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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Yuling Pan, Politeness in Chinese face-to-face Interaction
Author: Ning Yu
Institution: University of Oklahoma
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: This book makes an important contribution to understanding the complexity of the sources of power that govern Chinese politeness behavior in different settings. To answer the question of why Chinese seem to be inconsistent in their politeness behavior, the author conducted ethnographic research in southern China over a period of eight years in the
1990s. Through discourse analysis of data in both Cantonese and Mandarin, Pan describes Chinese politeness behavior across three social settings – business encounters, official
meetings, and family gatherings – that represent a variety of situations and power structures. Taking into account the social factors of age, gender, rank, ingroup identity, and setting, Pan brings in the perspective of situational variation and looks at Chinese politeness practice in the larger framework of social context.


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 31, Issue 2.

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