Anda di halaman 1dari 5

Silvia Garca Navarro S2222876 Communication in and about The Netherlands.

What arguments are put forward in the above-mentioned articles on the correspondence between P.C. Hooft and Constantijn Huygens in favour of the view that polite language in early modern Dutch letter-writing amounted to ritual language use?
A generally accepted notion is that over time, and within particular socio-cultural settings, civil (language) behaviour became ritualised. Goffman said: ritual is to be defined as a perfunctory, conventionalized act through which an individual portrays his respect and regard for some object of ultimate value to that object of ultimate value Cited in Epistolary Presentation Rituals. This text will take into account the correspondence between P.C. Hooft y Constantijn Huygens that Marcel Bax and Nanne Streekstra gathered in their articles Epistolary Presentation Rituals. Face-work, Politeness, and Ritual Display; and Civil Rites in Early Modern Dutch Letter-Writing. The correspondence between these early modern authors shows patterns, or typical forms of narration, while tolerating a certain amount of reinvention that are far from being unstable, or entirely reducible to the will of this or that narrator since it depends on context, status and friendship. Cultural knowledge and the mastery of the Dutch language is expressed in the form of ritual performances which are oriented by a special context of interaction and communication. The letters can be seen as an enactment of a traditions beliefs, as the portrayal of a mythic narrative which elites in Dutch society took for granted as the best and suitable way for interaction. The early-modern politeness developed in a frame of deceit which used strategies such as imitatio, simulation, dissimulatio, trompe loeil, paradox, irony, parody, evidentia, and fabrication under the theatrum mundi conceptio, and the notion of serio ludere. These concepts manifest the urge to be clever, playful, enigmatic not only in the letter-writing but within the society. We can infer that the early-modern politeness had two-facedness, since the behavior mask could hide the true feelings. This two-facedness provided an ingroup maker for the intelligent elite in performing its civil deceit by making use of strategies such as feigned deference and false modesty make (Goffman, 1974: 45) This false modesty is exemplifies in every ending of the Hoofts letters with expressions such as Most obedient, most humble/ servant,/ P.C. Hooft.

This kind of ending is what calls your attention the most since we are talking about persons involved in the nobility and we probably expect a more arrogant way of appealing. Their greetings are constructed conforming to the humiliative mode of negative politeness. But as it was explained above it is a strategy to cause a good impression and make sure that the sparring partner will grant your desires, and that is the reason for Hoofts insistence on his dependence and inferiority. It is such presentation rituals are ego-centered rather than alter-oriented verbal practices. To guarantee his prevalence, Hooft minimized the imposition of his indirect requests via the language mastery: purpose-clause constructions and conventionally-indirect formulations. Although the paradox when he refers also to his own work in a certain point as a hotchpotch. A denigrating way which makes no sense since we knows that his History is a worthy and respectful work. And as Marcel Bax pointed out the negatively polite phrasing is by and large a pose, a willful diversion enabling the letter writer to deftly exploit the epistolary conventions of the elite. Hooft used original elaboration of conventional and obligatory epistolary elements as a means of showing his acknowledged standards of proper conduct and how worthy he is of respect. It is the positive politeness, the desire to be accepted and liked. As it is stated in Civil Rites Hooft is not only positively polite in that he appears optimistic as regards Huygens kind co-operation (cf. Brown & Levinson, 1987: 126), he also asserts reciprocity, since he compares his own trust in Huygens with the trust that Huygens can put in him (Brown & Levinson, 1987: 129). That is to say, that in his relationship with Sir Constantijn, the epistolary elements balance the positive and negative polite strategies in order to reach the ritual equilibrium pointed by Goffman. Hooft and Huygens are on equal terms. They werent of noble descent but they acquired titles of nobility. The ritualized language in their correspondence served as a tool for entertained competition in their use of Dutch while this language based on negative politeness, extolling the other and humbling oneself became standardized in written and spoken manners. For instance, while Huygens greets Hoofts wife readers draw the vivid image of a reverence to a woman in a face-to-face interaction. The ritual politeness was an elegant stratagem to preserve overall ones ostentatious face in a sphere where the relationships within the elite from the basis of epistolary conventions were ambiguous, double entendres but challenging; and overstepped the paper and plume world.

4. If you compare early modern Dutch politeness as exemplified by the Hooft Huygens correspondence to the current climate of politeness in the Netherlands, what, then, seems to have changed with particular reference to Hofstedes model for the analysis of cultural practice in Dutch culture and society since the early modern period?
The German historian and journalist Christoph Driessen wrote down in the NRC Handelsblad the following question: Are the Dutch rude? "Beware of the Dutch: they are direct and to the point and sometimes a bit rude in their behaviour", "Netherlanders are straightforward and pragmatic", "The Dutch are reserved and blunt, bordering on rude"" These sentences were the beginning of the research about the Politeness markers in French and Dutch requests carried by Margot Van Mulken for the University of Nijmegen in 1996. From my experiences in The Netherlands, I would infer that Netherlanders are quite impolite and there is a lack of consideration if it is compared with the Spanish concept of politeness. Standing at the queue in the supermarket two weeks ago, I noticed that the lady next to me had picked up a broken yogurt. I let her know and to make sure that she had understood me my partner repeated it in Dutch immediately afterwards. We did not get even a sad thank you from this lady. I found Dutch people too much self-centered.

