For all those scholars of the ancient world interested in examining politeness, please consider the bibliography below as a research tool. Please help us grow the bibliography by making suggestions and recommendation for titles.


Arndt, H. & R. W. Janney (1979) “Interactional and Linguistic Models for the Analysis of Speech Data: An Integrative Approach.” Sociologia Internationalis 17/1–3: 3–45.

Arndt, H. & R. W. Janney (1980) “The Clanger Phenomena: The Non-deviant Nature of Deviant Utterances.” International Review of Applied Linguistics 18/1: 41–57.

Arndt, H. & R. W. Janney (1981) “An Interactional Linguistic Model of Everyday Conversational Behaviour.” Die neueren Sprachen 80/5: 435–451.

Arndt, H. & R. W. Janney (1985) “Politeness Revisited: Cross-Modal Supportive Strategies.” International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 23/4: 281–300.

Assmann, J. (1996) “Preservation and Presentation of Self in Ancient Egyptian Portraiture.” In Studies in Honour of William Kelly Simpson, edited by P. Der Manuelian. Vol. 1. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts. 55–81.

Banton, M. (1965) Roles: An Introduction to the Study of Social Relations. London: Tavistock Publications.

Battezzato, L. (2012) “The Language of Sophocles”. In: Brill’s Companion to Sophocles edited by A. Markantonatos. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 305–324.

Beechey, V. & J. Donald, eds. (1985) Subjectivity and Social Relations. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Bilbow, G. (1995) “Requesting Strategies in the Cross-cultural Communication?” Pragmatics 5/1: 45–55.

Blum-Kulka, S. (1985) “Modifiers as Indicating Devices: The Case of Requests.” Theoretical Linguistics 12/2–3: 213–229.

Blum-Kulka, S. (1987) “Indirectness and Politeness in Requests: Same or Different?” Journal of Pragmatics 11: 131–146.

Blum-Kulka, S. (1989) “Playing it Safe: The Role of Conventionality in Indirectness”. In Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: Request and Apologies, edited by S. Blum-Kulka, J. House and G. Kasper. Norwood: Ablex Publishing Corporation. 37–71.

Blum-Kulka, S. (1990) “You Don’t Touch Lettuce with your Fingers: Parental Politeness in Family Discourse.” Journal of Pragmatics 14: 259–288.

Blum-Kulka, S. (2000) “Discourse Pragmatics.” In Discourse as Social Interaction, edited by T. A. van Dijk. London: Sage Publications. 38–63.

Blöbaum, A. I., K. Butt & I. Köhler, eds. (2011) Lexical Fields, Semantics and Lexicography. Aegyptiaca Monasteriensia 7. Aachen: Schaker Verlag.

Bodine, W.R. (1995) Discourse Analysis of Biblical Literature: What it is and What it Offers. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

Brown, G. & G. Yule (1998) Discourse Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, P. & S. C. Levinson (1978) “Universals in Language Usage: Politeness Phenomena”. In Questions and Politeness, edited by E. Goody. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 56–311.

Brown, P. & S. C. Levinson (1987) Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics 4. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, P. (1990) “Gender, Politeness and Confrontations in Tenejapa”. Discourse Processes 13: 123–141.

Chomsky, N. (1996) Powers and Prospects: Reflections on Human Nature and the Social Order. London: Pluto Press.

Chomsky, N. (2006) Language and Mind. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cohen, A. (1985) The Symbolic Construction or Community. London: Tavistock.

Cohen, A. (1994) Self Consciousness: An Alternative Anthropology of Identity. London: Routledge.

Crow, G. & G. Allan (1994) Community Life: An Introduction to Local Social Relations. New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Culpeper, J. (1996) “Towards an Anatomy of Impoliteness.” Journal of Pragmatics 25: 349–367.

Culpeper, J. (2001) Language and Characterisation: People in Plays and Other Texts. Textual Explorations. Harlow: (Longman) Pearson Education.

Culpeper, J. (2011) Historical Sociopragmatics. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Delanty, G. (2003) Community. Key Ideas. London and New York: Routledge.

