Politeness is a set of strategies that can be used for face-saving in social interactions. Erving Goffman (1955/2003) described face as “the social value a person effectively claims for himself” (p. 7), and Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson used the term in defining their theory of politeness. According to Brown and Levinson, there are two types of politeness, namely, positive and negative. Positive politeness comes from the need to be acknowledged, liked, and valued and the need to have a positive public image. Negative politeness can be said to derive from the rebellious side, the need to announce one’s relative independence from social conventions. Humor is one way to adhere to politeness. This entry discusses the intersections between humor and politeness.

Brown and Levinson list ...

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