KingPoliteness

King, Jeremy. "The Role of Power and Solidarity in Politeness Theory: The Case of the Golden Age Spanish"

Within a larger volume that deals with the theoretical notions of linguistic (im)politeness, King examines the relevance that the long-standing model of power and solidarity has for address patterns in dramatic texts of the Spanish Golden Age (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries). In his analysis, King utilizes two traditionally recognized literary genres, comedias and entremeses, in order to exemplify the speech of the upper and lower classes of the time. The study reveals that address patterns in this period were primarily dependent on social class and to a lesser extent on factors such as the sex and status of two interlocutors. The author notes that the factor of public vs. private speech contexts was responsible for a significant amount of pronominal vacillation in the Golden Age, particularly among those who shared relationships of solidarity. King criticizes the model of Brown and Gilman (1960) for not taking the communicative context of a speech event more fully into account. The author concludes that the semantic of discernment was the primary criterion by which speakers selected pronominal address forms in Early Modern Spain. This empirical finding proffers an additional argument against the traditional division of ‘Eastern vs. Western’ languages, thus adding support to this recurrent theme of the volume.