Contrast Between Chinese Greetings and English Greetings
Abstract：As is known to all, greeting is not only an integral part of the language, but also an important part of social etiquette. It is used frequently in daily life. In daily communication, appropriate greetings manners is the key to establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships. Since China is totally different from the Western countries both in its history and its culture, it is undoubtedly that greeting, which is closely related to the cross-culture interactions, may easily lead to misunderstanding. Understanding the differences in Chinese and English greeting well can avoid misunderstandings in cross-cultural ...view middle of the document...
Greetings, as a phenomenon of language, are closely related with culture. They occur among people all over the world and appear to be an excellent unit of social behavior to study if one intends to make a contrastive study on what is universal, what is traditional, and what is distinctive in inter-cultural communications. A better understanding of cultural differences in greetings will surely boost the maintenance and improvement of human relations in cross-cultural communications. Since greetings are so important, the present thesis tries to analyze the common properties and differences between Chinese and English greetings as well as the factors causing these differences. In this thesis, Leech’s Polite Principles as well as Brown and Levinson’s Face Theory are applied. However, Chinese politeness has its own specifics, thus Gu Yueguo’s theory are also applied to analyze Chinese greetings. The thesis consists of five parts. The introduction gives a general view of the thesis. Chapter 1 reviews theories related to greetings. Chapter 2 mainly discusses the functions of greetings and various categories to classify them such as time, formality, contents, social settings and language origin. Chapter 3 tries to give a comparison between Chinese and English greeting including their common properties and differences and explores the causes of these differences from the aspects of cultural factors and social factors. The conclusion is the summary of the thesis.
Theories Related to Greetings
Greeting is an important way for communication. It is crucial for the establishment of social relationships. As a special part of politeness phenomenon, greetings have been studied by scholars both in English culture and Chinese culture. However, because of the cultural differences, sometimes what the Chinese people consider to be polite may not be true according to western culture. But anthropologists and linguists have been trying to generate models that could be applied to different cultures. Among them，the most influential ones are by Leech (1983), Brown and Levinson (1978), each of which c1aims their universa1ity. And in China, Gu Yueguo (1990) proposed five notions of politeness based on the Chinese conception of li mao. In the following Part，the writer would look close1y at these po1iteness systems.
1.1 Leech’s Politeness Principles
1.2 Brown and Levinson’s Face Theory
1.3 Gu Yueguo’s Theory Related to Chinese Culture
The Functions and Classification of Greetings
2.1 The Functions of Greetings
2.1.1 Greetings as Linguistic Routines of Politeness
Greetings, in fact, should not be treated as spontaneous emotional reaction, for most of them are highly conventionalized and follow patterned routines. Laver (1981: 299-305) makes a further study of the rationale for the existence of routine elements such as greetings in the linguistic patterns of conversation. He asserts that routine behavior is polite behavior. Greetings as...