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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

10 - Discussions on Swiss and German Politeness in Online Sources

from Part II - Concepts and Cultural Norms Underlying Politeness

Summary

Locher and Luginbühl’s chapter takes a discursive approach to politeness, analyzing how im/polite behavior of Germans and Swiss is discussed in recent online commentaries on national differences. The study draws on newspaper coverage claiming that most Swiss people do not like German immigrants because of, among other reasons, what they consider their impolite behavior. The data (written in standard German) focus on a discussion of what the German-speaking population considers as politeness in a Swiss context and how this differs from politeness norms in Germany. A content analysis of the comments is followed by a linguistic analysis of selected codes. The results show a number of interesting clashes of language ideologies as societal/cultural politeness ideologies interlace with general language ideologies; language and culture were often equated. This entails that Swiss German dialects and German standard German are constructed as being two separate languages. Furthermore, not only is ‘Swiss German’ depicted as a homogeneous entity and as a different language than German; the behavior that comes with it, a Swiss politeness, is also construed as a unified construct.

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