The theory of politeness formulated by Brown & Levinson (1987) seems to be the most extensive and detailed model, covering a wide variety of issues contributing to the linguistic expression of the phenomenon. It has been successfully used by many authors (e.g. Sifianou 1992) to account for the strategies used by communicators in a variety of contexts. The model has been developed to cover mainly the interpersonal, spoken type of communication. The present paper investigates the applicability of the theory to the description of the advertising discourse. As a special form of communication, with an untypical assignment of roles of the sender and the addressee of the message, and the predominant persuasive function, it is expected to reveal different tendencies in the use of politeness strategies, both in the communication between the characters appearing in the commercials, and along the sender-addressee dimension. Frequent application of stereotyping in the construction of advertising messages is another possibly significant factor. For the illustrative purposes the study uses contrastive samples of data, in the form of British and Polish advertisements, in the hope to discover certain tendencies prevailing in the advertising communication within the Polish and English environment.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.