Category Archives: News and New Research

Tsakona, V. (2016). Teaching Polite Strategies in the Kindergarten



Abstract: The present study explores the use of the genre of service encounters to
teach (about) politeness strategies in the kindergarten. My teaching proposal involves
a critical approach to politeness strategies which is expected to enhance students’
awareness of the social/interactional aspects of service encounters, and in particular to
familiarize them with positive and negative politeness and with how the speech acts
they may use in such contexts contribute to creating solidarity or distance with their
interlocutors. Since young children participate in such interactions outside school,
their own experiences could form the basis for language teaching. Concurrently,
kindergartens are often equipped to host role play activities simulating service
encounters, and teachers are usually trained to assist children in such activities. Given
the above, the present teaching proposal will be based on the multiliteracies model
which aims at cultivating students’ critical literacy skills and exploits children’s
communicative and textual experiences. The presentation of the teaching proposal
here includes not only specific activities and goals that could be set by teachers and
children, but also the analysis of authentic data, so as to assist teachers in the
preparation of their courses. (Full article: tsakona_pr-2015-0022_proofs.pdf )


Call for Papers: Im/politeness and globalisation (Journal of Pragmatics, Special Issue); Journal of Language Aggression & Conflict

Call for abstracts for a special issue:  Im/politeness and globalisation


Maria Sifianou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens,

Pilar G. Blitvich, University of North Carolina at Charlotte,

Research on im/politeness has witnessed an immense expansion over the last decades (e.g. Lakoff 1973; Brown & Levinson 1978/1987; Leech 1983; Eelen 2001; Watts 2003; Mills 2003; Culpeper & Kádár 2010; Kádár & Haugh 2013; Leech 2014), although issues of im/politeness have been of concern to people for centuries. On the other hand, globalisation is a term that has gained increasing momentum relatively recently. The concept is complex and multi-faceted but broadly speaking it is assumed that it will lead to homogenisation of every aspect of people’s lives (e.g. Held et al. 2003; Coupland 2003, 2010; Fairclough 2006). Discourse practices fall at the heart of globalisation not least because it entails mobility and increasing numbers of various kinds of interactions both traditional and novel, especially given the development of technologically mediated communication.

In this context, language itself is seen a commodity (Heller 2003) which sells well if it is wrapped up with politeness (a hallmark of this being the service sector). A powerful kind of politeness, which despite its sounding alien to many, is spreading, thus appears to be leading to the homogenisation of discourse practices (e.g. Cameron 2000, 2003). Yet this view is in sharp contrast with a basic tenet of much of the recent research on im/politeness, namely that even within one culture there is considerable variation as to what is perceived as polite or impolite (e.g. Kádár & Mills 2011; Culpeper 2011, 2012). However, since globalisation is a process which implies change, this change actually entails both homogenisation and diversification “but in relation to each other. Globalization often produces hybridity and multiplicity” (Coupland 2010: 5). Interestingly, globalisation has also been associated with an increase in impoliteness and aggression, especially in the media (e.g. Tannen 1993; Garcés-Conejos Blitvich 2009) rather than seeing a growth in politeness.

The aim of this special issue is to encourage research on the many interconnections between im/politeness and globalisation, in areas such as the following:

  • academic settings
  • intercultural encounters
  • language change
  • language teaching / learning
  • media discourse
  • political discourse
  • second language acquisition
  • second / foreign language teaching / learning
  • service encounters
  • the workplace
  • translation
  • travel and tourism

Interested colleagues are invited to submit an abstract of about 350 words to both guest-editors’ e-mail addresses above.

The abstracts should include:

  • Title
  • Author’s name, current affiliation and e-mail address
  • Research question(s), methodology, findings of the research
  • Up to five key words
  • References
  • The deadline for abstract submission has been extended. Please contact the editors.


Contributions are invited for a special issue of the Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict that focuses on public debates about migration. 

Today’s world-wide rise in migration flows has not only resulted in an unprecedented international flurry of debates and negotiations on how to deal with it in terms of economic, social, and military policies but also in a huge increase in racist and xenophobic language use, hate speech and discriminatory discourse as well as in a heightened critical awareness, as could be seen, for instance in the UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s criticism of inflammatory media language in 2015. Immigration-focused discourses and the meta-communicative debates about them are the topics of the planned special issue.

We invite abstract proposals for discourse-analytical articles of up to 300 words to be submitted to the guest editor by 31 January 2016, with view to a publication in 2017, after double-blind peer review. The abstracts should indicate theoretical framework, methods, data and main conclusions. Details of JLAC guidelines can be found at

Professor Andreas Musolff  ( email:

School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies; University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK.


