Semantics of POLITENESS in different linguocultures: Universal and culture-specific characteristics
The article focuses on the notion of politeness in different lingvocultures. Politeness seems to be one of the universal cultural values, however, its semantic scope and means of expression may vary from culture to culture. The paper gives an overview of different approaches to politeness with a special emphasis on its treatment in English-speaking, Arabic and Russian cultures. The notion of politeness is specified with a view to a certain culture. A comparative study of the semantic scope of politeness in different cultures results in a set of its universal and culture-specific characteristics. Respect is acknowledged as a universal characteristic of politeness, though its semantic scope may vary in different cultures, which creates a need for its further study. It is argued that cultural specifics of politeness stems from cultural values inherent in a certain culture, such as relations to time and space, activity and communication, etc. Thus, in Russian politeness is more of a moral quality associated with communicative behavior aimed at harmonization of social interaction; in Arabic it is softness, something you should follow due to holy prescriptions and intuition; in English-speaking cultures politeness has a pronounced pragmatic bias, it is a face which a person puts on to achieve different ends.