Inherent linguistic impoliteness : The case of insultive YOU+NP in Dutch, English and Dutch

Van Olmen, Daniel and Andersson, Marta and Culpeper, Jonathan (2023) Inherent linguistic impoliteness : The case of insultive YOU+NP in Dutch, English and Dutch. Journal of Pragmatics, 215. pp. 22-40. ISSN 0378-2166

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This article conducts a corpus analysis of insults in the form you+np (e.g. you (stupid) idiot), an impoliteness formula, in Dutch, English and Polish. It argues that impoliteness can be inherently associated with linguistic structures, a claim which contradicts the widely held view in current (im)politeness research that impoliteness, and indeed politeness, is primarily determined by context. However, whilst we show that our insultive form is strongly conventionalised in similar ways across languages, it is never completely conventional. We suggest that the generally high level of conventionalisation found for this form is a result of the addressee evaluation inherent in the structure, as well as the pragmatic explicitness, and thus directness, of referring to the target with a second person pronoun. The form was found to be most conventionalised for impoliteness in Polish, something which is probably attributable to the decline of the vocative case in that language. The article also considers the nature of exceptions, i.e. cases which fit the form but were not impolite.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Pragmatics
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Research Output Funding/no_not_funded
?? conventionalisationcorpus pragmaticsevaluative meaningimpolitenessinsultno - not fundedartificial intelligencelinguistics and languagelanguage and linguistics ??
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14 Jul 2023 09:50
Last Modified:
17 Jul 2024 23:58