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Politeness of Discourse and Vocabulary Teaching

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The article is a review of the few existing publications dealing with problem of politeness of discourse in the process of vocabulary teaching. While communicatively teaching vocabulary, we should keep in mind that the goal is not just memorization by learners of lists of words, their semantics, combinability, etc. and successful performance of some exercises, but first of all it is the formation of learner's ability to communicate in the target language (to apply the acquired vocabulary as efficiently as possible). From this point of view some issues of politeness of discourse are more crucial than the correct pronunciation of the word or some other aspect of linguistic correctness. Not only stylistic appropriateness makes our utterances polite, but also tact. Though "tact" is definitely not a linguistic category, it has to be taught in vocabulary classes. Minorities (taking into consideration their gender, age, race, nationality, physical defects, etc.), for example, should be labeled very carefully. What kind of utterance is considered to be polite / rude depends on the degree of formality / informality of the situation (the so-called "insider" or "outsider" talk). Language learners should also be aware that irony and sarcasm can turn any polite word into an impolite one. Language learners need both information about unpleasant words and strategies that will permit them to be not only linguistically, but also "politically" correct. Some of such strategies and ways to form them are discussed in the article.

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