speaker’s linguistic behaviour is evaluated as “polite”. the European Middle Ages. authenticity and artifice. politeness becomes “mere conduct”. for instance. decorum suggests an awareness of morality and politeness as two distinct.

Mills 2003: 73. What this means for a theory of im/politeness is that. 260). Crucially. Watts 2003: 18. resembling in this respect religious and moral principles (from which Politeness1 norms are often indistinguishable. alongside norms. cited in Carre 1994: 1 2). this is to some degree a culturally-biased perspective. while Politeness1 will always encompass an evaluative moment.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 179 Much has been made in the recent im/politeness literature of this possibility for politeness to be negatively evaluated (cf. Increasing attention to the distinction between these two different “orders” of politeness over the past couple of decades has led AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . evaluation never takes place just for the sake of evaluation. sexual. What will remain constant in both cases is the passing of a judgement on the speaker based on her verbal behaviour. liking of the addressee. In playing this role. Summary and conclusions I have surveyed a number of influential texts capturing Politeness1 norms in different parts of the world from antiquity to this day. Yet. Politeness1 norms perform an important gate-keeping (or social categorization) function which is fundamental to the preservation of a social order. in that. Politeness2 should account for this (implicit or explicit) measuring up of one’s behaviour against some standard without necessarily predicting the direction of the evaluation. by implication. impoliteness) in these cultures. including her group (ethnic. or even mood of the moment. 94) to diametric opposition (the “precepts which define the gentleman ´ [… are …] almost all […] negative” (Waugh. despite being true of politeness in several unrelated times and places. 4. depending on this judgement. Eelen 2001: 36 7. These interactional consequences are stressed time and again by the authors of the manuals overviewed earlier. This investigation revealed two overarching themes about the role of politeness (and. In other words. and so on) affiliation. it is morally charged and leads to interactional consequences. and constitute. which may be positive or negative. This judgement may be about any number of aspects related to the speaker. especially in the earlier texts). These two themes constitute opportune starting points for working our way back from Politeness1 norms to a theory of im/politeness (or Politeness 2). a second component of a theory of im/politeness (or Politeness2) that emerges from our investigation of Politeness1 norms. and what is morally right is proper” in Cicero’s De Officiis I. The first concerns the social regulatory role of Politeness1 norms. the addressee ` will go on to position himself in particular ways vis-a-vis the speaker. The second theme that emerged from this investigation concerns precisely this relationship of Politeness1 norms with an underlying morality. as I hope to have shown above. it is not true of all of them. a relationship which spans the range from identification (“what is proper is morally right.

the analysis presented in this article goes some way toward explaining why it has been so difficult to keep these two notions apart in previous research. socio-historical linguistics. I propose that the first may be captured by incorporating into a theory of im/politeness the notion of a cognitive frame (Terkourafi 1999. (2001: 75 76) By affording us with some glimpses into the intertwining of Politeness1 and Politeness2. Specifically. In Terkourafi (forthcoming). and construction grammar(s). 2008). Her work has appeared in journals such as Cognition and Emotion. and the fact that they lead to interactional consequences in virtue of being morally charged. Currently. Journal of Pragmatics. I build on norms of Politeness1. theories of im/politeness. specializing in post-Gricean pragmatics. Bionotes Marina Terkourafi is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Journal of Historical Pragmatics. Language in Society. while the second leads us to the notion of face (as revised by Terkourafi 2007. The search for a theory based on one undiluted by elements of the other is destined to fail precisely because it fails to acknowledge their intimate intertwining. Some frameworks claim a Politeness2 viewpoint […] but in the actual course of their analysis end up making claims and statements about what goes on in speakers’ heads. Diachronica. making these two into central elements of an empirically grounded theory of Politeness2. or confronted with ordinary speakers’ definitions or evaluations. Eelen (2001: 48 76) has convincingly argued that: Although very few theories make explicit statements about their orientation towards the distinction.AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 180 Marina Terkourafi to considerable soul-searching among politeness theorists regarding which of the two should form the basis of a theory of im/politeness. to extract from them the core elements of a theory of Politeness2. So the theoretical accounts invariably occupy an ambiguous position in relation to the distinction. as attested in manuals from different historical periods and cultures. 2001. it [is] nevertheless seen to be implicitly present in each account. 2009). she is working on a monograph ‘From politeness to impoliteness: AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . and Journal of Greek Linguistics. Other frameworks claim the opposite: their intention is to represent ‘local’ or commonsense notions of politeness […] but they end up with systems or models that lead to counterintuitive results or theoretically contradictory statements when consistently applied to actual cases. Two elements stand out: the social regulatory role of Politeness1 norms. I have attempted to trace an alternative path.

