Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Writing,rhetoric

An Empirical Study of Politeness Principle in English Business Letters

Author GaoHuan
Tutor HuangZuoLin
School Chongqing University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords business letter politeness principle politeness strategy context
CLC H315
Type Master's thesis
Year 2007
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English business letter has been an important and indispensable tool for us to exchange information in the business affairs since global village existed. As a basic requirement, the application of politeness has contribution for different types of business letters. Thus, business letter must concern itself more with politeness theory relevant to different business situations. Politeness principle is very important in that it is closely related to the effectiveness and success of the communication purpose of a business letter. However, the applications of politeness strategies are different owing to different classification of business letters.Brown and Levinson proposed in their research that polite concept has strategies, which leads to the analysis in this dissertation about what type of business letter, to great extent, tend to use what kind of politeness strategies. Then an empirical research is made from the perspective of context containing linguistic-context and non-linguistic-context in business letters. Try to see how the politeness principles are applied in different types of business letter according to Leech’s speech act theory.This dissertation examines the principles and practices of politeness strategies in business communication. The sequential realization of selected face-redress strategies in and around enquiries, reminders, sales, complaints, refusals is analyzed on the context level in business letters located in a discourse-dynamic perspective. The dissertation demonstrates that the positive and negative politeness strategies correlate with sender and receiver’s standpoint and vary as a function of the context of business communication. The dissertation advocates that monitoring politeness strategies on the context level gives valuable insight into the norms that govern English business communication.

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