Politeness Theory

Politeness theory is one of broader, more flexible, generative theories that communication researchers use in their scholarship. Politeness theory was proposed by sociolinguists Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Levinson in their book, Politeness: Some Universals in Language Use. Since the introduction of the theory, politeness research has proliferated in interdisciplinary scholarship, generally, and in communication research, specifically. Currently, a journal is dedicated to research on politeness, Journal of Politeness Research. This entry outlines the premises of the original theory and describes several ways that the theory offers researchers tools for use in their scholarship.

The Legacy of Brown and Levinson

Researchers investigating politeness often investigate the core assumptions of politeness theory. The primary assumptions of the model are positive and negative face, ...

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