Potestas and the language of power: Conceptualising an approach to Power and Discernment politeness in ancient languages

Ridealgh, Kim ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1051-2339 and Unceta Gómez, Luis (2020) Potestas and the language of power: Conceptualising an approach to Power and Discernment politeness in ancient languages. Journal of Pragmatics, 170. pp. 231-244. ISSN 0378-2166

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The concept of “Discernment politeness” stems from research undertaken in the 1980s on the Japanese phenomenon of wakimae. Since the earliest work on the phenomenon by Hill et al. (1986) and Ide (1989, 1992), many scholars have looked to further explore Discernment across cultures (i.e. Kádár and Mills, 2013; Kádár and Paternoster, 2015; Ridealgh and Jucker, 2019). Fundamentally, Discernment has been approached as expected (and quasi-mandatory) behavioural norms used by subordinates towards their superiors within a communicative act, dictated by the socio-cultural context of the interaction (Ridealgh and Jucker, 2019). What becomes apparent, when studying ancient languages, is that due to the hierarchical nature of remote societies, Discernment includes a complementary dimension, an opposing phenomenon to deference, equally visible in interpersonal interactions, which has its foundation within the Power variable. This paper explores this opposing phenomenon (i.e. expected or permitted language used by superiors to their subordinates as a manifestation of their Power), which we call “Potestas”, within the context of Late Egyptian and Old Latin, in order to highlight the phenomenon, its forms of expression in these two languages, the gaps in regards to the Power variable within traditional politeness approaches, and its relationship with (Im)politeness Research.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2020 23:49
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 09:52
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/77013
DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2020.09.011

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