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  • Cited by 3
  • Rong Chen, California State University, San Bernardino
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2023
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

Politeness in Chinese is a well-researched concept in pragmatics; however, this pioneering book sheds an original new light on the subject. It provides a thorough diachronic investigation of Chinese politeness, and argues for universality in politeness theorizing. The author takes us on a journey through changes in Chinese politeness from Confucius to the present day, showing how these processes are reactions to the changing world, rather than to changes in the principles of politeness itself. He splits Chinese face into Face1 and Face2 – the former referring to the person and the latter to the persona of the speaker - and presents a model of Chinese politeness (MCP). He then proposes B&L-E (Brown and Levinson Extended) by incorporating the theoretical constructs of self-politeness and impoliteness. This title is part of the Flip it Open Programme and may also be available Open Access. Check our website Cambridge Core for details.


‘Rong Chen provides a thorough, though-provoking and reader-friendly overview of Chinese politeness, which is a fundamental phenomenon to study for all those who want to understand the fine dynamics of Chinese language use. Chinese Politeness is a real treat for both politeness scholars and Sinologists.’

Dániel Z. Kádár - Dalian University of Foreign Languages, Hungarian Research Centre for Linguistics & University of Maribor

‘This elegantly written book focuses on Chinese and other Asian concepts of politeness, and argues that contrary to much other work on Asian interpersonal mores, there are strong cross-cultural parallels suggestive of a universal basis for easing friction in interactional conduct. The book also offers a very useful survey and update of work on politeness phenomena generally.’

Stephen Levinson - Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

‘I heartily welcome this new volume on Chinese politeness, with its level-headed assessment of different views of politeness, of the nature of universals in the context of sociocultural differences, and its proposal for a model of Chinese politeness. It will surely raise the level of intellectual debate on this critical topic in pragmatics.’

Penelope Brown - Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

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