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Unfortunately, the cultural implications of the request perspective have not been previously discussed by Polish linguists, but for Rus- sian, it has been argued that speech acts formulated in the second person are generally more polite than those in the first person as they acknowledge the role of the addressee Rathmayr The results of my study seem to suggest that request perspec- tive is interpreted similarly in Polish.

On the whole, the findings of this study show that, even though there is a stronger preference for direct forms in the Polish data than there is in English and German, more significant discrepancies appear in the choice of request per- spective. Polish people seem to be more avail- able to one another than are members of negative politeness cultures, so that requests do not necessarily constitute a threat and, therefore, do not require a great degree of indirectness. More importantly, a crucial element in getting somebody to do something for oneself is to let that person know that their help is appreciated by explicitly refer- ring to them as the person on whom the accomplishment of the re- quested activity depends.

This interpretation can be further backed up by the distribution of supportive moves in the data, with the Polish respondents show- ing an extraordinary preference for two types of supportive moves, namely formulae introducing the request and expressions of indebt- edness Ogiermann b: There are 22 instances of request introductions in the entire data and 16 of them were produced by the Polish respondents.

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I have a huge favour to ask you. Formulaic expressions of gratitude were distributed more evenly across the four languages, but still, twelve of the 25 expressions of gratitude occur in the Polish data. Thanks in advance. Explaining why it is necessary to im- pose on the hearer makes the request more plausible and may thus increase his or her willingness to comply with it. In my study, grounders occur 81 times in English, 63 in Ger- man, 59 times in Polish, and 43 times in the Russian data. About Polish Politeness 45 3. While the Polish expression of regret does not necessarily fulfil the function of an apology, the performative, which is most conventionalised Polish IFID, makes the Polish apol- ogy very explicit and unambiguous.

At the same time, saying przepraszam does not go beyond the mere performance of the act of apologising. An examination of the linguistic context in which this IFID is used shows a strong preference for combing it with the conventional implicature but, which indicates that what follows stands in opposi- tion to the preceding element, i. What follows is mostly an account, and a detailed analysis of the accounts found in my data shows that accounts not only exhibit varying degrees of responsibility acceptance but also culture-specific ways of referring to the offence.

In contrast to the English accounts, which tended to be rather vague and distancing, the Polish accounts were very effusive and personal. On the whole, the Polish apologies are characterised by a strong focus on positive face. My research on requests shows that directness and other de- vices revealing the perceived entitlement to make the request are viewed differently in different cultures. While the Polish requests did include a relatively high proportion of imperative constructions, the main culture-specific element of Polish requests turned out to be the role assigned to the hearer.

The focus of both apologies and requests seems to be mainly on positive face, emphasising the value of the relationship between speaker and hearer. Defining Polish politeness As the above discussion has shown, while different linguistic struc- tures and routine formulae may translate literarily across languages, their illocutionary forces are likely to be culture-specific. Another way of uncovering culture-specific understandings of politeness is through the concept of politeness itself. Even though the word polite- ness exists in most languages, the ways in which it is conceptualised in different cultures may vary greatly.

One of the researchers pursuing this idea is Watts. Watts investigates first-order politeness by looking at the etymo- logy of the English word politeness. In our interview, we inquired about the interactional styles of Polish and Hungarian people before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain. As the Polish informants were describing interpersonal en- counters in various settings that they experienced before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain, they used a number of adjectives other than uprzejmy and grzeczny.

Towards the end of the interview we asked the interviewees to define politeness. Interestingly, the definitions provided by the Polish participants hardly made any reference to verbal politeness. Another interviewee suggested that a person who is uprzejmy merely tries to be nice and helpful, while somebody who is grzeczny is nice and helpful by nature. While the concept of negative politeness has become more sa- lient since in Poland, the definitions provided by the Polish respondents still show a clear preference for positive politeness.

