Edited by Konstanze Jungbluth, Cornelia Müller, Nicole Richter, Hartmut Schröder

Carmen M. Garcia

Overview across various fields of speech acts and Politeness

Leyre Ruiz de Zarobe, Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe (eds.). 2012. Speech Acts and Politeness across Languages and Cultures. Bern: Peter Lang.


This edited volume is a rich and innovative collection of thirteen articles on verbal politeness written by authors from different parts of the world. In their introduction, the editors describe the scope of the volume and emphasize the challenges posed by widespread intercultural interactions which reveal communicative similarities and differences between languages and cultures. Thus they propose to study the realization of speech acts in some languages and cultures, compare different speech acts across languages, explore important aspects related to language teaching and learning, and evaluate methodological resources in pragmatics research. These areas are successfully addressed in the four sections of the book.


The first section, Speech Acts and Politeness in Some Languages and Cultures, includes five articles concentrating on five different languages, four western and one eastern: Eva Ogiermann’s study of Polish Politeness, Deniz Zeyreks’ work on thanking in Turkish, Spryridoula Bella and Maria Sifianous’s study on Greek students’ email requests, Luis M. Larringan and Itziar Idiazabal’s use of generic 'you' in Basque, and Xiangying Jiang’s work on Chinese politeness.

Section two, Speech Acts and Politeness across Languages and Cultures, contains three chapters comparing speech act realization in different languages: Kathrin Siebold compares thanking strategies in Spanish and German exploring culture specific styles of politeness, Leyre Ruiz de Xarobe investigates learning offers on the internet in Spanish and French, and Maria Shardakova analyzes the use of humor by Russian and American speakers.

Section three, Speech Acts and Politeness in Second/Foreign Language Teaching and Learning, presents four articles: J. César Félix-Brasdefer and Maria Hasler-Barker’s work on the teaching of complimenting and responding to a compliment in the Spanish FL classroom, Seonaid Beckwith and Jean-Marc Dewaele‘s study of the development of apologies in Japanese after a study abroad experience, Otilia Martí Arnándiz’s work comparing the use of

request modifiers by male and female Spanish EFL students, and Vesna Milkolič’s work on teaching Slovenian and Italian communicative styles.

Section four, Methodological Resources in Pragmatics, includes one single article by Eva Ogiermann and Denise Saßenroth on the use of statistics in contrastive pragmatics.


Overall, this book is a valuable resource for scholars and students interested in the pragmatics of commonly and less commonly researched languages, cross-cultural communication and applied linguistics. All the articles present rich and extensive literature and innovative research/teaching methodologies, and offer interesting and groundbreaking contributions to pragmatics.

Carmen M. Garcia
Research interests: Spanish Pragmatics, Intercultural Communication, Teaching Pragmatics, Teaching Spanish.

Download: Carmen M. Garcia: Review on Speech Acts and Politeness across Languages and Cultures. 2012. In PRAGMATICS.REVIEWS 2013.1.3