Courtesy, willingness to please, and good manners are not national virtues in the Netherlands, Professor Paul Schnabel of the University of Utrecht wrote. To a certain extent we are even proud of this fact. We like to say that this is because we are so honest and straightforward. Anyone born or raised outside our borders would say that the Dutch are mainly blunt and rude.
Margot Van Mulken discovered in her study that the requests for permission are considerably more frequent in the Dutch answers. Dutch use relatively more lexical downgraders and they tend to mitigate the request and FTAs acts with an internal modifier as Hooft used eens to minimize the imposition in one of his letters to Huygens. For Geert Hofstede politeness is a leading principle in human relations. The Dutch line of thought is linear, focussed, and direct without digressions and it is monochronic, handling only one thing at a time according to Kaplan and Ulijn. Furthermore, the current climate of politeness in The Netherlands is shaped by the fact that Dutch people are direct, outspoken, straightforward in their speech, informal, casual; they are characterized by relaxed and unceremonious attitudes. This might have an impact on the expression of

politeness in negotiating and writing. Since directness is related to politeness, all of the above would mean loss of face in polite relationships. In low cultures context such as the Dutch there are more positive facekeeping needs to be fulfilled by solidarity politeness strategies, such as expressing interest, approval, sympathy, agreement, asserting common ground, etc. is pointed out in the research carried out by Jan M. Ulijn, for the University of Eindhoven. Everybody is more or less equal and there is no an invasion into the personal territory as it happens in high context cultures according to Hall. It is related to the factors that the difference in power and hierarchies is not big and the individualism is growing, (38 and 80 for the latter) according to the Hofstedes cultural dimensions. So that, the ritual of politeness in The Netherlands has experienced a huge change since the early-modern politeness. The writing manuals are no longer in great demand as they used to in the 17th century, which bespeaks the then widespread uncertainty about the proper epistolary forms; aimed at other people desiring to know the art and manner of composing in as it can be read from one of the manuals at this time, according to Marcel Bax. Why these changes of appealing? The forms of politeness in the 17th century were digressive; it is opposed to the directness that is used nowadays in interactions. The influence of the court of France in regarding culture and writing style has to be taken into account since the use of French and its rhetorical linguistics provided high status at this time. French as a Roman language is a digressive language which influenced the way of interactions holding among the Dutch elites which derived in developing the politic facework into a literature art. As an example of the French influence over The Netherlands we have just to pay attention to the Dutch motto je maintendrai which has its origin in the 16th century. Moreover, as Marcel Bax discussed in Epistolary Presentation Rituals, earlymodern politeness was focused on the ego standing for a superiority display: ego establishes his superior status relative to alter on the strength of high-handed treatment, egos verbal behavior itself counts as evidence for his unstated claim to dominance. That is a difference comparing to nowadays Dutch society in which the power distance has blown up as it has been stated by Hoefstede and alter has become the focus: nowadays egos presentational and avoidance rituals serve not only to put on view how worthy he (a person) is of respect, but to show how worthy he feels others are of it

Grandiloquence and ostentation in communications are no longer a big deal, since interactions from low to high and high to low are becoming balanced and the fast flow of communications nowadays do not let the time to lucubration. For Marcel Bax: Western face-work/politeness has retained some ritual features. [] In the occidental hemisphere, the behavioural mask has lost much of its gloss, interaction rituals of everyday modern life load high on the rationality factor, whereas they score relatively low on the panglobal rituality scale. Despites the concept of deference seems to be on decrease there is an unwritten notion for Dutch people: everyone deserves our respect and consideration. As Granma Dylan would claim.

References Bax, Marcel, and Streekstra, Nanne 2003. Civil Rites. Ritual Politeness in Early Modern Dutch Letter-Writing. Journal of Historical Pragmatics 4.2: 303325. Bax, Marcel. 2010. Epistolary Presentation Rituals. Face-work, Politeness, and Ritual Display in Early Modern Dutch Letter-Writing. In: Jonathan Culpeper and Dniel Z. Kdr (eds.). Historical (Im)politeness. Bern: Peter Lang, 3785. Van Mulken, Margot. 1996. Politeness markers in French and Dutch requests. University of Nijmegen. M. Ulijn, Jan. 1995. The Anglo-Germanic and Latin concepts of politeness and time in crossatlantic business communication: from cultural misunderstanding to management success. Hermes, Journal of Linguistics no. 15.