Politeness Strategies in Chinese Business Correspondence and Their Teaching Applications1


  • Wei Hong Ph.D.

    1. Purdue University
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      Wei Hong (Ph.D., Purdue University) is Associate Professor of Chinese at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

  • 1

    The author is very grateful for the comments of the FLA reviewers. They have been incorporated in the revision. The proofreading by Professors Alan Garfinkel and Allen Wood is greatly appreciated. All other errors remain mine.


ABSTRACT  The present article reports on an empirical study of the politeness strategies in Chinese business correspondence and considers its applications in teaching Business Chinese. The study investigated twenty examples of business correspondence by native speakers of Chinese. By analyzing the linguistic/stylistic features of the letters in two predesigned situations, the study found a range of various politeness strategies employed for the writing of the correspondence. The study concludes that such a variety of politeness strategies relates strongly to Chinese politeness values and business etiquette. It is therefore suggested, from the empirical data collected from the letters, that such strategies be implemented in an advanced Business Chinese curriculum. Possible instructional methods are recommended for such implementation.