讲座题目：Ritual and Politeness in Historical Chinese Letters: A Case Study of 雪鸿轩尺牍
主讲人：Prof. Daniel Z. Kádár
In this talk I propose a systematic way to study ritual and politeness in historical Chinese letters. Ritual and politeness are fundamental phenomena through which language users build up and maintain interpersonal relationships, and their study provides insight into the formation of interpersonal relationships. In a body of pragmatic literature, these phenomena have been studied in face-to-face interactions, rather than historical written materials such as letters. Historical Chinese letters represent a typical form of multiple-source written discourse, in which the writers follow complex literary conventions, and so it is challenging for the linguist to examine them as a form of interaction. Yet, letters are often very important sources for both the linguist and the historian, and so it would be a luxury for the linguist to dismiss them. This is particularly the case when it comes to the study of language use in Chinese, in particular in areas such as 浙江 and the 江南 Area where letter writing has a unique tradition.
In this talk I propose an essentially pragmatic approach to historical Chinese epistolary data, by examining the language and style of historical Chinese letters from the perspective of linguistic pragmatics, historical politeness research and relational ritual theory. I argues that various pragmatic characteristics of Chinese epistles, which previous Sinological research has identified, may be systematically modelled if one approaches historical Chinese letter writing as a ritual practice. Language use in historical Chinese letters tends to have a strongly ritual character, due to two reasons. First, Chinese epistles represent interpersonal interaction in a sociocultural context that triggered intensive ritual politeness. Second, many literati regarded letter writing as an activity of fine art by means of which one could ritually display one’s epistolary skill. Owing to this, the language of historical Chinese epistles features a duality of (1) other-oriented ritual politeness and (2) self-oriented ritual display. The present paper examines this duality by setting up an analytic model, and by investigating a renowned corpus of Qing Dynasty letters, Xuehongxuan chidu 雪鴻軒尺牘 (Letters from Snow 20 Swan Retreat).
To attract both linguists and experts working on Chinese, the language of the lecture will be Chinese. In the following Q&A session, I will be happy to answer questions in both Chinese and English.
Daniel Z. Kadar (D. Litt, FHEA, PhD) ，现为大连外国语大学的博士生导师、启航教授、语用研究中心主任、同时任匈牙利科学院语言学研究所语用学研究中心主任、教授、博士生导师，欧洲汉语协会等机构执行委员会委员，英国语言礼貌研究协会委员。Kadar教授为世界著名出版社Brill《对比语用学》(Contrastive Pragmatics) 期刊主编，也担任Journal of Pragmatics、Journal of Politeness Research等SSCI期刊的委员。至今已获国家级项目31项，在剑桥出版社等世界著名出版社出版专著及论文集25部。Kadar教授研究题目包括对比语用学、跨文化语用学、历史语用学等。