Quotation Culpeper, Jonathan, Gillings, Mathew. 2017. Politeness variation in England: A north-south divide? BNC2014 Symposium, Lancaster, United Kingdom, 26.06.




Academia treats linguistic politeness in Britain as a monolithic block characterized by indirectness (e.g. using expressions like "could you ...", "would you mind ..", I wonder if ...", and so on rather than just "give me a coffee"). However, this seems to clash with the popular conception that northerners have very different politeness practices from southerners, practices which, broadly, are characterized by friendliness and solidarity. We explored these issues by selecting 14 key British politeness expressions, each belonging to one of three different types of politeness (tentativeness, deference or solidarity), and then examining their frequencies in corpora (large electronic collections of language data). Results from the combined north and south components of the new BNC2014 and the original BNC, did in fact support the idea that tentativeness politeness (which includes indirectness) is a general characteristic in England, but they did not support the idea that solidarity politeness might be more characteristic of the north compared to the south. However, a pattern that did seem to reflect a north-south divide concerns (in)formality. This presentation is based on research undertaken within CASS (the research Centre for Corpus Approaches to the Social Sciences), and will appear as a written publication.


Press 'enter' for creating the tag

Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title Politeness variation in England: A north-south divide?
Event BNC2014 Symposium
Year 2017
Date 26.06
Country United Kingdom
Location Lancaster


Gillings, Mathew (Details)
Culpeper, Jonathan (Lancaster University, United Kingdom)
Institute for English Business Communication (Mautner) (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
6604 Applied linguistics (Details)
6611 Linguistics (Details)
6623 Sociolinguistics (Details)
6633 Computational linguistics (Details)
Google Scholar: Search