LINGUIST List 14.2688

Mon Oct 6 2003

Diss: Pragmatics: Haugh: 'Politeness...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. m.haugh, Politeness Implicature in Japanese

Message 1: Politeness Implicature in Japanese

Date: Sun, 05 Oct 2003 00:15:07 +0000
From: m.haugh <>
Subject: Politeness Implicature in Japanese

Institution: University of Queensland
Program: School of Languages and Comparative Cultural Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Michael Haugh 

Dissertation Title: Politeness Implicature in Japanese: 
A Metalinguistic Approach

Linguistic Field: Pragmatics 

Subject Language: Japanese (code: JPN)

Dissertation Director 1: Yasuko Obana
Dissertation Director 2: Nanette Gottlieb

Dissertation Abstract: 

The notions of politeness and implicature are key concepts in the
field of pragmatics, yet the intersection between them has received
only a minimal amount of attention. The aim of this thesis is thus to
investigate this relationship, in particular, the way in which
implicatures give rise to politeness, the term 'politeness
implicature' being used to refer to this phenomenon. A metalinguistic
approach is proposed for this analysis of politeness implicatures. The
purpose of the metalanguage is to provide a set of tools for the
analysis and explication of politeness implicature in Japanese, and to
enable comparisons with other languages such as English. Since
metalanguages have mainly been constructed in semantic research to
date, this study represents one of the first attempts to utilise a
metalinguistic approach in analysing pragmatic phenomena (such as
politeness implicature). Building upon a review of key literature on
politeness and implicature, the notion of politeness implicature is
defined as something else implied in addition to what is literally
said, which shows the speaker thinks good of others or does not think
too highly of him/herself. The different ways in which implying may
generate politeness are discussed using examples of politeness
implicature gathered from a variety of different sources in
Japanese. A number of phenomena closely related to politeness
implicature also emerge from this discussion, and draw attention to
areas that will require further investigation if a comprehensive
theory of politeness implicature is to be constructed. While
politeness implicatures are indeed a complex phenomenon, the
metalinguistic approach employed in deconstructing examples of them
demonstrates that they can still be explained, at least to some
extent, in fairly simple terms.
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