Linguistic Impoliteness and Social Disruption in Literary Discourse

Author: Nawal

Keywords: impoliteness, social harmony/disruption, linguistic strategies of impoliteness, face and sociality rights.


Communicative strategies that are employed to promote and maintain social harmony have always been the focus of politeness theories or politeness phenomenon (Culpeper, 1996: 349). However, little research has been conducted in the field of politeness studies to examine communicative strategies with the opposite orientation, i.e., the communicative strategies that are used to disrupt social harmony. In other words, linguistic means of attacking ‘face’ causing social conflict or disruption have not been given enough focus in research on politeness especially in literary discourse. The present study aims at examining the model of ‘impoliteness’, as first proposed by Culpeper (1996) and as revised and developed later by Culpeper et al (2003) and Culpeper (2005), in Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables to see how intentional impoliteness can attack face and how addressees respond to this offensive act. To do so, the researcher will analyze two extracts from this novel to illustrate how impoliteness strategies can help in reflecting social disharmony among characters in terms of ‘face’ and ‘sociality rights’ components and in elaborating on some character traits as well since impoliteness is an essential part of the communicative process.