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Intercultural aspects of new Russian politeness

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This paper is dedicated to surveying the present situation and the spread of the new Russian politeness phenomenon (NRP), and its evaluation and assessment by Russian native speakers in respect to the inter-cultural aspects of new Russian politeness. In terms of pragmatic change, the question is whether NRP is a short-lived linguistic fad or whether it is a thorough change in Russian pragmatic behaviour we are dealing with. The following paper is intended to show some empirical results of this survey of observations and responses relating to the spread and acceptance of politeness phenomena. Furthermore, the focus is on emotional evaluation, rational interpretation, and the spread of these phenomena into non-commercial communication domains. The informants' assessments prove remarkably heterogeneous and offer a variety of reactions, ranging from rejection and pejorative evaluation as communicative ballast to enthusiastic acceptance. The rational evaluations can be subsumed under westernisation and commercialisation of discourse - two aspects of globalisation which is seen as the implementation of forms of the free market economy. On the other hand, we also find a semantic interpretation as an expression of individualisation of discourse. It can finally be observed that while some respondents even diagnosed a decrease in politeness since its climax in the late 1990s, a possible mixture of genuinely Russian politeness (characterised by warmth, openness, spontaneity, taking an interest in others, etc.; positive politeness, Brown & Levinson 1987) with Western non-intrusive politeness (negative politeness, Brown & Levinson 1987) was also predicted, which I regard as the most optimistic future scenario. (authorĀ“s abstract) ; Series: WU Online Papers in International Business Communication / Series One: Intercultural Communication and Language Learning

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Renate Rathmayr

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