Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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(2,536 words)

Face, thanks to Brown and Levinson’s (1978, 1987) seminal work, has attracted an enormous amount of attention in linguistic pragmatics. Goffman’s now well-recognized classic paper “On Face-work” (Goffman 1955; reprinted in Goffman 1972) has similarly influenced sociology. Interestingly, both works acknowledge their debt to the Chinese origin of face. Ho (1976:867) writes: “the concept of face is, of course, Chinese in origin, and the term is a literal translation of the Chinese lien [liǎn] and mien-tzu [miànzi] (cf. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary 1944; Webster’s Dictiona…

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Yueguo GU, “Face”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 25 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000152>
First published online: 2015

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