Oral corpora constitute excellent sources of real data with which to undertake pragmalinguistic inductive research into politeness phenomena. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the importance and the main advantages of two oral corpora, the British National Corpus and a Peninsular Spanish Spoken Corpus (Corpus Oral de Referencia del Español Contemporáneo), in contrastive studies on linguistic politeness. In particular, this work aims to explain how these corpora can be used in general and specific qualitative as well as quantitative studies to analyze politeness strategies in English and Spanish. The results of the analyses shed light on the nature of politeness phenomena and on the functions of politeness strategies in four different domains of social interaction. Also, some pedagogical implications for the fields of teaching Spanish and English as foreign languages are discussed.