Di Biase-Dyson, C. (2009) “Linguistic Insights into Characterisation: The Case Study of Wenamun.” Lingua Aegyptia: Journal of Egyptian Language Studies 17: 51–64.

Dickey, E. (2012) “How to Say “Please” in Classical Latin”. Classical Quarterly 62: 731–748.

Dickey, E. (1996) Greek Forms of Address: From Herodotus to Lucian. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Dover, K. (1974) Greek Popular Morality in the Time of Plato and Aristotle. Oxford: Hackett.

Eelen, G. (2001) A Critique of Politeness Theory. Encounters 1. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.

Elliot, A. (2001) Concepts of the Self. Cambridge: Polity.

Exell, K. (2009) Soldiers, Sailors, and Sandalmakers: A Social Reading of Ramesside Period Votive Stelae. Egyptology 10. London: Golden House Publications.

Eyre, C. J. (2004) “How Relevant was Personal status to the Functioning of the Rural Economy in Pharaonic Egypt?” In La dependance rurale en Egypte ancienne dans l’Antiguite proche-orientale, edited by B. Menu. Cairo: l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale du Caire.

Fairclough, N. (1995) Discourse and Social Change. Oxford: Polity Press.

Ferri, R. (2008) “Politeness in Latin Comedy. Some Preliminary Thoughts”. Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici 61: 15–28.

Ferri, R. (2012) “How to say no in Latin”. In Variation and Change in Greek and Latin. Papers and monographs of the Finnish Institute at Athens 17, edited by M. Leiwo, H. Halla-aho, and M. Vierros. Helsinki: Foundation of the Finnish Institute at Athens. 115–137.

Finglass, P. (2007) Sophocles: Electra. Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries 44. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fox, M. V. (1983) “Ancient Egyptian Rhetoric.” Rhetorica 1: 9–22.

Fraser, B. & W. Nolen (1981) “The Association of Deference with Linguistic Form.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 27: 93–109.

Fraser, B. (1980) “Conversational Mitigation.” Journal of Pragmatics 4: 341–350.

Fraser, B. (1990) “Perspectives on Politeness.” Journal of Pragmatics 14: 219–236.

Goffman, E. (1955) “On Face-Work: An Analysis of Ritual Elements in Social Interaction.” Psychiatry 18: 213–231.

Goffman, E. (1967) Interaction Rituals: Essays on Face-to-Face Behaviour. Garden City, New York: Doubleday.

Goffman, E. (1969) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London: The Penguin Press.

Grice, P. (1991) Studies in the Way of Words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Grice, P. (1975) “Logic and Conversation.” In Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3: Speech Acts, edited by P. Cole and J. Morgan. London: Academic Press. 41–58.

Gu, Y. (1994) “Pragmatics and Rhetoric: A Collaborative Approach to Conversation”. In Pretending to Communicate, edited by H. Parret. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Gu, Y. (1990) “Politeness Phenomena in Modern Chinese.” Journal of Pragmatics 14: 237–257.

Gu, Y. (1993) “The Impasse of Perlocution.” Journal of Pragmatics 20: 405–432.

Gumperz, J. J. (1982) Discourse Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hall, J. (2009) Politeness and Politics in Cicero’s Letters. New York: Oxford University Press.

Halliday, M. A. K. & R. Hasan (1976) Cohesion in English. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Halliday, M. A. K. & R. Hasan (1980) Context: Language in a Social Semiotic Perspective. Sophia Linguistica VI. Tokyo: The Graduate School of Languages and Linguistics and the Linguistic Institute for International Communication, Sohia University.

Harris, Z. S. (1952) “Discourse Analysis.” Language 28 (1): 1–30.

Headlands, T., K. Pike & M. Harris, eds. (1990) The Insider/Outside Debate. Frontiers of Anthropology 7. London: Sage Publications.

Held, G. (1989) “On the Maximisation in Verbal Politeness.” Multilingua 8 (2/3): 167–206.

Hendry, J. (2008) An Introduction to Social Anthropology: Sharing our Worlds. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Herman, G. (2011) “The Problem of Moral Judgement in Modern Historical Writing on Ancient Greece”. In Stability and Crisis in the Athenian Democracy edited by G. Herman. Historia Einzelschriften 220. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 46–66.

