Swearing methodologically : the (im)politeness of expletives in anonymous commentaries on Youtube

Marta Dynel

Abstract


This theoretical paper addresses the (im)politeness of swear words. The primary objective is to account for their nature and functions in anonymous Internet communication, represented by YouTube commentaries (and exemplified by those following snatches of “Borat”), in the light of recent approaches to (im)politeness, notably: second order (im)politeness, necessarily recruiting first order interpretations; intentionbased approach; and relational work. The emerging postulate is that taboo words can display impoliteness (by manifesting aggression, power-building and abuse) or politeness (by fostering solidarity, common ground and humour). The nature and functions of cursing in anonymous commentaries are posited to be largely reminiscent of those appearing in oral interactions. Nevertheless, several characteristics of expletives appear to be peculiar to the discourse of an e-community of practice.

Keywords


Catharsis; e-community of practice; impoliteness; intention; solidarity politeness; swear word/swearing

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/jes.179

Copyright (c) 2012 Marta Dynel

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