Thus politeness being a universal communication phenomenon it reflects particular cultural values that come with or rather which are linked to diverse cultures. Being a relatively vital aspect in cross-cultural communication, politeness enables people from different cultures to establish, consolidate or maintain harmonious interpersonal relations that reduce misunderstandings and conflicts in the society.
A snapshot on various aspects of politeness in the two cultures, Chinese and English, depicts that the rules of communication differ as they are influenced by the values and beliefs of individuals from these communities. For instance, the English people always address others according to their genders; Mr., Mrs., Miss and Ms, followed with a surname, depending on age and marital status. On the other hand, the Chinese address people using a surname and the title of the occupation; “Wang yi sheng” to mean Doctor Wang, “Lee xiao zhang” to mean Principal Lee and “shi fu” can be used to address strangers. In addition, the Chinese culture, especially for children, “shushu” and “a yi” are always used to address uncle and aunty respectively.
Another aspect of politeness in the two cultures is farewell and greetings. Whenever the English people meet, they always use phrases like “Nice to meet you,” “Good Morning,” “Good evening” and “Good afternoon.” For the Chinese, the phrase “ni hao” is always used whenever people meet. Moreover, when the China people meet their acquaintances, one can say “qu na li” to ask where one is going or “chi le ma?” to ask whether one has eaten or not. Thus, whenever an native speaker of English hear the Chinese phrases, he or she might interpret them as invitation lunch or dinner and any other interference in their personal affair.
I met one of my colleagues, an English speaker on my way to a restaurant. I was