‘How to (not) win friends and (not) influence people’: linguistic politeness in European Portuguese at the crossroads between fixity and performativity

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In October 2020, the football manager Jorge Jesus testified in a court of law, using the pronoun você to address the judge and was reprimanded for it. This episode illustrates relevant aspects regarding linguistic politeness in European Portuguese (EP): politeness as an intersubjective, socio-cultural judgement derived from a perceived “moral order” to which speakers adhere (or not) in ongoing interactions; the social penalties which EP speakers can incur when their addressive/polite behaviour is deemed to be in breach of that order; finally, the centrality of forms of address (subsumed under the intersubjectivity of politeness) in shaping interpersonal relationships in EP. In view of this, the aim of this paper is to provide a description of linguistic politeness in EP using a mixed-method approach (a number of datasets gathered via ethnographic methods, literature, media and cinema, namely a comparison of address usage in the films A Canção de Lisboa, O Pátio das Cantigas, O Leão da Estrela and their contemporary remakes). In particular, the study attempts to examine politeness as a linguistic manifestation of cultural values at the crossroads between concerns for a fixed, normative match between form and context/interlocutor (“discernment politeness” and fixity) and patterns of increased negotiation and performativity guided by localised, more equalitarian interactional goals (“volition” and fluidity). This study thus explores whether the tension between normativity and linguistic fixity and less ritualised and more performative verbal interactions evinced in the use of politeness strategies can be seen as a reflection of a growing democratisation (or lack thereof) of interpersonal relationships felt in Portugal since the 1974 Revolution.
Idioma originalEnglish
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - 1 jun. 2022
EventoMyResearch 2022: Comunicar saberes no presente global - Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisboa
Duração: 1 jun. 20221 jun. 2022


SeminárioMyResearch 2022

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