Historical (Im)politeness

  • Andreas H. JuckerEmail author
  • Joanna Kopaczyk


Drawing on earlier approaches to politeness and impoliteness, this chapter shows their applicability to historical contexts. Early work tends to analyse historical data on the basis of Brown and Levinson’s approach to politeness as a face-threat mitigation strategy. Later work extends the scope to discursive approaches focussing on explicit negotiations of politeness values and the analysis of meta-communicative expressions relating to politeness and impoliteness. The chapter illustrates the most recent approaches with two case studies. The first one traces lexical items in the semantic field of (Im)politeness, such as civility, courtesy, rudeness or impoliteness, in the history of the English language. The second shows how impoliteness can be constructed discursively in a verbal duel between two Scottish Renaissance writers, William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy.


Nominal Term Semantic Field Linguistic Behaviour Discursive Approach Diachronic Development 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  3. 3.Adam Mickiewicz University in PoznańPoznańPoland

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