verse 240. All references are to George Bühler’s 1886 translation (Manu 1886). 9. and was inaugurated by Tahir’s epistle to his son (821 CE. For instance. 2008. use of the “illogical” neg-raised form in French is attributed to “the wish to attenuate the rigour of the defence [translation mine]” (Martinon 1927: 536). I am grateful to Eleanor Dickey for providing me with references to the Egyptian. and Watts (1992). translated into English by Kaufmann (1997: 191 240). before c.” 10. Leech (1983). and Ibn AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . gains his end. Works in this genre also include Al Jahiz’s Kitab al-Bukhala (‘Book of Misers’). I propose “face” and “frames” as such notions. without any companion. See also Terkourafi 2005. Fraser and Nolen (1981). “Im/politeness” is a notational shorthand for this expanded notion. 100 CE (Lichtheim 1980: 184). single (it suffers the punishment of its) sin”. practical-cum-ethical. Eelen’s critique focuses on theories that appeared from the 1970s to the 1990s. chapter 4. 1997: 197). 5. single it enjoys (the reward of its) virtue. 2005) and Locher and Watts (2005). For an alternative view. Ide (1989). 7. Arndt and Janney (1992). See al-Adab al-Kabir. and Leech (1983). E-mail: mt217@illinois. chapter 6. 2. These works are considered precursors of the genre of Mirrors of Princes.edu Notes 1. Brown and Levinson (1987 [1978]). who) neither forsakes nor is forsaken. I return to this point in Section 4. In an early account. Specifically. Instruction of Amenemope. Instruction of Papyrus Insinger. This first wave was led by Lakoff (1973). fully understanding that the solitary (man. single it dies. Regarding tense and aspect. 1500 1300 BCE (Lichtheim 1976: 135). Blum-Kulka (1987).” Finally. which served a twofold. followed by Brown and Levinson (1987 [1978]). She is also an Associate Editor for the International Review of Pragmatics and Co-Editor of the companion book series Empirical Foundations of Theoretical Pragmatics (both published by Brill). Instruction of Ankhsheshonq. A common term for V forms is of course the “plural of politeness” (Holton et al. Greek and Hebrew texts mentioned in this paragraph. Bosworth 1998: 528). Gu (1990). 3. reads: “Single is each being born. The tendency to associate particular forms with politeness is not a modern one: writing in the second century CE. as in English “I don’t think he’s coming” standing in for “I think he’s not coming”. similarly. Triantafyllidis 1963 [1927]: 148). 4. intention. Jespersen (1933: 285) noted that “It would seem or one would think is a more polite or guarded way of saying “it seems”. verse 42: “Let him always wander alone. and responses by Terkourafi (2005) and Haugh (2007). 6. see Watts (2003. while neg-raising is the phenomenon where a narrow-scope negation operator (internal) takes wide scope over the sentence (external).AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR Tracking norms of im/politeness across time and space 181 The frame-based approach’ (to be published by Cambridge University Press). in order to attain (final liberation). See: Instruction of Any. 1100 BCE (Lichtheim 1976: 147). Herodianus ¬ ¬ remarked that diminutives may be used “for decency” (dia to prepon . ‘The Minor Compendium on Manners’. he discusses: Lakoff (1973). which deals with the etiquette of meals and table manners among other things. 8. before c. and al-Adab alSaghir. 50 BCE (Lichtheim 1980: 159). Below. Triantafyllidis (1963 [1927]: 147) noted the use of diminutives in Modern Greek “to phrase something more politely”. I have elsewhere referred to these authors’ work jointly as the “traditional view” (Terkourafi 2005). ‘The Major Compendium on Manners’.

AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR 182 Marina Terkourafi 11. accessed 14 December 2010). 22. the same description ends by suggesting that “maybe. Among the works mentioned so far. 23. we’ll attempt to curb ourselves. 21. 350 BCE]. what external worship is with regard to the deity: a public testimony of our internal sentiments” (cited in Georgia 1994: 174). 1985. Aristotle. ‘custom’. Netiquette is the topic of several recent studies on im/politeness. 1908 [ca. References Aresty. by Cicero’s De Officiis I.197). see also Section 3 below. Horst & Richard Janney. It is worth noting. and Tahir’s Epistle to his son. Pace Georgia (1994: 87). The grammar of society: The nature and dynamics of social norms. Qutayba’s Adab al-katib (‘The Secretary’s Culture’) and Uyun al-akhbar (‘Quintessential reports’).amazon. see Nadeau (2010: 97 152). 19. in relation to the social regulatory role of Politeness1 norms discussed above. 281 300. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Hardaker (2010). who derives English etiquette from the French word for “ticket”.191 10. see also Section 2. and a special issue of the Journal of Politeness Research 6:1 (March 2010). morals. Confucius’ Analects. 13. and of Ankhsheshonq. character’. International Review of Applied Linguistics 23. 16. Cicero’s De Officiis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. that in classical Athens this became a fixed phrase by which the aristocracy referred to itself. for instance. Bicchieri. Cristina. New York: Simon & Schuster. 12. of Any. 14. For a chronological classification of similar gnomic works in the Western tradition from antiquity to 1450 CE.com/Rude-TrainingManual-Mastering-Rudeness/dp/0967248337. In other words. pl.26 in the original Latin. AUTHOR’S COPY | AUTORENEXEMPLAR . see Georgia (1994: 69 93). Esther. On the question of its authorship. addressed to the class of secretaries and the general public respectively (Bosworth 1998: 600). for instance. of the Instructions of Ptahhotep. Ross. this is true.6. including Hongladarom and Hongladarom (2005). see Taylor (1992: 23). 18. 15. Politeness revisited: Cross-modal supportive strategies. On the association between politeness and standard language. Although in the product description the book is characterized as a “humorous gift book”. if it has a didactic goal at all. 20. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. D. into becoming more considerate and hopefully. 1970. ‘manners. Langland cites Cato’s distich i. even a rudeness manual. I thank Benjamin Slade and Anthony Augoustakis for their help translating this excerpt. 17. In the second and third lines of this excerpt (Piers Plowman. This view is represented. cannot aim at anything other than politeness. mores. while by the fourth century the term had been appropriated by non-aristocrats as well (Donlan 1973). 93 4 (cited below) ¸ and by French eighteenth century author Francois-Vincent Toussaint. Arndt. A similar point is made with respect to the functionality of etiquette in 19th century American society by Young (2010: 237). who asserted that “civility is […] with respect to men. Nicomachean ethics. by becoming more aware. Translated by W. lines 10. 2006. The symposium appears to have been a locus of learning good manners already before the fourth century BCE. The best behaviour: The course of good manners from antiquity to the present as seen through courtesy and etiquette books. Georgia (1994: 172) makes a similar point based on the etymology of Latin moralis from mor-. For an overview of related works and in-depth analysis. polite!” (http://www. even a little bit.

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