Using a wide range of data from real-life speech situations, this introduction to politeness, first published in 2003, breaks away from the limitations of current models and argues that the proper object of study in politeness theory must be commonsense notions of what politeness and impoliteness are.
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'I can think of no-one in the field better qualified to write a critical introduction to linguistic politeness research than Professor Watts. He has a lively critical awareness of the shortcomings of the standard approach, an excellent overview of the presently available alternative approaches, and a willingness to work within standard theory to make the politeness research paradigm more responsive to the needs and interests of researchers around the world. There is no doubt in my mind that a critical introduction to linguistic politeness will be met with enthusiasm by the world's politeness researchers. This book is predestined to become the first standard introduction to the field.' Professor Richard W. Janney, Institüt für Englische Philologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München
'The book as a whole is very clear and well-structured and provides both an overview and critique of existing politeness theories, but perhaps of more importance, he shows that there is nothing inherently polite about particular utterances, it is simply that some utterances may be more open to interpretation as polite than others …'. Multilingua
'This excellent volume in a new series called Key Topics on Sociolinguistics is the first textbook on this subject … This clearly written book will stretch its readers, leaving them with the sense that the field is more fertile and interesting than they may have imagined at the start … An unusually rich and stimulating textbook …'. The Times Higher Education Supplement
'… this book is a unique book length work, offering an excellent review of the literature on politeness theories and adopting a discourse analytic approach to data. As such, it will be most beneficial to both first-time travelers to the world of politeness, as well as to others with a desire to advance their knowledge within the area.' Journal of Sociolinguistics
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