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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Eric MCCREADY

Co-Auteur(s): Nicholas ASHER

Strategic politeness

Abstract/Résumé: This talk proposes a strategic analysis of politeness strategies stated in terms of game theory. We begin by reviewing some strategies for linguistic politeness made available by natural language, some pragmatic and some semantic, focusing on honorifics (including pronominal honorific strategies) and more general instances of polite behavior. We then turn to our game-theoretic account, which involves treating polite and impolite acts as action choices in an infinitely repeated (Banach-Mazur) game. We show that such games have winning strategies and that these strategies can be of differing degrees of complexity in a mathematical sense. Finally, we outline some avenues for future work, including interactions between politeness strategies and the complexification of the action choices within the game model.