They associated being polite with helping others and attending to their needs rather than with using particular linguistic formulae. Conclusion In this chapter I have attempted to provide some insights into the Polish concept of politeness. Treating them as equiva- lent and relying exclusively on existing politeness frameworks would bias the findings towards the cultural values of those who developed those frameworks.

The Poles did not primarily express politeness through indi- rectness, use of conventionalised formulae or strategies reducing imposition. Rather, the results of the two speech act studies confirm the classification of Polish culture as a positive politeness culture. The preference for positive politeness was further confirmed by the metapragmatic information on first-order politeness elicited through interviews with lay members. The interviews have also shown that Polish people are aware that there are different types of polite- ness.

And while positive politeness was clearly given preference, negative politeness was discussed as appropriate in contexts charac- terised by high social distance and power — and associated with in- strumental and insincere uses. On the whole, the various types of data suggest that, rather than perceiving interpersonal communication as a threat or imposi- tion, Polish people are available to one another, feel entitled to in- volve others in their lives and obliged to help when they are needed. They like to feel appreciated as well as understood. And they are willing to put a lot of effort into maintaining relationships and restor- ing them if something goes wrong.

Bargiela-Chiappini, Francesca Beebe, Leslie M. In Gass, Susan M. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, Blum-Kulka, Shoshana Indirectness and Politeness in Requests: Same or Different? In Blum-Kulka, Shoshana et al.

Norwood, NJ: Ablex, Brown, Penelope Levinson, Stephen C. Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer- sity Press. Warszawa: Wiedza Powszechna. Byrne, Bridget Qualitative Interviewing. In Seale, Clive ed. Researching Society and Culture, London: Sage, Flick, Uwe An Introduction to Qualitative Research. London: Sage. Gu, Yueguo Politeness Phenomena in Modern Chinese. Jour- nal of Pragmatics. Hall, Edward T.

Cultural Variability in Face Interpretation and Management | SpringerLink

Beyond Culture. New York: Anchor Books. Huszcza, Romuald Pragma- tyka. Warszawa: Dialog. Jakubowska, Ewa About Polish Politeness 51 Kalisz, Roman Kasper, Gabriele Linguistic Politeness: Current Research Is- sues. Data Collection in Pragmatics Research. London: Continuum, Lakoff, Robin. In Bucholtz, Mary ed. Text and commen- taries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Leech, Geoffrey N. Explorations in Semantics and Pragmatics. Principles of Pragmatics. New York: Longman. In Case of Fire. In Case Of Fire. In Case of Emergency.

Politeness in East Asia. Gender and Politeness Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics. The Economic Dimensions of Globalization. Teaching the Dimensions of Literacy. The Religious Dimensions of Advertising. Dimensions of Sustainability. Homological Dimensions of Modules. Dimensions of Forensic Linguistics. Sorry, I have neglected your fish. I know that nothing can be done now. Although both responses entail responsibility acceptance, they differ fundamentally in how this responsibility is conveyed. The English response is formulated very carefully.

The responsibility, though ac- cepted, is downgraded not only by the use of a modal verb I might but also by presenting the matter in the form of a mere opinion I think. This stands in sharp contrast to the Polish response where responsibility is accepted through a straightforward confession in- cluding the perfective form of the self-critical verb neglect. They were fine yesterday. Sorry, but it seems to me that some of the fish fell ill. They were a bit dull and the next day they died. I hope you are not angry at me.

The Polish respondent, in contrast, attempts to present a valid reason for the of- fence.

The explanation provided is based on close observation of the fish and accompanied by an expression of helplessness implying good will. The entire response aims at showing that the fish died despite the attention they received and, thus, at avoiding loss of positive face and limiting damage to the relationship. The Poles, in contrast, provided effusive explanations and sometimes very inventive reasons for their offensive behaviour.

