Researching impoliteness and rudeness: issues and definitions

Bousfield, Derek Ernest (2010) Researching impoliteness and rudeness: issues and definitions. In: Interpersonal Pragmatics. Handbooks of Pragmatics [HOPS] (6). De Gruyter, pp. 101-134. ISBN 978-3-11-021433-8

[thumbnail of Author's Post-Print] PDF (Author's Post-Print) - Accepted Version
Restricted to Registered users only


Official URL:


Through the discussion of approaches which are concerned with impoliteness/ rudeness and the consideration of interactional data of a conflictual nature, this chapter seeks to define and differentiate the two main concepts under consideration and place them within a wider model of interpersonal face threat, face attack and face damage. Here I consider some of the main issues facing the researcher who is interested in impolite, rude, or otherwise aggressive language use.
These issues include problems with definitions, consideration of what constitute appropriate research paradigms (discursive, theoretical, postmodern, interactive or a ‘hybrid’), and, within this, whether offence or rudenes/impoliteness in the linguistic sphere is post facto negotiated by the interactants themselves, and/or pre facto constructed, projected and anticipated given producer (e.g., speaker) knowledge of situational schemata of which the receiver (e.g., hearer) can, plausibly, have a relatively full understanding. Finally, this chapter suggests that a prototype model be adopted as most appropriate for the future of research into impoliteness, rudeness and associated phenomena. The line taken in this chapter, next to offering an overview of issues in current research, is to challenge areas of received wisdom, provoke discussion and debate in both ‘received’ and contentious areas and, hence, stimulate new consideration and research into the phenomena under scrutiny.

Repository Staff Only: item control page