The Use of Intermediate Channels as a Strategy to Minimize Imposition in Intercultural English-speaking Contexts – Implications for Modifications of English Linguistic Politeness Theories

Pham Thi Hong Nhung


The paper reports an interesting data corpus of the Vietnamese using intermediate channels to reduce imposition in English-speaking intercultural workplace contexts. It draws on a collection of 71 imposition-related incidents in which the Vietnamese working with Westerners (Anglo-culturals) reported situations of their (not) undertaking act of imposition on their Western counterparts. The data analysis reveals 5 major types of intermediate channel deliberately employed by the Vietnamese to reduce the degree of imposition of their acts, especially those costly to their Anglo-cultural addressee. This shown that in English-speaking intercultural contexts, a change in the form of language (i.e., linguistic strategy) is not necessarily the only means employed to reduce the degree of imposition. This suggests modifications to English linguistic politeness theories, especially that by Brown and Levinson’s (1978, 1987).

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