Seminar paper from the year 2013 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Comparative Literature, grade: 2,7, University of Dusseldorf "Heinrich Heine", language: English, abstract: This paper has two aims: At first, to find out whether the German responses respectively results differ from Chen's American English ones or whether there are similarities. Secondly to interpret the results according to the two cultures and to show that there are more similarities than differences between the two cultures. In the next section the theoretical background of this term paper will be explained with a definition of politeness as well as a definition of a compliment. As already mentioned, there will be a description of Leech's Politeness Principle and Brown and Levinson's theory of politeness which will be linked to the comparison of the two cultures. To make a comparison possible between American English speakers and German speakers, the same methodology as Chen's will be presented, which will be the next section. The step after the methodology will be the illustration of the findings. The comparison of the data with an interpretation according to both cultures will be included in the discussion section. At the end will be a short conclusion of the whole study. If you are in a foreign country, you try to be polite. But what exactly is politeness? Maybe you have already noticed that not in every country respectively culture you find the same understanding of politeness, which can lead to misunderstandings between people from different cultures. Hence many linguists try to compare the understanding of politeness of different cultures and countries with the aid of some researches and some politeness theories. The most important and popular politeness theories are those of Brown and Levinson, Leech and Grice, which will help to understand and group the findings into categories. Later on, some of them will be defined. The comparison between American English and German is quite vague, because the questionnaires were given to only 50 students from the same region in each research. This imprecision leads to more questions according to the study: Do we have regional politeness varieties in a country or even social politeness varieties? So that a new question arises, whether a small study of 50 students for each country can show politeness understanding in general for each country? These questions will not be answered in this term paper, because of the large amount of data and the lacking possibilities to collect it.
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