Politeness : the case study of apologies and requests an inter-generation cross-sex study in the Hindu sector of the South African Indian English speaking community.
The aim of this study is to investigate politeness phenomena within the Hindu sector of the South African Indian English speaking community. The study focuses on the understanding of politeness within the target community and whether this understanding has changed over the past generation. It also examines if males and females exhibit and value politeness differently. Finally the study investigates which of the existing Western/non-Western models of politeness are relevant for describing the politeness phenomena in the target community. This study is conducted through the realizations of the speech acts of requests and apologies, focusing on the variables of age, status and social distance. In order to achieve triangulation, qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used. These comprised interviews with cultural/religious leaders, discourse completion tasks, interviews with families and a ranking scale. My findings reveal that the understanding of politeness phenomena within the target community is more in keeping with that in other non-Western cultures than in Western cultures. Females are found to exhibit more polite behaviours than males. Further, in general the understanding of politeness over the past generation has remained more or less constant.