It is a known fact that in early-modern Chinese there were many ways of expressing politeness, but they have not studied systematically. This paper investigates the features and the system of polite expressions in early-modern Chinese in three aspects from a pragmatic perspective.
1. Non-deictic Feature
Polite expressions in Japanese have certain specific linguistic forms, suchas•(_??_, _??_), but in early-modern Chinese the same politeness could=be expressed by many different expressions. For instance, when calling somebody by name, Japanese will only say(_??_), but in early-modern dhinese they used“_??_, _??_, _??_, _??_, _??_”etc. and po1ite expressions were not specified and symbolized as social deixis.
2. Conversational Implicature Feature
Unlike polite expressions in Japanese, those in Chinese all have clear literal meanings, such as_??_(big), _??_(small), _??_(descending), _??_(ascending). The meaning of polite expressions was the conversational implicature derived from the literal meanings of these words. The =author proposes an inferring process of the conversational implicatures derived from the literal meanings of polite expressions.
3. Pragmatic System
The derivation of the conversational implicature of polite expressions in early-modern Chinese was governed by a set of pragmatic rules. The author proposes the maxim of evaluation which governed polite expressions in early-modern Chinese.
Maxim of Evaluation: (a) give positive evaluation to the others as much as possible, (b) give negative evaluation to oneself as much as possible.
The author also points out that in early-modern Chinese society, when applicable, this maxim was restrained by the following criteria as for what was positive and what was negative evaluation. 1. quality 2. nobility 3. intelligence 4. height 5. size 6. economic status
For example, in the big-small criterion, one should call the interlocutor and the things belonging to him big, such as_??_(big name=your name), _??_(big Person=you), _??_(big of Hcer=you). Likewise one should call oneself and the things belonging to him small, such as_??_ (small person=me), _??_(small house=my house), _??_(small son-in-1aw=my) son-in-law.
The Linguistic Society of Japan