An important element of Polish apologies, therefore, consists in ascertaining that the speaker is still perceived as worth having a relationship with. What makes requests particularly interesting is that they can be formu- lated at various levels of directness and that, while politeness theories draw a parallel between indirectness and politeness, empirical studies show that in-directness is perceived differently across cultures.

Both theoretical work on politeness and empirical work on re- quests distinguish between three main levels of directness. The latter are also referred to as conventionally indirect and generally associated with negative politeness. All three levels of directness have been identified in all the languages studied so far and described as universal. The existing research shows that there is a strong preference for conventionally indirect requests in a variety of lan- guages and cultures. The most frequent realization at this level of directness is the ability question, i.

Literature available on Polish requests assigns a more central role to direct requests, in particular imperatives. Since her main aim is to illustrate an Anglo-Saxon bias in politeness research, she empha- sizes the role of the imperative in Polish requests, while pointing out the softening effect of the diminutive on its illocutionary force About Polish Politeness 41 While the Polish linguist Marcjanik agrees with Wierzbicka that imperatives can serve as polite requests , she dis- cusses twelve different types of interrogative constructions and argues that conventionally indirect strategies consti- tute the most frequent request type in Polish The main objective of my research on requests was, therefore, to investigate the extent to which direct forms, especially impera- tives, are the preferred form when formulating a request in Polish.

The study I have conducted compares requests in English, German, Polish and Russian b , that is in two languages which have been shown to prefer conventionally indirect and two languages which have been claimed to prefer direct request forms. The data were elicited from speakers of each language by means of a scenario which has been used particularly often in re- search on requests see Ogiermann b: : You got ill and cannot attend an important lecture. You ring up a fellow student to ask if you can copy his notes.

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Previous research shows an extraordinarily high degree of agreement across languages on using conventional indirectness in similar situa- tions. And also in my data, interrogative constructions turn out to be the preferred strategy in all four languages — despite the informal character of the situation and the low social distance and equal power characterising the relationship between the interlocutors. Moreover, the proportion of im- perative constructions in the Polish data exceeds that established for languages which have been characterised as having a high level of directness.

The use of conventionally direct and indirect requests in English, German, Polish and Russian. Impera- tive constructions necessarily portray the request as an activity to be accomplished by the hearer. The choice of perspective has been shown to affect the illocutionary force of the request. Table 5 overleaf shows the preferences for request perspective across the four languages. A possible explanation of these preferences is that in negative politeness cultures, placing particular emphasis on independence, phrasing the request in the first person is seen as reducing the impo- sition on the hearer.

In positive politeness cultures, however, which value directness and honesty, portraying the speaker as responsible for the successful outcome of the request could be interpreted as manipulative. Request perspective in English, German, Polish and Russian. Unfortunately, the cultural implications of the request perspective have not been previously discussed by Polish linguists, but for Rus- sian, it has been argued that speech acts formulated in the second person are generally more polite than those in the first person as they acknowledge the role of the addressee Rathmayr The results of my study seem to suggest that request perspec- tive is interpreted similarly in Polish.

On the whole, the findings of this study show that, even though there is a stronger preference for direct forms in the Polish data than there is in English and German, more significant discrepancies appear in the choice of request per- spective. Polish people seem to be more avail- able to one another than are members of negative politeness cultures, so that requests do not necessarily constitute a threat and, therefore, do not require a great degree of indirectness.

More importantly, a crucial element in getting somebody to do something for oneself is to let that person know that their help is appreciated by explicitly refer- ring to them as the person on whom the accomplishment of the re- quested activity depends. This interpretation can be further backed up by the distribution of supportive moves in the data, with the Polish respondents show- ing an extraordinary preference for two types of supportive moves, namely formulae introducing the request and expressions of indebt- edness Ogiermann b: There are 22 instances of request introductions in the entire data and 16 of them were produced by the Polish respondents.

I have a huge favour to ask you. Formulaic expressions of gratitude were distributed more evenly across the four languages, but still, twelve of the 25 expressions of gratitude occur in the Polish data.

