Kádár, Daniel Z. (2010) Historical Intercultural Politeness - A Case from the Ryūkyūs. In: XVIII Biennial Conference of the European Association of Chinese Studies (EACS), July 14th – July 18th 2010, Riga, Latvia.

This historical sociopragmatic (or 'pragmaphilological', cf. Jucker, 1995) study introduces the preliminary findings of a project that deals with the education of politeness in the Ryukyu Kingdom. Relying on the late Ming Ryukyuan source Xue-guan-hua 學官話 ('Learning Mandarin'), I map the ways in which Okinawan learners of Chinese were educated in Chinese polite communication. While currently Japanese (and Okinawan language) is an ‘honorific-rich’ language and Chinese is an ‘honorific-poor’ one, in the Ming Dynasty when Xue-guan-hua was compiled Chinese had a larger honorific lexicon than Japanese that expressed honorification partly through morphosyntactic changes (Kádár, 2007). Consequently, the teaching of honorifics and honorific communication played a particularly important role in language education.

The source studied and the results of the present research are not only interesting from the perspective of the sinologist, but also this is the first historical pragmatic intercultural Sino-Japanese (Okinawan) study.

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