Gabriele Kasper

Table of contents

As a research object in linguistic pragmatics, politeness has a rather short history. The impulse to the study of politeness came from H. P. Grice’s seminal paper ‘Logic and conversation’ (1975), in which he proposed a Cooperative Principle and four maxims underlying transactional discourse (“maximally efficient information exchange”). Grice noted that in order to account for other aspects of language use, additional maxims may be needed, such as a politeness maxim. This suggestion was taken up and elaborated in early accounts of linguistic politeness by Lakoff (1973, 1979), Leech (1977, 1983), and Edmondson (1979, 1981). The common denominator of these proposals is that they view politeness in terms of maxims or rules, thus underscoring their conceptual link to the Gricean maxims.

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