Norms and situational rules of address in English and Norwegian speakers

Winand H. Dittrich, Thomas Johansen, Elena Kulinskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The proposed universal relationship between status and solidarity in address exchange is revisited and a novel methodology applied. Forms of address were investigated in Norwegian and English usage based on Brown's (1965) theory of the invariant norm of address. Address exchanges and politeness measures were elicited in Norway and England. The degree of reciprocity, solidarity, and inequality in dyadic address exchange were analyzed and using a statistical approach allowed to directly compare the linguistic patterns of expected and observed values in two languages. The address exchange showed no consistency with expected theoretical values for certain categories of Brown's (1965) theory. Differences in politeness were found between the two countries. Effects of cultural differences and social change governing the pragmatics of communication are suggested to explain the findings. A cognitive concept of politeness to explain forms of address usage is emphasized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3807-3821
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Forms of address
  • Politeness
  • Status
  • Solidarity
  • Methodology
  • Social categorization

Cite this