Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Explaining cross-cultural pragmatic findings: moving from politeness maxims to sociopragmatic interactional principles (SIPs)

By Helen Spencer-Oatey and Wenying Jiang

Abstract

This paper focuses on how culture can be treated as an explanatory variable in cross-cultural pragmatic studies. It starts with a review of pragmatic maxims [Grice, H. Paul, 1989. Logic and Conversation. William James Lectures, 1967. (Reprinted in Grice, H.P. (Ed.), Studies in the Way of Words, pp. 22–40); Leech, Geoffrey N., 1983. Principles of Pragmatics. London: Longman; Journal of Pragmatics 14 (1990)237], discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the concept. It then presents the findings from a British-Chinese replication of Kim's [Human Communication Research 21(1996)128] cross-cultural study of conversational constraints, and argues that the notion of maxims should be reconceptualised as sociopragmatic interactional principles (SIPs). The notion of SIPs is defined and explained, referring to the sociopragmatic-pragmalinguistic distinction [Leech, Geoffrey N., 1983. Principles of Pragmatics. London: Longman; Applied Linguistics 4(1983)91] and other cross-cultural pragmatic approaches [House, Julianne, 2000. Understanding misunderstanding: a pragmatic-discourse approach to analyzing mismanaged rapport in talk across cultures. In: Spencer-Oatey, H. (Ed.), Culturally Speaking. Managing Rapport through Talk across Cultures. Continuum, London; 145–164; Journal of Pragmatics 9 (1985)145]. SIPs are also discussed in relation to Brown and Levinson's [Brown, Penelope, Levinson, Stephen C., 1987. Politeness. Some Universals in Language Usage. CUP, Cambridge (Originally published ad ‘Universals in language usage: politeness phenomenon’ In: Goody, E. (1987), Questions and Politeness: Strategies in Social Interaction. CUP, New York.)] perspectives on the impact of culture on language use. The paper ends with a call for more research to establish on an empirical basis the types of interactional principles that exist, and their interrelationships

Topics: HM
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2685

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1989). A model of the perceived competence of conflict strategies. doi
  2. (2001). Compliment respones among British and Spanish university students: a contrastive study. doi
  3. (1994). Cross-cultural comparisons of the perceived importance of conversational constraints. doi
  4. (1983). Cross-cultural pragmatic failure. doi
  5. (1985). Different cultures, different languages, different speech acts. doi
  6. (2001). Extending the cross-cultural validity of the theory of basic human 14 values with a different method of measurement. doi
  7. (1989). Logic and conversation. William James Lectures,
  8. (2002). Managing rapport in talk: using rapport sensitive incidents to explore the motivational concerns underlying the management of relations. doi
  9. (1995). Meaning in Interaction. An Introduction to Pragmatics. doi
  10. Perspectives on politeness. doi
  11. (1992). Politeness Phenomena in England and Greece. A Cross-Cultural Perspective. doi
  12. (1990). Politeness phenomena in modern Chinese. doi
  13. (1987). Politeness. Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: CUP. Originally published as 'Universals in language usage: politeness phenomenon', doi
  14. (1979). Pragmatics: Implicature, Presupposition and Logical Form. doi
  15. (1983). Principles of Pragmatics. doi
  16. (2000). Rapport management: a framework for analysis. doi
  17. (2001). Reconsidering Chinese modesty: Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese evaluative judgments of compliment responses. doi
  18. (1989). Relevance and relational work: linguistic politeness as politic behavior. doi
  19. (1993). Responding to compliments. A contrastive study of politeness strategies between American English and Chinese speakers. doi
  20. (1996). The influences of cultural individualism–collectivism, self construals, and individual values on communication styles across cultures. doi
  21. (1994). The relationship between individuals' self-construals and perceived importance of interactive constraints. doi
  22. (2000). Understanding misunderstanding: a pragmatic-discourse approach to analyzing mismanaged rapport in talk across cultures.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.