Hillery, G. A. (1982) A Research Odyssey: Developing and Testing a Community Theory. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Books.

Hockey, J., & A. James (2003) Social Identities Across the Life Course. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hudson, R. A. (1996) Sociolinguistics. Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ide, S. (1989) “Formal Forms and Discernment: Two Neglected Aspects of Universals of Linguistic Politeness.” Multilingua 8/2–3: 223–248.

Ide, S. (1982) “Japanese Sociolinguistics: Politeness and Women’s Language.” Lingua 57: 357–385.

Ide, S. (1993) “Preface: The Search for Integral Universals of Linguistic Politeness.” Multilingua 12/1: 7–11.

Jones, L. B., & L. K. Jones. (1979) “Multiple Levels of Information in Discourse.” In Discourse Studies in Mesoamerican Languages, Vol. 1: Discussion, edited by L. K. Jones. SILPL 58. Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics and University of Texas at Arlington Press. 3–27.

Kasper, G. (1990) “Linguistic Politeness: Current Research Issues.” Journal of Pragmatics 14: 193–218.

Keesing, R. (1975) Kin Groups and Social Structure. New York and London: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Keita, S. (1993) “Studies and Comments on Ancient Egyptian Biological Relationships.” History in Africa: A Journal of Method 20: 129–154.

Kádár, D. & M. Bax (eds.) (2012) Understanding Historical (Im)Politeness: Relational Linguistic Practice over Time and across Cultures. Benjamins Current Topics 41. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Kádár, D. & M. Haugh (2013) Understanding Politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kádár, Dániel Z. (2012) ‘Historical Chinese Politeness and Rhetoric: A Case Study of Epistolary Refusals’, Journal of Politeness Research 8: 93–110

Labov, W. (1991) Sociolinguistic Patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Lakoff, R. T. (1979) “Stylistic Strategies within a Grammar of Style.” In Language, Sex and Gender: Does la difference make a Difference?, edited by J. Orasanu, M. K. Slater,and L. L. Alder. New York: New York Academy of Sciences. 55–80.

Lakoff, R. T. (1989) “The Limits of Politeness: Therapeutic and Courtroom Discourse.” Multilingua 8/2–3: 101–129.

Lakoff, R. T. (1990) Talking Power: The Politics of Language in our Lives. Glasgow: Harpercollins.

Lakoff, R. T. (1995) “Conversational Logic.” In Handbook of Pragmatics: Manual, edited by J. Verschueren, J.-O. Östman and J. Blommaert. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 190–198.

Lakoff, R. T. (1973) “The Logic of Politeness; or Minding your P’s and Q’s.” In Papers from the Ninth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (1973), edited by C. Corum. Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society. 292–305.

Lakoff, R. T. (1977) “What You Can Do with Words: Politeness, Pragmatics, and Performatives.” In Proceedings of the Texas Conference on Performatives, Presuppositions and Implicatures, edited by A. Rogers, B. Wall and J.P. Murphy. Arlington: Center of Applied Linguistics. 79–105.

Lakoff, R. T. (1984) “The Pragmatics of Subordination.” Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: 481–492.

Lakoff, R. T. (1989) “The Way We Were; or The Real Actual Truth about Generative Semantics: A Memoir.” Journal of Pragmatics 13: 939–988.

Lape, S. (2004) Reproducing Athens: Menander’s Comedy, Democratic Culture, and the Hellenistic City. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Lee-Wong, S. M. (1998) “Face Support-Chinese Particles as Mitigators: A Study of BA A/YA and NE.” Pragmatics 8/3: 387–404.

Leech, G. N. (1980) Explorations in Semantics and Pragmatics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Leech, G. N. (1977) “Language and Tact.” Papers of the Linguistic Agency University of Trier (L.A.U.T.) Series A, Paper number 16.

Leech, G. N. (1981) “Pragmatics and Conversational Rhetoric.” In Possibilities and Limitations of Pragmatics: Proceedings of the Conference on Pragmatics, Urbino, July 8–14, 1979, edited by H. Parret, M. Sbisà and J. Verschueren. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 413–441.

Leech, G. N. (1983) Principles of Pragmatics. London and New York: Longman.

Levinson, S. (1983) Pragmatics. Cambridge, London and New York: Cambridge University Press.

Livingstone, N. (2009) “Isocrates: Philosophia as Refined Civic Discourse”. In Literary and Philosophical Rhetoric in the Greek, Roman, Syriac and Arabic Worlds edited by F. Woerther. Europea Memoria Series 1, Vol. 66. Hildesheim, Zurich & New York: Olms.

Lloyd, M. (2006) “Sophocles in the light of Face-Threat Politeness Theory”. In Sophocles and the Greek language edited by I. De Jong & A. Rijksbaron. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 225–239.

Locher, M. A. & D. Bousfield (2008) “Introduction: Impoliteness and Power in Language.” In Impoliteness in Language: Studies on its Interplay with Power in Theory and Practice, edited by S. Levinson and P. Brown. 2nd ed. Language, Power and Social Press 21. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 1–16.

Long-Westfall, C. (2005) A Discourse Analysis of the Letter to the Hebrews: The Relationship between Form and Meaning. London and New York: T and T Clark.

Longacre, R. (1981) “A Spectrum and Profile Approach to Discourse Analysis.” Text 1: 337–359.

Longacre, R. (1982) “Verb Ranking and the Constituent Structure of Discourse.” Journal of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest 5: 177–202.

Longacre, R. (1989) Joseph: A Story of Divine Providence: A Text Theoretical and Textlinguistic Analysis of Genesis 37 and 39-48. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.

Longacre, R. (1992) “Discourse Perspective on the Hebrew Verb: Affirmation and Restatement.” In Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew, edited by W. R. Bodine. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns. 177–189.

Macauley, M. (1996) “Asking to Ask: The Strategic Function of Indirect Requests for Information in Interviews.” Pragmatics 6/4: 491–509.

Matsumoto, Y. (1988) “Re-examination of the Universality of Face: Politeness Phenomena in Japanese. Journal of Pragmatics 12: 403–426.

McGilvray, J. (1999 Chomsky: Language, Mind and Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Morello, R. & A.D. Morrison, ed. (2007) Ancient Letters: Classical and Late Antique Epistolography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nurmi A., M. Nevala & M. Palander-Collin (eds.) (2009) The Language of Daily Life in England (1400—1800). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Omoniyi, T. & G. White (2006) The Sociolinguistics of Identity. Advances in Sociolinguistics. London: Continuum.

O’Driscoll, J. (1996) “About Face: A Defence and Elaboration of Universal Dualism.” Journal of Pragmatics 25: 1–32.

Paltridge, B. (2006) Discourse Analysis: An Introduction. London: Continuum.

Pike, K., ed. (1967) Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of Structure of Human Behaviour. 2nd ed. The Hague: Mouton de Gruyter.

Pordee, D. & S. D. Sperling (1982) Handbook of Ancient Hebrew Letters: A Study Edition. SBL Sources for Biblical Studies 15. Atlanta: Scholars Press.

Reed, J. (1997) “Discourse Analysis.” In Handbook to Exegesis of the New Testament, edited by S. Porter. Leiden: Brill. 189–217.

Reed, J. (1997) “Discourse Analysis.” In Handbook to Exegesis of the New Testament, edited by S. Porter. Leiden: Brill. 189–217.

Reed, J. (1992) “Cohesive Ties in 1 Timothy: In Defence of the Letter’s Unity.” Neotestamentica 26 (1): 131‒147.

Reed, J. (1999) “The Cohesiveness of Discourse: Towards a Model of Linguistic Cohesion for Analyzing New Testament Discourse.” In Discourse Analysis and the New Testament: Approaches and Results, edited by S. Porter and J. Reed. Journal for the Study of New Testament Supplement Series 170; Studies in New Testament Greek 4. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press. 29–46.

Schegloff, E. A. (2004) “Talk and Social Structure.” In The Discourse Reader, edited by A. Jaworski, and N. Coupland. London and New York: Routledge.

Schegloff, E. A. (1991) “Reflections on Talk and Social Structure.” In Talk and Social Structure: Studies in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, edited by D. Boden and D. Zimmermans. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 44–70.

Schiffrin, D. (1994) Approaches to Discourse. Oxford: Blackwell.

Sidnell, J. (2010) Conversation Analysis: An Introduction. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Stubbs, M. (1983) Discourse Analysis: The sociolinguistic analysis of natural language. Oxford: Blackwell.

Sweeney, D. (2001) Correspondence and Dialogue: Pragmatic Factors in Late Ramesside Letter Writing. Ägypten und Altes Testament: Studien zu Geschichte, Kultur und Religion Ägyptens und des Alten Testaments 49. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Terkourafi, M. (2004) ‘Testing Brown and Levinson’s Theory in a Corpus of Spontaneous Conversational Data from Cypriot Greek’. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 168: 119–134.

Terkourafi, M. (2005) “An Argument for a Frame-based approach to Politeness: Evidence from the Use of the Imperative in Cypriot Greek”. In Broadening the Horizon of Linguistic Politeness edited by R. Lakoff and I. Sachiko (eds.). Amsterdam: Benjamins, 99–116.

Terkourafi, M. (2002) ‘Politeness and Formulaicity’. Journal of Greek Linguistics 3: 179–201.

Terkourafi, M. (2008) “Towards a Unified Theory of Politeness, Impoliteness, and Rudeness”. In Impoliteness in Language: Studies on its Interplay with Power in Theory and Practice edited by D. Bousfield and M. Locher. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 45–74.

Terkourafi, M. (2012) “Politeness and Pragmatics”. In The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics edited by K. Allan & K. Jaszczolt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 617−637.

Van der Walle, L. (1993) Pragmatics and Classical Sanskrit: A Pilot Study in Linguistic Politeness. Pragmatics and Beyond New Series 28. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Watts, R. (1989) “Taking the Pitcher to the Well: Native Speakers’ Perception of their use of Discourse Markers in Conversation.” Journal of Pragmatics 13: 203–237.

Watts, R. (1991) Power in Family Discourse. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Watts, R. (1992) “Acquiring Status in Conversation: ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ Discourse Strategies.” Journal of Pragmatics 18: 467–503.

Watts, R. (1992) “Linguistic Politeness and Politic Verbal Behaviour: Reconsidering Claims for Universality”. In Politeness in Language: Studies in its History, Theory and Practice, edited by R. Watts, S. Ide and K. Ehlich. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 43–70.

Watts, R. (2003) Politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Watts, R. (2005) “Linguistic Politeness Research: Quo Vadis?” In Politeness in Language: Studies in its History, Theory and Practice, edited by R. Watts, S. Ide and K. Ehlich. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. xi–xlvii.

Watts, R. (1989) “Relevance and Relational Work: Linguistic Politeness as Politic Behaviour.” Multilingua 8/2–3: 131–166.

Wendland, E. (1995) The Discourse Analysis of Hebrew Prophetic Literature: Determining the Larger Textual Units of Hosea and Joel. Mellen Biblical Press Series 40. Lampeter: Mellen Biblical Press.

Wendrich, W. (2010) “Identity and Personhood.” In Egyptian Archaeology, edited by W. Wendrich. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology. Oxford: Blackwell. 200–219.

Widdowson, H. G. (2007) Discourse Analysis. Oxford Introductions to Language Study. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Windahl, S., B. Signitzer, & J. Olson (2006) Using Communication Theory: An Introduction to Planned Communication. London: Sage Publications.

Yule, G. (1996) Pragmatics. Oxford Introductions to Language Study. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

van Dijk, T. A. (1985) Handbook of Discourse Analysis. London: Academic Press.

van Dijk, T. A. (2000) Discourse as Social Interaction. London: Sage Publications.

van Dijk, T. A. (1977) Text and Context: Explorations in the Semantics and Pragmatics of Discourse. Longman Linguistics Library 21. London and New York: Longman.

Žegarac, V. (2007) “A Cognitive Pragmatic Perspective on Communication and Culture.” In Handbook of Intercultural Communication, edited by H. Kotthoff and H. Spencer-Oatey. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter GmbH. 31–54.