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Re: my grammar

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Sunday, January 2, 2005, 13:13
From:    Rodlox R <rodlox@...>
> but from what I've heard, most people appreciate it when someone (at least > initially) speaks to them in their (the former, not the latter)'s own > language, rather than their (the latter, not the former)'s own language.
I think this varies from culture to culture. There's a well-known anthropological distinction between positive face (associative politeness) and negative "face" (impositional politeness). It is my understanding that although all cultures seek to optimize both kinds of face, when there is a conflict some cultures maximize one kind over the other. In America, the tendency seems to be to consider telling people what language to speak very rude -- at least, that's my experience; I associate it with racists and antiimmigrant opinions. In my experience, continental Europeans tend to take the opposite stance, that making no effort to speak the others' language is very rude. Thus, Americans would seem more to seek to preserve negative face, while Europeans more positive face, with respect to this issue at least (the opposite is the case with respect to other cultural phenomena). ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637


Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>Politeness (was Re: my grammar )