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Current address behaviour in China

Issue: Vol 1 No. 2 (2016)

Journal: East Asian Pragmatics

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DOI: 10.1558/eap.v1i2.29537


The way in which people address each other is crucial to expressing interpersonal relationships and is closely linked with cultural values. Address terms are pragmatically important, especially in languages that do not express sociopragmatic values through pronouns such as Chinese. Due to the rapid change of sociocultural values and the advancement of globalisation and new technologies, many Chinese address terms are falling out of use, and new terms are emerging and prevailing in people’s use. However, many landmark studies on Chinese address terms are no longer up-to-date. This article investigates the current use of address terms in Mainland China. Four categories of Chinese address terms are analysed: obsolete terms with restricted uses, revived negative politeness forms with semantic shifts, emergent new address terms, and address terms adopted from online communication. The article then discusses factors that may influence people selecting address terms and factors affecting the changes of address terms in Chinese.

Author: Ziran He, Wei Ren

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