Politeness Theory

Brown and Levinson’s Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage (Cambridge, 1987) and Barbara O’Keefe’s take on politeness theory had a significant influence on how I think about communication.  Grappling with politeness theory as a rational theory of language (rather than a theory of frequency or of cause and effect) prompted me to ask a different set of questions about social support.  Specifically, it helped me work out the social conditions and discourse features that shaped when advice-giving could be an appropriate and effective response to another’s distress.  My own research on facework is detailed in the Advice-giving and Facework tab.  In addition, the following book chapters give my interpretation of politeness theory and its relevance to interpersonal communication theory.

Goldsmith, D. (2022). Brown and Levinson’s Politeness Theory. In B. B. Whaley & C. R. Morse (Eds.), Interpersonal message design: Theories, evolvement and modern application (pp. 71-85). San Francisco, CA: InteractivePress.

Goldsmith, D. J., & Normand, E. L. (2014).  Politeness theory: How we use language to save face.  In D. E. Braithwaite, & P. Schrodt (Eds.), Engaging theories of interpersonal communication, 2nd ed. (pp. 267-278). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Goldsmith, D. J., & Donovan-Kicken, E. (2009).  Adding insult to injury:  Face, politeness, and hurt feelings.  In A. Vangelisti (Ed.), Feeling hurt in close relationships (pp. 50-72).  New York: Cambridge.

Goldsmith, D. J. (2009). Politeness theory.  In S. W. Littlejohn & K. A. Foss (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Communication Theory (pp. 754-757). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Goldsmith, D. J. (2006).  Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory.  In B. Whaley & W. Samter (Eds.), Explaining communication: Contemporary theories and exemplars (pp. 219-236). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

%d bloggers like this: