Multilingual Associative Thesaurus Of Politeness: Stage 1
The article focuses on compiling multilingual associative thesaurus of politeness. At the first stage of the project the list of word cues was obtained by mutually verifiable methods. The procedure of selecting cues started with component and definition analysis which were used to reveal the semantic components of politeness fixed in the lexicographical sources. It was followed by free word association experiment which is considered to be an effective tool for studying organization of lexicon. In order to clarify and supplement the free association data the method of mind maps was used. It extended the number of prospective links that the cue word activated. The multilingual associative thesaurus based on the systematization of associative data dedicated to politeness makes it possible to reveal not only universal, but also ethnic patterns of associative norms, which reflect linguistic and cultural stereotypes of politeness. This project would contribute to the solution of fundamental problems connected with the correlation of universal, ethnic and individual in speech activity and the content of the images of the world of representatives of different cultures. It would help eliminate semantic “gaps” in the field of polite behavior and diminish intercultural communicative failures in the period of rude and unfriendly moods in modern multicultural society.
Keywords: Multilingualpolitenessthesaurusword associationword cue
Cultural and speech traditions have been evolving for centuries forming ethical and aesthetic values, represented in a certain language. In this regard politeness has become a subject of multiple academic studies in linguistics ( Al-Mansoob, Patil, & Alrefaee, 2019; Chocron, Fontaine, & Ringeissen, 2020; Isosävi, 2020; Locher & Larina, 2019; Stepykin, 2014). Due to rude and unfriendly moods in modern society the number of articles dedicated to the category of (im)politeness has drastically increased ( Al-Ghamdi, Almansoob, & Alrefaee, 2019; Anderson & Huntington, 2017; Haugh & Kádár, 2017; Ismail & Shanmuganathan, 2019; Masullo, Chen, & Lu, 2017; Sinkeviciute, 2015). Despite numerous studies in this field there are still some arguments and problems unsolved. The researchers haven’t come to consensus on the origin of politeness, as well as on how it is formed and used by native speakers. The ethnically specific ways of its verbal representation are not fully studied.
Being one of the most important cultural concepts politeness determines functioning of each society and forms the speakers’ image of the world. A comprehensive cross-cultural study of politeness as one of the basic mental formations is going to be useful for further theoretical understanding of the correlation between mental representation and language structures in a variety of populations. This research should be based on word association norms, which provide access to the organization of the lexicon.
Compilers of associative dictionaries focus on monolingual language material ( Karaulov, Sorokin, Tarasov, Ufimtseva, & Cherkasova, 1994; Kiss, Armstrong, & Milroy, 1972; Palermo & Jenkins, 1964; Vivas, Vivas, Comesaña, Coni, & Vorano, 2017). There are some examples of multilingual norms of word association ( Postman & Keppel, 1970; Ufimtseva, Cherkasova, Karaulov, & Tarasov, 2004). The researchers can use different models to analyze the value of associative data (Buchanan, Valentine, & Maxwell, 2018, 2019; De Deyne, Navarro, Perfors, & Storms, 2016; De Deyne, Navarro, Perfors, Brysbaert, & Storms, 2019; Kenett, Levi, Anaki, & Faust, 2017; Van Rensbergen, De Deyne, & Storms, 2016). It should be noted that most associative dictionaries represent the information in alphabetical order. The choice of word association cues in most studies relies either on the word’s frequency or on the researcher’s goals and intentions. The assumption that words are stored as nodes in interconnected network proves the reasonability and efficiency of organizing associative data in accordance with the thematic principle. Politeness was chosen as the key word association cue in our project due to several reasons. “Multilingual Associative Thesaurus of Politeness” is supposed to reveal the intra-lexical links that stem from the stimulus and identify ethnolinguistic stereotypes of politeness. Thorough analysis of the associative data would be particularly useful for the development and optimization of intercultural communication. It would also contribute to solving the problem of fixing the national and cultural specificity of speakers’ language consciousness and create methods of teaching intercultural communication in order to achieve maximum efficiency of intercultural communication and overcome the cultural and linguistic barriers.
The following research questions were raised at the first stage of compiling multilingual thematic associative thesaurus dedicated to the category of politeness. What does the procedure for selecting cues involve, namely methods of research, the number and range of cues used in one experiment, the number of respondents taking part in the experiment, their sex, age and status? Similar questions appeared in the articles of other researchers who used to deal with free association method ( Brysbaert, 2019; Playfoot et al., 2016).
Purpose of the Study
“Multilingual Associative Thesaurus of Politeness” continues the traditions of associative lexicography building interconnected network of words related to politeness. At this stage of the project it is planned to establish the procedure of selecting cues for compiling the thesaurus.
In order to select the cues we used component and definition analysis, free word association method and mind mapping. The first two methods reveal the semantic content of politeness fixed in lexicographic sources. Free word association helps find the strongest links between words in the respondents' vocabulary. Though some researches still argue about that the findings of Playfoot et al. ( 2016) prove that word association responses are likely to reflect the first word that comes to the respondents’ mind. The method of mind maps increases the number of potentially possible communicative situations that the cue activates and allows to clarify and supplement the free association data.
Stage 1 of the project "Multilingual Associative Thesaurus of Politeness" includes the procedure of selecting stimuli for the dictionary entries. We are going to clarify this procedure on the material of English.
According to the integrated analysis of lexicographic sources politeness as a lexeme includes the following components: affability, amenity, amiability, benevolence, civility, comity, complaisance, considerate, courtesy, courteousness, courtliness, decorum, elegance of manners, favour, gentility, good-breeding, norms, refinement, regard, respectful, social, suavity, tact, urbanity, usage. These are the cues for the free association experiment.
Free association experiment is the second step of the procedure. It was conducted in 2019 – 2020 and involved 100 respondents. Most of them were students. Both personal contacts and online forums and chats were used to distribute the questionnaires. The informants were presented with the word cue
The exact instructions were as follows:
It should be noted that the start and end time of the experiment was indicated on the blank of the questionnaire. If it took the respondent more than 1 min. to fulfill the assignment we didn't take into account the obtained data.
In order to clarify and supplement the free association data the method of mind maps (Figure
Having integrated the results of two experiments and the data of lexicographical sources we made up the list of cues for the prospective thesaurus entries:
The first stage of compiling a multilingual associative thesaurus of politeness included a three-step empirical study. Mutually verifiable methods were used to obtain the list of word cues for the subsequent free association experiment. A similar procedure for selecting cues can be proposed for compiling dictionary entries of the associative thesaurus in Russian, Italian, Chinese, and other languages. Thorough analysis of associative data is going to open up new promising directions in the study of word semantics, mechanisms of speech activity, and in other fields of linguistic and cross-cultural studies. The revealed ethno-linguistic and cultural stereotypes of politeness are going to contribute to the theory of cross-cultural communication and help overcome language and cultural barriers.
The reported study was funded by RFBR, project number 20-012-00160.
- Al-Ghamdi, N., Almansoob, N., & Alrefaee, Y. (2019). Pragmatic Failure in the Realization of the Speech act of Responding to Compliments among Yemeni EFL Undergraduates. 3L: The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 25(4), 227-240. http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/3L-2019-2504-14
- Al-Mansoob, N. T., Patil, K. S., & Alrefaee, Y. (2019). A Cross-cultural Study of The Speech Act of Compliments in American English and Yemeni Arabic. LANGKAWI Journal, 5(1), 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.31332/lkw.v5i1.1271
- Anderson, A. A., & Huntington, H. E. (2017). Social Media, Science, and Attack Discourse: How Twitter Discussions of Climate Change Use Sarcasm and Incivility. Science Communication, 39(5), 598-620. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1075547017735113
- Brysbaert, M. (2019). How Many Participants Do We Have to Include in Properly Powered Experiments? A Tutorial of Power Analysis with Reference Tables. Journal of Cognition, 2(1), 16. http://doi.org/10.5334/joc.72
- Buchanan, E. M., Valentine, K. D., & Maxwell, N. P. (2019). English semantic feature production norms: An extended database of 4436 concepts. Behavior Research Methods, 51(4), 1849-1863. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-019-01243-z
- Buchanan, E. M., Valentine, K. D., & Maxwell, N. P. (2018). LAB: Linguistic Annotated Bibliography – a searchable portal for normed database information. Behavior Research Methods, 51(1), 1878–1888. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-018-1035-6
- Chocron, P., Fontaine, P., & Ringeissen, C. (2020). Politeness and Combination Methods for Theories with Bridging Functions. Journal of Automated Reasoning, 64(1), 97–134. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10817-019-09512-4
- De Deyne, S., Navarro, D. J., Perfors, A., & Storms, G. (2016). Structure at every scale: A semantic network account of the similarities between unrelated concepts. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(9), 1228–1254. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000192
- De Deyne, S., Navarro, D. J., Perfors, A., Brysbaert, M., & Storms, G. (2019). The “Small World of Words” English word association norms for over 12,000 cue words. Behavior Research Methods, 51(3) 987–1006. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-018-1115-7
- Haugh, M., & Kádár, D. Z. (2017). Intercultural (Im)politeness. Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-37508-7_23
- Isosävi, J. (2020). Cultural outsiders' reported adherence to Finnish and French politeness norms. Journal of Pragmatics, 155(1), 177-192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2019.10.015
- Ismail, I. N., & Shanmuganathan, T. (2019). Face Threats in Threads: Assessing the Responses to Impoliteness in Facebook Comments on 1MDB. 3L: The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 25(4), 34 – 50. http://doi.org/10.17576/3L-2019-2504-03
- Karaulov, Yu. N., Sorokin, Yu. A., Tarasov, E. F., Ufimtseva, N. V., & Cherkasova, G. A. (1994). Assotsiativnyy tezaurus sovremennogo russkogo yazyka [The Associative Thesaurus of Modern Russian Language]. Moscow: Institute of the Russian Language RAS.
- Kenett, Y. N., Levi, E., Anaki, D., & Faust, M. (2017). The semantic distance task: Quantifying semantic distance with semantic network path length. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43, 1470–1489.
- Kiss, G. R., Armstrong, C. A., & Milroy, R. (1972). An associative thesaurus of English (microfilm version). Wakefield, E. P. Microforms.
- Locher, M. A., & Larina, T. V. (2019). Introduction to politeness and impoliteness research in global contexts. Russian Journal of Linguistics, 23(4), 873 – 903. http://10.22363/2687-0088-2019-23-4-873-903
- Masullo, C. G., & Lu, S. (2017). Online Political Discourse: Exploring Differences in Effects of Civil and Uncivil Disagreement in News Website Comments. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 61(1), 108-125. https://doi.org/10.1080/08838151.2016.1273922
- Palermo, D., & Jenkins, J. (1964). Word Association Norms. University of Minnesota Press.
- Playfoot, D., Balint, T., Pandya, V., Parkes, A., Peters, M., & Richards, S. (2016). Are word association responses really the first words that come to mind? Applied Linguistics, 39(5), 607 – 624. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amw015
- Postman, L., & Keppel, G. (1970). Norms of word association. Academic Press.
- Sinkeviciute, V. (2015). “There’s definitely gonna be some serious carnage in this house” or how to be genuinely impolite in Big Brother UK. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict, 3(2), 317-348. Retrieved from http://www.jbe-platform.com/content/journals/10.1075/jlac.3.2.04sin
- Stepykin, N. I. (2014). Politeness, courtesy, civility: Mapping associative fields. Journal of Language and Literature, 5(4), 243-247. doi:10.7813/jll.2014/5-4/52
- Ufimtseva, N. V., Cherkasova, G. A., Karaulov, Yu. N., & Tarasov, Ye. F. (2004). Slavyanskij assotsiativnyy slovar [Slavic associative dictionary]. Moscow: MSLU-Russian Academy of Sciences.
- Van Rensbergen, B., De Deyne, S., & Storms, G. (2016). Estimating affective word covariates using word association data. Behavior Research Methods, 48(4), 1644–1652. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-015-0680-2
- Vivas, J., Vivas, L., Comesaña, A., Coni, A. G., & Vorano, A. (2017). Spanish semantic SEMANTIC NORMS 35 797 feature production norms for 400 concrete concepts. Behavior Research Methods, 798 49 (3), 1095–1106. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-016-0777-2
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
About this article
Cite this paper as:
Click here to view the available options for cite this article.
VolumeEpSBS / Volume 86 - WUT 2020