History Assignment Essay Writing Review on Politeness phenomena in Modern Chinese: Origin of politeness

History Assignment Essay Writing Review on Politeness phenomena in Modern Chinese: Origin of politeness


Politeness phenomena in Modern Chinese: Origin of politeness

Solution the question frame is::

Politeness phenomena in Modern Chinese

In this paper, author has discussed how the phenomenon of politeness is accounted in modern Chinese behavior has been presented. The author has discussed modern as well as historical conception and origin of politeness. A critical comparison is made between western notions of face and politeness and their Chinese counterparts. She has critically compared the gestures of face and aspect of politeness in western countries vis a vis in modern China. She has formed and illustrated four maxims of politeness. There is also a detailed discussion on the relationship between politeness, language and conversation.

In her work “Politeness phenomena in Modern Chinese”, Yuego has described the phenomenon of politeness in modern Chinese. She has discussed the present day concept of politeness as well as how it originated in historic timesShe has critically compared the notions of face and politeness in western part of the globe and their counterparts in China. She has formulated and illustrated four maxims of politeness in her work. A brief discussion on the relationship between politeness, language and conversation has also been done. In her work she has mentioned that New Chine, which is in the process of evolution after the birth of peoples’ Republic in 1949, is carrying on the work of abolishing feudal system, the work which was started by Dr. Sun Yat-sen and his followers but remained incomplete.

She has observed that people of China are trying to adopt new order of social structure and social relationship. Adoption of these systems are making them more polite and they are getting into the new way of living life. As a result the interpersonal tensions and conflict are becoming lesser and lesser day by day and social harmony among people is enhancing gradually.

In Chinese culture there are four basic elements which comprise the polite behavior in an individual; they are – respectfulness, modesty, attitudinal warmth and refinement. Respectfulness is the act of positively appreciating and admiring others keeping in mind their face value, status they poses in society and other status  related aspects. Modesty can be defined as the courtesy of accepting one’s fault in a decent manner. Under attitudinal warmth one portrays kindness, consideration, and hospitality to other. Finally refinement is the process of developing and displaying a behavior considering certain standards and benchmarks which is openly acceptable by the society

Gu also objects the model developed by Brown and Levinson’s model in which they have talked about the universality of the concept of face. According to her,  In Chinese contexts, the politeness rules are expressions of one’s morals, the demolition of these rules may lead to social penance. Thus, according to her, the concept of face and their analysis between positive and negative ‘face’ does not hold any significance in cultures which is followed in non-western part of the world. In these areas emphasis is made on collectivism and not on individualism. Moreover, according to the authors, negative politeness is more worrisome than positive politeness.

In her work, Yueguo Gu has compared system of addressing which is followed by English people and the one which is followed by Chinese. There are three noteworthy differences between the two systems. First, under Chinese system the order which is followed is: surname + middle name + given name (However in present times it is optional to use middle name, but while addressing someone it is not allowed to use middle name alone. One has to combine it with given name while addressing). In English system, it is just the reverse order from the Chinese system, the proper name comes in the beginning, then it is the middle name and last one is the surname.

To conclude, there are three resultant points which are noteworthy. Firstly, as it has been mentioned earlier also, the term “modern Chinese” has been used in reference to the Chinese that is standardized officially. It does not talk about any particular community or any particular area in particular. It includes the language which is being taught in various educational institutes like school, colleges and universities, majorly in the areas where it is used by masses. It is mostly the educated genre where this phenomenon of politeness is applicable.

Second, the phenomenon of politeness is universal in nature, one will find it in every culture, religion and community. But the values and norms that is included in the politeness phenomenon differs from culture to culture and religion to religion. Thus politeness in very specific to religion and culture. Third and final is, there are two functions which every politeness phenomenon should fulfill they are normative as well as instrumental functions.


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