Edited by

Leo Hickey (University of Salford)


Miranda Stewart (University of Strathclyde)


This truly unique work is a must-have for anyone involved in politeness research for at least three reasons: it provides a never before attempted overview of European politeness practices; it charts the terrain of European politeness research; and through the juxtaposition of viewpoints informed by the socio-political and historical particularities of distinct languages and countries, lays the foundations for a more integrated understanding of politeness. [Gino Eelen, independent researcher to the International Pragmatics Association's 'IPrA Research Center' at the University of Antwerp, Belgium]


Key Features

- Study of linguistic politeness has undergone an explosion of interest since the late 1980s

- Contributes to the development of politeness theory and theories

- Provides a broad picture of politeness across 22 European countries

- Each chapter gives an empirical snapshot of the issues and practices in its society



Politeness as practised across 22 European societies, firmly set within critical debates developed over recent decades, is here presented in ways related to concrete situations in which language-users interact with one another to achieve their goals. Areas covered include types of politeness, forms of address, negotiation and “small-talk” in various contexts.


Introduction L. Hickey and M. Stewart

WESTERN EUROPE 1. Germany: politeness in Germany? J. House (University of Hamburg); 2. France: how to buy bread politely C. Kerbrat-Orecchioni (Lumičre University); 3. Belgium: face, distance and sincerity in service-exchange rituals E. Danblon (Université Libre de Bruxelles), B. de Clerck (University of Ghent) & J-P. van Noppen (Université Libre de Bruxelles); 4. Luxemburg: greetings from foreign parts J. Kramer (University of Trier); 5. Netherlands: indirect requests R. le Pair (University of Nijmegen); 6. Austria: politeness and impoliteness S. Haumann, U. Koch & K. Sornig (University of Graz); 7. Switzerland: between respect and acceptance G. Manno (University of Zurich); 8. Britain “It’s only a suggestion…” M. Stewart; 9. Ireland: “…in Ireland, it’s done without being said” J. L. Kallen (Trinity College, Dublin).

NORTHERN EUROPE 10. Norway: how can you be polite and sincere? T. Fretheim (University of Trondheim); 11. Denmark: getting to the point E. Fredsted (University of Flensburg); 12. Sweden: parliamentary forms of address C. Ilie (Örebro University); 13. Finland: evasion at all costs V. Yli-Vakkuri (University of Turku)

EASTERN EUROPE 14. Estonia: a matter-of-fact style L. Keevallik (Tartu University); 15.Poland: from “titlemania” to grammaticalised honorifics R. Huszcza (Warsaw University); 16. Hungary: uncertainty in a changing society L. Bencze (Apor Vilmos Catholic College, Zsámbék); 17 The Czech Republic: distance levels, management and intercultural contact J. Neustupný (Obirin University, Tokyo) and J. Nekvapil (Charles University, Prague)

SOUTHERN EUROPE 18. Politeness in Greece: The politeness of involvement M. Sifianou and E. Antonopoulou (University of Athens); 19. Cyprus: a coffee or a small coffee? M. Terkourafi (British School in Athens and University of Cambridge); 20. Italy: polite requests G. Held (University of Salzburg); 21. Portugal: how to address others M. H. Araújo Carreira (Université de Paris); 22. Spain: thanks but no “thanks” L. Hickey


Editor information

Leo Hickey is a Research Professor at the University of Salford, where he was Professor of Spanish for several years. His work centres mainly on Spanish linguistics, stylistics, pragmatics and translation theory.

Miranda Stewart is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Strathclyde. Her interests include interactional pragmatics and the negotiation of face in dialogue interpreting.

Multilingual Matters 127 August 2004 format: 210 x 148mm 330 pp

Hbk ISBN 1-85359-738-4 Ł59.95 / US$99.95/ CAN$129.95

Pbk ISBN 1-85359-737-6 Ł24.95/ US$44.95/ CAN$59.95

Subject (Book Data Classification): Sociolinguistics (L210); Level: Undergraduate (U)/ Postgraduate (P) / Research, Professional (R) Territory: World