(Im)politeness and alignment Cover Image

(Im)politeness and alignment
(Im)politeness and alignment

A case study of public political monologues

Author(s): Zoltán Dániel Kádár, Sen Zhang
Subject(s): Semiotics / Semiology, Semantics
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Keywords: (im)politeness; alignment; monologue; public discourse; Chinese political language use

Summary/Abstract: This paper aims to examine the role of (im)politeness and alignment in public monologues. Linguistic politeness theory has predominantly focused on the interpersonal aspect of (im)politeness, and we know relatively little about forms of (im)politeness that do not serve a direct interpersonal function but rather aim to form a sense of alignment with an indefinite group of recipients. We define such form of pragmatic behaviour as ‘alignment’, to distinguish it from politeness as an interpersonal form of interaction. Forms of alignment may operate in a duality with interpersonal (im)politeness, and they represent the default mode of relational involvement in public discourses – in particular, in public monologues. We argue that forms of alignment cannot be ignored in politeness research due to their prevalence in certain genres/modes of communication, and also because their operation can be intriguingly complex from a politeness theoretical point of view, considering their dual relationship with (im)politeness. We use data drawn from Chinese political discourse as a case study to illustrate this dual relationship.

  • Issue Year: 66/2019
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 229-249
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: English