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Article
Speaking politely, kindly, and beautifully: Ideologies of politeness in Japanese business etiquette training
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication
  • Cynthia Dickel Dunn, University of Northern Iowa
Document Type
Article
Keywords
  • politeness theory; language ideology; workplace communication; business etiquette; Japanese
Abstract
In recent years, politeness theory has increasingly focused on speakers’ own conceptualizations of polite behavior, viewing politeness concepts as a type of language ideology. This article examines the construction of Japanese politeness concepts in the business etiquette training provided for new employees in Japanese companies. Drawing on participant-observation of business etiquette seminars offered by five training companies, it analyzes how employees are taught to show deference through appropriate honorific use, to speak in ways which are seen as kind or considerate, and to speak and move in ways the instructors define as ‘beautiful.’ The analysis demonstrates how etiquette training conflates displays of deference, kindness, and demeanor, training new employees in an interactional presentation of self designed to promote a positive corporate image. The analysis of politeness as language ideology reveals how local constructions of politeness can serve larger strategic ends, in this case those of corporate image-making.
Department
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology
Comments

First published in Multilingua, v. 32 n. 2 (2013), pp. 225-245, published by De Gruyter. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2013-0011

The final publication is available at www.degruyter.com

Original Publication Date
2-1-2013
DOI of published version
10.1515/multi-2013-0011
Repository
UNI ScholarWorks, University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library
Date Digital
2013
Copyright
©2013 De Gruyter. The copyright holder has granted permission for posting.
Language
EN
File Format
pdf
Citation Information
Cynthia Dickel Dunn. "Speaking politely, kindly, and beautifully: Ideologies of politeness in Japanese business etiquette training" Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication Vol. 32 Iss. 2 (2013) p. 225 - 245
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/cynthia-dunn/1/