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LINGUIST List 24.3932

Mon Oct 07 2013

Diss: Tuvinian, Pragmatics, Text/Corpus Ling: Voinov: 'Politeness Devices in the Tuvan Language'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <xiyanlinguistlist.org>

Date: 05-Oct-2013
From: Vitaly Voinov <vovoinovhotmail.com>
Subject: Politeness Devices in the Tuvan Language
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Institution: University of Texas at Arlington
Program: Department of Linguistics and TESOL
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2013

Author: Vitaly Voinov

Dissertation Title: Politeness Devices in the Tuvan Language

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Tuvinian (tyv)

Dissertation Director:
K. David Harrison
Laurel Smith Stvan

Dissertation Abstract:

Whereas a few core areas of the Tuvan language (such as phonology and
morphology) have been fairly well described by linguists, pragmasemantic
topics in the language, including politeness, have until now not been
probed deeply. Using insights from theories of linguistic politeness
proposed by Brown & Levinson (1978, 1987) and by their numerous critics
(e.g., Ide 1989; Nwoye 1992; Watts 2003; Lakoff & Ide 2005; LPRG 2011), in
this dissertation I investigate the morphosyntactic, pragmatic and
sociolinguistic aspects of some of the primary verbal means that Tuvans use
in conversation to express politeness to each other. The language material
is based on a corpus of Tuvan literature, fieldwork questionnaires, and my
individual contact with Tuvan speakers over the past decade.

I first explore emic perceptions that native Tuvan speakers have of what
politeness means in Tuvan society: how Tuvans themselves metalinguistically
characterize and categorize politeness behavior, what social norms they
believe to be primary in generating it, and their evaluation of the current
level of politeness versus impoliteness in Tuva. Following this, I examine
politeness devices that Tuvans use to manage face threats from an etic
standpoint, separately looking at devices based on norms of social indexing
and involving group face (Nwoye 1992) and those based on the desire for
non-imposition and individual face (Brown & Levinson 1987). Specific
devices that I investigate in detail include respectful pronouns,
deferential terms of address, indirect speech acts, polite auxiliary verbs
and politeness particles. Although genuine politeness is the primary focus
of the dissertation, the investigation also touches upon closely related
issues, such as rudeness, overpoliteness and mock politeness.

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