Publication details [#62926]

Chen, Yupin. 2017. Children’s early awareness of the effect of interpersonal status on politeness. Journal of Politeness Research 13 (1) : 121–142.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
De Gruyter


This inquiry debates two Mandarin-speaking children’s linguistic politeness via longitudinally observing their uses of request forms concerning different interactional situations where their interpersonal status may vary accordingly. It appears that the children shows a systematic correspondence between request forms and directness to adhere to politeness at an early age. Albeit they apparently prefer to employ comparatively more direct request forms most of the time, a closer exploration discloses a division of labor: they seem to employ simple imperatives when their interpersonal status is either superior or equal to their parents and employ declaratives with the lexeme WANT when their interpersonal status is inferior. It is therefore proposed that politeness may be mutually negotiated between interlocutors and that children should get socialized with politeness via interaction with adults or other children within various social or interpersonal relationships.