Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 September 2022
Metapragmatic comments, that is, comments that reflect the understandings of speakers or lay observers regarding the ways and aims for which the language is used, are one of the main means of access to native ideas on im/politeness in corpus languages. This chapter analyses the metapragmatic comments on im/politeness that can be identified in the comedies of Plautus and Terence, as a mean to understand the Roman conceptions of im/politeness (that is, the emic perspective of this phenomenon), and the social and moral order underlying those conceptions. This approach facilitates a more detailed and integrated analysis of the speaker’s intentions and/or the interpretation of a particular utterance as polite (or impolite or overpolite) by the addressee, whether or not there are linguistic markers to indicate this intention.
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