The muddier side of politeness: Appropriation, control & enforcement


  • Gerrard Mugford Universidad de Guadalajara, México
  • Nahomi Geraldy Palos Barajas Universidad de Guadalajara, México
  • Carlos Francisco Parra Van Dyck Universidad de Guadalajara, México


Palabras clave:

Cortesía, Poder, Negociación, Interpersonal, Transaccional


Everyday politeness behaviour is all too often seen as unproblematic if interactants just adhere to the socially established norms and maxims of behaviour and remember to say their ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’. In developing and consolidating social relationships and engaging in amicable and cordial interaction, participants are expected to demonstrate respect, be tactful, show good manners and remain attentive to the needs of others. However, when engaging in politeness behaviour, interlocutors do not always participate on a level communicative playing field since they may have to negotiate class interests, confront individual self-interest and negotiate perceived hypocrisy. This can be seen as the murkier side of politeness and reflects the use and abuse of interpersonal and transactional power. This article examines how interactants negotiate politeness practices that are employed to appropriate, manipulate and enforce to achieve societal, group and personal objectives. To understand this murkier side of politeness, research has been undertaken with Mexican Spanish speakers who have been asked to reflect on how they navigate daily interpersonal and transactional encounters. The results indicate that far from reflecting routine and automatic responses, politeness behaviour is often evolving, dynamic and reactive depending on the individual social context.


Los datos de descargas todavía no están disponibles.


Cargando métricas ...


Austin, P. (1990). Politeness revisited: The dark side. In A. Bell & J. Holmes (Eds.), New Zealand ways of speaking English (pp. 277–297). Clevedon / Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters.

Brown, R. & A. Gilman (1960). The pronouns of power and solidarity. In Sebeok T. A. 1960. Style in Language (pp. pp. 253-277). MIT Press & New York/London: Wiley.

Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Fairclough, N. (2010). Critical Discourse Analysis: the critical study of language. Harlow, England: Pearson.

Goffman, E. (1967). Interactional ritual: Essays on face-to-face behaviour. New York: Double Day Books.

Locher M. A. & R. J. Watts (2005).Politeness theory and relational work, Journal of Politeness Research 1 (2005), 9 - 33.

Márquez Reiter, R. (2011). Mediated business interactions. Intercultural. communication between speakers of Spanish. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Márquez Reiter, R. & Bou-Franch, P. (2017). (Im)politeness in service encounters. In Culpeper, J., Haugh, M. & Kádár, D. Z. (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Linguistic (Im) Politeness (pp. 661-687). Palgrave Macmillan, London, UK.

Mills, S. (2017). English Politeness and Class, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mugford, G. (2023). Towards a New Pedagogy for Teaching Foreign Language Politeness: Halliday’s Model and Approaches to Politeness. New York/Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Sacks, H. (1992). Lectures on Conversation, vol 1, ed. G. Jefferson, Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Taylor, C. (2015). Beyond sarcasm: The metalanguage and structures of mock politeness. Journal of Pragmatics 87: 127-141.

Taylor, C. (2016). Mock Politeness in English and Italian: A corpus-assisted metalanguage analysis. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Watts, R. J. (2005). “Linguistic politeness research: Quo vadis?”. In Politeness in Language: Studies in its History, Theory and Practice, edited by R. Watts, S. Ide and K. Ehlich. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Verbum 22_4




Cómo citar

Mugford, G., Palos Barajas, N. G., & Parra Van Dyck, C. F. (2023). The muddier side of politeness: Appropriation, control & enforcement . Verbum Et Lingua: Didáctica, Lengua Y Cultura, (22), 63–75.

Artículos más leídos del mismo autor/a

1 2 > >>