Linguistic Politeness—A Major Tool for Cross-cultural Requests

Main Article Content

Takwa Bosuwon


In an era of growing internationalization, requesting—a demand made by a requester asking a favor of another person (Nelson et al 2002) -- has played a vital role in cross-cultural interactions. Since making requests involves the speaker’s effort to get assistance from the hearer, it is intrinsically face-threatening (Brown and Levinson 1987). The use of politeness strategies then comes into play to soften the face threats. Moreover, since the notion of politeness is perceived differently across cultures (Blum-Kulka 1987), politeness strategies become helpful only when formulated in a socially and culturally appropriate way. This article explores linguistic politeness in requests based on politeness theories, linguistic politeness across cultures, shortcomings of universal politeness theories, studies of culture-specific politeness, and teaching linguistic politeness to EFL requesters.

Article Details

Research articles
Author Biography

Takwa Bosuwon, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce

Asst. Prof. Dr. Takwa Bosuwon received her B.A. in English from the Faculty of Arts, Thammasat University, M.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Thammasat University, and a doctor of philosophy in English as an International Language (EIL), Graduate School, Chulalongkorn University. She is a lecturer in the Department of English for Business Communication, School of Humanities and Applied Arts, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. Her current interests are English reading-writing instruction, language test development, and intercultural communication.


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