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Thanks in advance. Explaining why it is necessary to im- pose on the hearer makes the request more plausible and may thus increase his or her willingness to comply with it. In my study, grounders occur 81 times in English, 63 in Ger- man, 59 times in Polish, and 43 times in the Russian data.

Cross-cultural dimensions of politeness in the case of Polish and English

About Polish Politeness 45 3. While the Polish expression of regret does not necessarily fulfil the function of an apology, the performative, which is most conventionalised Polish IFID, makes the Polish apol- ogy very explicit and unambiguous. At the same time, saying przepraszam does not go beyond the mere performance of the act of apologising.

An examination of the linguistic context in which this IFID is used shows a strong preference for combing it with the conventional implicature but, which indicates that what follows stands in opposi- tion to the preceding element, i. What follows is mostly an account, and a detailed analysis of the accounts found in my data shows that accounts not only exhibit varying degrees of responsibility acceptance but also culture-specific ways of referring to the offence. In contrast to the English accounts, which tended to be rather vague and distancing, the Polish accounts were very effusive and personal.

On the whole, the Polish apologies are characterised by a strong focus on positive face. My research on requests shows that directness and other de- vices revealing the perceived entitlement to make the request are viewed differently in different cultures. While the Polish requests did include a relatively high proportion of imperative constructions, the main culture-specific element of Polish requests turned out to be the role assigned to the hearer. The focus of both apologies and requests seems to be mainly on positive face, emphasising the value of the relationship between speaker and hearer.

Defining Polish politeness As the above discussion has shown, while different linguistic struc- tures and routine formulae may translate literarily across languages, their illocutionary forces are likely to be culture-specific. Another way of uncovering culture-specific understandings of politeness is through the concept of politeness itself. Even though the word polite- ness exists in most languages, the ways in which it is conceptualised in different cultures may vary greatly.

One of the researchers pursuing this idea is Watts. Watts investigates first-order politeness by looking at the etymo- logy of the English word politeness. In our interview, we inquired about the interactional styles of Polish and Hungarian people before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain. As the Polish informants were describing interpersonal en- counters in various settings that they experienced before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain, they used a number of adjectives other than uprzejmy and grzeczny. Towards the end of the interview we asked the interviewees to define politeness.

Interestingly, the definitions provided by the Polish participants hardly made any reference to verbal politeness. Another interviewee suggested that a person who is uprzejmy merely tries to be nice and helpful, while somebody who is grzeczny is nice and helpful by nature. While the concept of negative politeness has become more sa- lient since in Poland, the definitions provided by the Polish respondents still show a clear preference for positive politeness. They associated being polite with helping others and attending to their needs rather than with using particular linguistic formulae. Conclusion In this chapter I have attempted to provide some insights into the Polish concept of politeness.

Treating them as equiva- lent and relying exclusively on existing politeness frameworks would bias the findings towards the cultural values of those who developed those frameworks. The Poles did not primarily express politeness through indi- rectness, use of conventionalised formulae or strategies reducing imposition. Rather, the results of the two speech act studies confirm the classification of Polish culture as a positive politeness culture. The preference for positive politeness was further confirmed by the metapragmatic information on first-order politeness elicited through interviews with lay members.

The interviews have also shown that Polish people are aware that there are different types of polite- ness. And while positive politeness was clearly given preference, negative politeness was discussed as appropriate in contexts charac- terised by high social distance and power — and associated with in- strumental and insincere uses. On the whole, the various types of data suggest that, rather than perceiving interpersonal communication as a threat or imposi- tion, Polish people are available to one another, feel entitled to in- volve others in their lives and obliged to help when they are needed.

They like to feel appreciated as well as understood. And they are willing to put a lot of effort into maintaining relationships and restor- ing them if something goes wrong. Bargiela-Chiappini, Francesca Beebe, Leslie M. In Gass, Susan M. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter,