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The Acquisition of Politeness in the Language of Children

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Thomas Schöll
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Seminar paper from the year 1997 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics, grade: 2,0 (B), University of Hannover (English Seminar), 9 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Introduction: Politeness as a General ConceptAccording to Brown and Levinson (1978) politeness is a complex system for all ...
Introduction: Politeness as a General Concept
According to Brown and Levinson (1978) politeness is a complex system for all human puplic and social interaction with the conventional politeness forms such as requests (e.g.: May I please use your phone?), excuses (e.g.: I'm very sorry for being late!), greetings (e.g.: Good evening, my dear Mister Jones.), orders (e.g.: Could you please be so kind as to give me the sugar?), claims (e.g.: Excuse me, this is my seat.), offers (e.g.: Would you like to have a cup of coffee?), 'please' and of course 'thank you'.
In 1973, Robin Lakoff pointed out that the system of politeness follows two major rules:

1. Be clear.
2. Be polite.
The first rule includes Grice's postulates accounting efficiency, economy and informativeness:

a) Quantity: Be as informative as required.
Be no more informative than required.
b) Quality: Say only what you believe to be true.
c) Relevance: Be relevant.
d) Manner: Be perspicuous.
Don't be ambiguous.
Don't be obscure.
Be succint.

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