Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Impersonal Politeness
(1,989 words)

Chinese tradition did not encourage impersonal politeness to strangers, comparable to the generic English hello, Japanese konnichiwa, or Arabic/Hebrew shalom, used uniformly toward people regardless of their rank. China’s politeness has been hierarchical, centered on face building among insiders addressed by title. Strangers can fall outside thi…

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Mary ERBAUGH, “Impersonal Politeness”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 20 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_000253>
First published online: 2016

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