A new Canadian study finds a plethora of unregretful — but very polite — murderers and other occupants of death row in prisons in the region of the United States of America knowns as “The South”: “Honor on Death Row — Apology, Remorse, and the Culture of Honor in the U.S. South,” Judy Eaton, SAGE […]
Holding the door open for others – the darkside?
Back in 2011 Improbable drew attention to the ubiquitous (though at the time somewhat under-investigated) social phenomenon of ‘Door Holding’ see : Etiquette and effort. At the time. a research team from Penn State University, US, proposed that ‘Door Holding’ may have evolved because its perceived effort-saving efficiency might be uplifting for society. (press release […]
Politeness: Is there an East-West divide?
“East is east and west is west“, a simple statement, does not logically exclude the possibility that east is also west and that west is also east. Geoffrey Leech [pictured here] makes part of the case, politely, in his study: “Politeness: Is there an East-West divide?” Geoffrey Leech, Journal of Politeness Research. Language, Behaviour, Culture, […]
On the Impoliteness of Trolls
A new study tries to sharpen our understanding of the highly verbal parasites known as trolls. Trolls – call them internet trolls, if you like – are in some ways quite similar to Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan parasite that causes malaria in large numbers of human beings. Both kinds of parasite are maddeningly difficult to suppress. They […]
Professor Culpeper’s Insult Power Rankings
Nowadays, if you were to call someone a ‘Dried neat’s-tongue’ or a ‘Trunk of humours’ you might be met with a look of dismay rather than outrage. But things could have panned out very differently in 17th century Britain. Professor Jonathan Culpeper at the Department of Linguistics & English Language of Lancaster University, UK, tackles […]
Polite Robotic Posturing
Should robots behave politely? Because, to some, it’s a given that in the not-too-distant future large numbers of people will be interacting with robots (domestic, public, corporate and perhaps even law-enforcement/military) on a frequent basis. Professor Tatsuya Nomura at the Department of Media Informatics of Ryukoku University, along with colleagues at the ATR Intelligent Robotics […]
Impoliteness And Rudeness in Lancaster: A coming event
Geoffrey Leech invites you to a celebration of impoliteness and rudeness: Linguistic Impoliteness And Rudeness II (LIAR II) The 2009 International Conference of The Linguistic Politeness Research Group Lancaster University, United Kingdom 30 June – 2 July 2009 This three-day conference focuses is on language and communication that might be described as ‘impolite’, ‘rude’, ‘aggressive’, […]