The implications of studying politeness in Spanish-speaking contexts: A discussion
In the last decades, the studies on politeness have discussed central concepts stemming from Brown and Levinson’s work ( 1987), such as face, threats, mitigations and strategies of politeness. One of the problems that the study of politeness presents for the analysis of a situated corpus of speech is that the use of the mentioned notions calls for a socio-cultural perspective. In other words, it is necessary to include extralinguistic factors in the analysis of politeness, as the phenomena is beyond the sphere of linguistics in strict terms. In this paper, I approach the challenge based on other studies that I have already done for different corpora of Spanish. I discuss the problem of using certain concepts (face, threats, mitigations and strategies of politeness) as methodological categories for the interpretation of communicative behaviours in situated interactions. In my analysis, I use categories that incorporate, both theoretically and methodologically, socio-cultural variation in the realisations of politeness. To achieve this, I evaluate the social effect that certain behaviours have in the interpersonal relations under study, so as to, from then on, classify those behaviours in terms of politeness, impoliteness or neutrality. Also, I use the categories of “autonomy” and “affiliation”, void of socio-cultural contents. Finally, I put forward extralinguistic elements in the analysis of corpora of Spanish by making explicit those “socio-cultural premises” that an analyst use to make his or her interpretations.