Understandings of Impoliteness in the Greek Context

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Interest in non-academic ways of understanding of im/politeness has so far been evident primarily in analyses of the sequential development of real-life interactions. However, understandings of im/politeness can be found in other sources such as related articles in on-line newspapers and their ensuing comments. The main aim of this paper is to contribute to this rather neglected area in im/politeness research, thus placing emphasis on the underexplored societal rather than individual level of im/politeness. The data to be investigated comes from two on-line articles and the comments they received. The articles appeared in a popular Greek free press on-line newspaper, LIFO, in 2014 and 2017 and were written by the same journalist. Both articles and ensuing comments express lay understandings of impoliteness and are discussed in the paper in terms of van Dijk’s (1998, 2006a, b) ideological discourse analysis and ‘ideological square’ that revolves around positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation. In exploring understandings of impoliteness in this context, we identified two emerging social identities, those of ‘polite’ and ‘impolite citizen’, dynamically co-constructed as binary opposites by the journalist and posters involved. Despite the fact that on-line newspaper articles and their accompanying comments reflect stereotypical thinking, they also depict pervasive views and are worth exploring because they concern the societal level of im/politeness.

About the authors

Angeliki Tzanne

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Author for correspondence.
Email: msifian@enl.uoa.gr

Professor Emerita at the Department of English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Panepistimioupoli Zographou, 157 84 Athens, Greece

Maria Sifianou

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Email: atzanne@enl.uoa.gr

Associate Professor in Linguistics at the Department of English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Panepistimioupoli Zographou, 157 84 Athens, Greece


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