Impoliteness in Literary Discourse: A Pragmatic Study

Author: Nawal

Keywords: Pragmatics, politeness, impoliteness, Pygmalion


Brown and Levinson’s model of politeness (1987) paved the way for linguists to explore the phenomenon of impoliteness. Meanwhile, Brown and Levinson dealt with politeness as a knotty framework applied to soften face threatening acts, other linguists including, Culpeper, Bousfield and Eelen, headed for the opposite direction of politeness. In other words, they studied the communicative situations where the speaker’s purpose is to damage a hearer’s face rather than softening face threatening acts. This research paper is intended to examine the opposite direction of politeness ‘impoliteness phenomenon’ in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (1913). Furthermore, it highlights the variation of impoliteness strategies used by characters. It is worth mentioning that the present paper is qualitative as it is dedicated to describe a certain pragmatic phenomenon, i.e., impoliteness, depending on Culpeper’s (2005) model of impoliteness, as a theoretical framework, to identify impoliteness in an advisedly chosen literary text.
Consequently it is hoped to provide a deeper understanding of the fictional characters by applying a pragmatic analysis through which the characters’ conversation will be examined thoroughly.