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Gender and Politeness Rules in Japan and the United States
Unformatted Document Text:  Gender and Politeness Rules 3 Gender and Politeness Rules in Japan and the United States Politeness is important in the study of communication because it provides ways to minimize the friction between individuals when they interact (Okabe, 1990). Janny and Arndt (1992) suggest that there are two types of politeness (i.e., tact and social politeness). Tact refers to interpersonal strategies for maintaining face, and social politeness refers to the rules that are used for smoothly organized interaction. Ting-Toomey (1994) defines face as “a claimed sense of self-respect in an interactive situation” (p. 1). The initial discussions of face (e.g., Goffman, 1955, 1967; Ho, 1976; Hu, 1944) did not link face to politeness (Watts, Ide, & Ehlich, 1992); however, since Brown and Levinson (1978), linguistic politeness has been associated with face. Politeness exists in all cultures, but there are cultural differences in the ways individuals are polite (Brown & Levinson, 1987). For example, Ogawa and Gudykunst (1999) examine perceptions of politeness rules in Japan and the United States. The results of their study suggest that there are some rules that are perceived as more important in one culture than in the other. Thus, it is important to consider culture (e.g., national culture) when studying politeness. Many communicative differences in gender such as verbal behavior (e.g., Brooks, 1982; Fishman, 1978; Holmes, 1986, 1988, 1989; Lakoff, 1975; Morgan, 1976; Porter, Geis, Cooper, & Newman, 1985; Zimmerman & West, 1975) and nonverbal behavior (e.g., Aiello & Aiello, 1974; Duncan, 1983; Ekman & Friesen, 1972; Evans & Cherulnik, 1980; Kendon & Ferber, 1973; Knapp & Hall, 1992; Ricci Bitti, Giovanni, & Dalmonari, 1974; Smith, 1981) have been reported. Differences between the two groups often are explained as cultural differences (e.g., Triandis, 1995). This gender-as-culture hypothesis is supported by Mulac, Bradac, and Gibbons (2001). The present study examines similarities and differences in the perception of politeness rules between men and women.

Authors: Ogawa, Naoto.
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Gender and Politeness Rules 3
Gender and Politeness Rules in Japan and the United States
Politeness is important in the study of communication because it provides ways to
minimize the friction between individuals when they interact (Okabe, 1990). Janny and Arndt
(1992) suggest that there are two types of politeness (i.e., tact and social politeness). Tact
refers to interpersonal strategies for maintaining face, and social politeness refers to the rules
that are used for smoothly organized interaction. Ting-Toomey (1994) defines face as “a
claimed sense of self-respect in an interactive situation” (p. 1). The initial discussions of face
(e.g., Goffman, 1955, 1967; Ho, 1976; Hu, 1944) did not link face to politeness (Watts, Ide,
& Ehlich, 1992); however, since Brown and Levinson (1978), linguistic politeness has been
associated with face.
Politeness exists in all cultures, but there are cultural differences in the ways
individuals are polite (Brown & Levinson, 1987). For example, Ogawa and Gudykunst
(1999) examine perceptions of politeness rules in Japan and the United States. The results of
their study suggest that there are some rules that are perceived as more important in one
culture than in the other. Thus, it is important to consider culture (e.g., national culture) when
studying politeness.
Many communicative differences in gender such as verbal behavior (e.g., Brooks,
1982; Fishman, 1978; Holmes, 1986, 1988, 1989; Lakoff, 1975; Morgan, 1976; Porter, Geis,
Cooper, & Newman, 1985; Zimmerman & West, 1975) and nonverbal behavior (e.g., Aiello
& Aiello, 1974; Duncan, 1983; Ekman & Friesen, 1972; Evans & Cherulnik, 1980; Kendon
& Ferber, 1973; Knapp & Hall, 1992; Ricci Bitti, Giovanni, & Dalmonari, 1974; Smith,
1981) have been reported. Differences between the two groups often are explained as cultural
differences (e.g., Triandis, 1995). This gender-as-culture hypothesis is supported by Mulac,
Bradac, and Gibbons (2001). The present study examines similarities and differences in the
perception of politeness rules between men and women.


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