26th Southeast Asian Linguistics Conference: 26-28 May 2016 (Manila, Philippines)

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Be very well prepared for the next SEALS conference in Manila if you work on (a) Southeast Asian language(s) or, if your interest intersects with it/them!

Read more at:

There was also a call for papers two months ago by Dr. Mark Alves, Editor-in-Chief of JSEALS, with the following message:

“This past Summer, the 25th annual SEALS conference was held at Payap University in Chiangmai, It is time for participants to submit articles to JSEALS.

Those who did not attend SEALS are also welcome to submit articles. Article topics may include any linguistic aspect of native mainland and insular Southeast Asian languages. The papers may include theoretical aspects, applied linguistics, and useful/interesting linguistic data.

Please visit the website <> for more details.”

Mark J. Alves, JSEALS Editor-in-Chief; JSEALS Managing Editors: Paul Sidwell, Peter Jenks, Sigrid Lew



Blommaert & Maly (2014) Ethnographic Linguistic Landscape Analysis

“Whenever the composition of a neighborhood changes, the place sounds and looks differently. We realize that it has changed because we hear and read different languages than the ones we expected or were used to. Language, in that sense, is the most immediate and direct identifier of people and the most immediately sensitive indicator of social change. And disciplined attention to language can help identify the nature and direction of such processes of change, sometimes years before such changes show up in official statistics…”

Read more: tpcs_100_blommaert-maly2.pdf


Trần (2011, 2015) on the Nôm Script

Nôm scholar, Dr. Tran Trong Duong, has shared with me his recent publications on the development of the writing. (Thank you, Dr Dương!)

Tran 2011

Trần, Trọng Dương  (2011). Tổng Thuật Tình Hình Nghiên Cứu Diễn Biến Chữ Nôm (A Review of Research in the Development of Nôm).  Tạp Chí Hán Nôm (Magazine of Nom Studies 2(105): 11-28.  (In Vietnamese).

Tran 2015

Trần Trọng Dương (2015). Nguồn gốc, lịch sử và cấu trúc chữ Nôm từ bối cảnh văn hóa Đông Á (The source, history and structure of the Nôm script in the cultural background of Southeast Asia).  In Lã Minh Hằng (Ed.).  Nghiên cứu Nôm từ hướng tiếp cận liên ngành (Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of the Nôm Script)(pp. 53- 80). Hanoi: Nxb Từ điển Bách Khoa.  (In Vietnamese).

Fukushima (2015) on another perspective of politeness

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This journal article discusses fresh non-linguistics aspects and perspectives on politeness such as “attentiveness” and “heart”… Read more: fukushima-s-pr-2015-0011.pdf


While politeness has been researched mainly from the perspectives
of face and identity, this conceptual paper explores another understanding of
politeness through the consideration of attentiveness, namely, a demonstrator’s pre-emptive responses to a recipient’s verbal or non-verbal cues or situations surrounding a recipient and a demonstrator, which takes the form of offering.
In this paper, it is suggested that politeness can be construed in relation to the heart; and that behavioral (non-linguistic) politeness, an understudied area in the field, should be taken into account in politeness research. With the development of interpersonal pragmatics, there has been a growing need to investigate interpersonal relationships, and great importance is placed on evaluation in the discursive approach. As attentiveness is an interpersonal notion, which involves evaluation, the consideration of attentiveness meets these demands.
In the present paper, the concept of attentiveness is clarified and it is shown how attentiveness works by presenting the process of demonstration and evaluation of attentiveness.
Keywords: politeness, attentiveness, evaluation, heart


Maíz-Arévalo (2015) on jockery mockery on Spanish and English Facebook communities

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Abstract: Understood as an umbrella term covering different phenomena (e.g.,
banter, teasing, jocular insults, etc.), mock impoliteness has long attracted the
attention of scholars. However, most of this research has concentrated on English
while other languages have been neglected. In addition, previous research
has mostly analyzed face-to-face interaction, generally ignoring computer-mediated
communication. This paper aims to redress this imbalance by analyzing
a particular case of mock impoliteness – i.e., jocular mockery – in two Facebook
communities (Spanish and English). More specifically, and following
Haugh’s (2010) and Haugh and Bousfield’s (2012) three inter-related dimensions,
this paper intends to answer three questions: (i) what triggers jocular
mockery in each corpus? (ii) How is it “framed”? And (iii) how do interlocutors
respond to it? To this end, two balanced datasets were gathered: one in (British)
English and one in (Peninsular) Spanish, consisting of 6,215 and 6,193 words
respectively. Results show that jocular mockery is pervasive in both datasets
and both British and Spanish users resort to it when confronted with bragging.
Likewise, both groups borrow framing strategies from face-to-face communication
but also employ other means afforded by Facebook itself. They also opt
for accepting it good-naturedly as a way to boost group rapport.
Keywords: jocular mockery, computer-mediated communication,