Diminutives in politeness strategies: A comparison of the Netherlands and Flanders

Katarzyna Wiercińska


This paper, using a corpus of eight contemporary films from Belgium and the Netherlands (four original versions and four that are their Dutch or Flemish remakes), aims to look at the use of diminutives in politeness strategies in the Netherlands and in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. The corpus material shows that there is a visible difference in both the quantitative (174 diminutives in the Dutch films and 275 in the Belgian ones) and qualitative use of diminutives in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Besides its primary function, the diminutive has several pragmatic functions in both varieties of Dutch, however it is more frequently used in certain contexts in Belgium. This corresponds with the use of diminutives in politeness strategies. While the Dutch and Flemish use diminutives in a similar way in positive politeness strategies, in the negative strategies, there is quite a clear difference.


diminutive; the Netherlands; Flanders; Dutch; politeness; politeness strategies

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18290/rh.2016.64.5s-10


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Roczniki Humanistyczne · ISSN 0035-7707 | eISSN 2544-5200 | DOI: 10.18290/rh

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