Culture-Specific Semiotic Politeness Norms in the Multicultural Society of Ethiopia
Department of Applied Linguistics, Wollo University, Dessie, Ethiopia
- *Corresponding Author:
- Hassen R
Department of Applied Linguistics
Wollo University, Dessie, Ethiopia
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: February 26, 2016 Accepted: March 25, 2016 Published:March 31, 2016
Citation:Hassen R (2016) Culture-Specific Semiotic Politeness Norms in the Multicultural Society of Ethiopia. Arts Social Sci J 7:168. doi:10.4172/2151-6200.1000168
Copyright: © 2016 Hassen R. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
This study investigates culture-specific discourse based politeness principles in the multicultural society of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a land of diversity where many ethnic, religious, linguistic, and cultural groups of different kinds co-exist. There are many languages spoken in the country. Different cultures are exhibited through ways of dressings, living, eating and day-to-day activities. Politeness rules or principles are seen to be language and culturespecific rather than universal. The study was based on semiotic items not only speech acts but also other larger units. Data were collected from different cultural performances such as rituals, sayings, non-linguistic signs, texts and talks or discourse. This study investigates how politeness norms are explained more by local-cultural rules than by universal theories of politeness and investigates the problematic cases with different traditional values, social structures, and cultural ideologies embodied in language and non-language communication resources. The result of the study reveals politeness is culture-dependent. What is polite to one culture might be embarrassing or upsetting to others. Norms of politeness vary across cultures. Politeness norm assumes that everyone wants to save face. Politeness is not expressed through language only but also through other semiotic resources. Politeness appears on the continuum of negative face - the desire to avoid imposition and positive face - the desire to be appreciated. The Ethiopian speech communities employ both positive and negative politeness norms. There is a slight inclination to negative politeness, but great deals of positive strategies are also used.