A Contrastive Study on Politeness Strategies in Chinese and English Book Reviews
【摘要】：With Brown and Levinson's face theory as a theoretical framework, this thesis attempts to conduct a contrastive study on the politeness strategies used in Chinese and English book reviews. According to face theory and the definition of book review, book reviews contain a lot of face threatening acts (FTAs). To reduce the threat, book reviewers always adopt many politeness strategies purposely or unconsciously. This thesis studies, by means of a qualitative research and a quantitative research, the use of politeness strategies in 30 Chinese book reviews from the periodical Modern Foreign Languages and 30 English ones from the periodical Language in Society.
The qualitative research reveals that many politeness strategies are used in both Chinese and English book reviews and the politeness strategies used in these two types of book reviews are quite similar as a whole. While the quantitative research shows that there exist great differences between the frequencies of most of the politeness strategies in Chinese and English book reviews.
It is found that Chinese book reviewers are more likely to shorten the social distance between the Author as well as the Reader and themselves by employing politeness strategies. Chinese book reviewers tend to talk about the value of the books reviewed indirectly while.English book reviewers tend to do it directly. The politeness strategy 'giving deference' is more frequently used in Chinese prefaces than in English ones. In other words, Chinese book reviewers are more likely to denigrate themselves and elevate others. 'Not or minimizing imposition on others' is also a golden rule in avoiding doing FTAs. English book reviewers are more likely to employ this strategy than Chinese ones.
The thesis explains the differences from the cultural point of view and argues that the differences mainly arise from the differences between Chinese and English in concepts of face, politeness principles, and cultural values such as collectivism versus individualism, large power-distance versus equality, and intra-group harmony versus assertiveness.