CULTURAL VALUES AND POLITENESS STRATEGIES IN BRITISH AND PERSIAN FAMILY DISCOURSE
From many perspectives, politeness is a universal phenomenon, however, as numerous cross-cultural studies have shown understanding of politeness, as well as politeness norms differ across cultures (e.g. Culpeper, Haugh & Kadar 2017, Leech 2005, 2014, Leech & Larina 2014, Larina 2008, 2009, 2015, Marquez 1999, 2000, Sifianou 1999, among many others). The way people communicate is guided by cultural values which shape their communicative styles. The aim of the study is to explore how the British and Persians understand politeness and how British and Persian cultural values shape the style of interpersonal interactions in the family setting. We analyse the norms and politeness strategies focusing on a few speech acts which are regularly performed in everyday interactions, namely addressing, asking for request, thanking and complimenting. The material for the study was taken from a socio-cultural questionnaire and discourse completion test (DCT) filled in by 100 British and Persian objects as well as ethnographic observations. It was analysed drawing on (Im)Politeness theory, speech act theory, cross-cultural pragmatic and discourse analysis, research on identity construction and the impact of politeness on communicative styles. Our findings confirm that in British culture, privacy, distance and equality are highly valued, while, in Persian culture, people value greatly closeness, age and status. The findings have shown that while the style of children-parents interactions in British context is quite egalitarian and children treat their parents as equals which evidences a low power distance in the British society, in Persian culture there are significant differences between communicative styles in top-down and bottom-up contexts which manifest a considerable index of power distance in the Persian society. This research highlights that norms are negotiable and changeable across cultures and that linguistic politeness strategies are embedded in cultural context and ideologies of conduct.