Politeness in Mexico and the United States

A contrastive study of the realization and perception of refusals

ORCID logoJ. César Félix-Brasdefer | Indiana University
ISBN 9789027254153 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027291448 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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This book explores the issue of politeness phenomena and socially appropriate behavior in two societies, Mexico and the United States, in three different contexts: refusing invitations, requests, and suggestions. In addition to a state-of-the-art review of the speech act of refusals in numerous languages, the book provides a rigorous analysis of data collection methods utilized to examine speech act behavior at the production and perception levels. Many examples of native speaker interactions illustrate the similarities and differences observed in the realization patterns and the perception of refusals by Mexicans and Americans in formal and informal situations. The data are analyzed in terms of refusal sequences and pragmatic strategies which are strategically used to carry out relational work during the negotiation of face. The results of the quantitative and qualitative analyses are interpreted in light of the notions of face, politeness, and relational work in Mexico and the United States. This publication will be of interest to researchers and students in pragmatics and discourse analysis, cross-cultural communication, and sociology.
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 171] 2008.  xiv, 195 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“In Politeness in Mexico and the United States, Félix-Brasdefer presents a well-argued, well-written analysis of refusal speech act sequences and perceptions of refusals in two languages and cultures — Spanish in Mexico (Tlaxcala) and English in the United States (Minnesota). It is an important contribution to the field of cross-cultural politeness research, and it is a valuable resource for sociolinguists who work on and in Spanish. [...] Félix-Brasdefer's study of refusals in Spanish and English is an important and valuable study of cross-cultural politeness, essential for anyone interested in Spanish language variation and linguistic politeness. A particular strength of the book is its clarity, both in the description of the methodology and in the articulation of the analysis. The study is innovative in its combination of several important elements.”
“Contrasting how Mexicans in Mexico and Americans in the U.S. use politeness strategies in dealing with matters such as “face”, this volume provides insights into similarities and differences between these two speech communities in terms of how people perceive societal values such as “involvement” and “independence”. The book also constitutes a valuable model for how research tools such as verbal report can be used to enhance the findings from research on pragmatic behavior. The book will undoubtedly be read with keen interest by both researchers and students of pragmatics alike.”
“It is a very valuable contribution to sociolinguistics because it demonstrates important distinctions in refusal acts between speakers of Mexican Spanish and US English. Awareness of these differences can contribute to a reduction in cross-cultural conflict as well as improvement in second-language pedagogy. Moreover, its all-embracing literature review, methodology, and insightful discussion of the results make it an essential reference for cross-cultural refusal research. A valuable set of references, an author index, and a subject index complement this excellent study.”
“This carefully designed study provides a valuable comparison of refusals in Mexican Spanish and American English. Data triangulation enables the author to investigate not only the production of refusals but also their perception in both cultures, the latter a welcome, largely neglected focus in intercultural pragmatics to date. In addition, the discourse-based perspective taken treats refusals as sequences rather than as single utterances, a perspective which facilitates in analysing their intricate complexity. The book will undoubtedly represent an important resource for future studies in the area.”

Main BIC Subject

CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2007040711