|摘要: ||Politeness has been a complicated issue in cross-cultural communication. It is very easy to have misunderstandings between two ethnic groups when they are from different cultural backgrounds. Even when both sides want to express politeness, sometimes their expressions are misinterpreted. Although some linguists propose several rules of politeness, those rules have been brought into question by research on politeness in non-western cultures. Also, most conclusions about politeness rules are drawn from conversation data. Very few studies show that these rules can also be applied to other types of data, such as written communication.
This study explored politeness rules from the perspective of Chinese advanced EFL learners, in order to see if there are any similarities with the proposed rules from the literature, such as those of H. P. Grice and Robin Lakoff. In addition, this study looked into whether those rules will work across different types of data. The study was on Chinese advanced EFL participants, along with an analysis of their comments on the elicitation tasks and their recollections of interaction with Americans. The results indicate that both Grice and Lakoffs rules can partially explain the three Chinese participants' inferences about politeness or impoliteness. There are two rules that are hypothesized from their comments on the elicitation tasks: (1) linguistic expressions of politeness and completeness, and (2) completeness and clarity, which is similar to Grice's rules, e.g., "Say as much as necessary and no more" and "Be clear." In the participants' recollections of interaction experience, Lakoffs rules, i.e., "give options; let the other person have a say" and "Be friendly; maintain camaraderie," would be the relevant rules which influenced those participants' perception of politeness. Their recollections indicate that both verbal and nonverbal behavior are important indexes of politeness in interaction, including asking the listener's opinion, eye-contacting, listening, intonation, expressions of politeness, and following the taking of turns. Finally the rule, "consideration of the other person's position," works across both types of data collection, which reflects their emphasis on a dec entered attitude in cross-cultural communication. This study suggests that it is important to have a deeper understanding about an ethnic group's viewpoints and expectations about the issues of politeness. If these two ethnic groups just make quick judgments and ignore understanding why the other group uses language or behaves in such a way, then some deeper understanding might be lost.