Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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One well documented aspect of politeness is that speakers, when making requests, often try to avoid the appearance of imposing on the other person. There is some evidence that the degree of politeness is affected by socio-demographic variables such as age, sex and SES. This paper is a small scale study of variation in politeness usage in Hong Kong Cantonese. It uses a context, in which the interactive negotiation of a social relationship is very constrained, so that the effects of the socio-demographic variables can be clearly manifested. The findings indicate that it is possible that SES plays a small role in variation, and that women and young people are in general more polite. The study has implications for variation studies and politeness studies.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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