Intentionality, communicative intentions and the implication of politeness

Ruhi S.

INTERCULTURAL PRAGMATICS, vol.5, no.3, pp.287-314, 2008 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 5 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1515/iprg.2008.014
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.287-314


Working within the relevance-theoretic paradigm (Sperber & Wilson 1995 [1986]), complemented with the cognitive linguistic approach (Johnson 1987; Lakoff & Johnson 1980), the paper proposes that politeness is an optional metarepresentation of an "interpersonal attitude" (Haugh 2007: 91) that concerns the domain of intentionality. The paper first addresses the issue of "noticed" vs. "unnoticed" politeness with respect to utterance processing and argues that "unnoticed" (conventional) politeness can exist in interaction on the level of "background consciousness" (O'Driscoll 1996: 1) and that processing of non-conventional utterances need not go through full-fledged inferential processing to achieve polite interpretations. Politeness is described as an implication that may result via the integration of the metarepresentation of (communicative) intentions and evaluative meta-representations of the interlocutors' social acts.