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Impoliteness strategies in Croatian and Serbian user comments on online news articles: A study based on readers’ perceptions

Ljiljana Šarić
E-mail: ljiljana.saric@ilos.uio.no
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4373-9182
University of Oslo

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This study examines readers’ perceptions of impoliteness in user comments on online news articles in two daily newspapers: Croatia’s Jutarnji list and Serbia’s Večernje novosti. The study considers judgments by four younger study participants that did not participate in the online discussions as posters. These readers evaluated impoliteness from their own point of view, identifying impolite utterances in 668 user comments. Participants’ judgments are categorized and analyzed drawing on Culpeper’s (2011a) taxonomy of impoliteness formulae and triggers. This study focuses on utterances and language means judged impolite by the majority — that is, three or four participants — with the aim of identifying frequent impoliteness formulae and language means that are judged to be impolite. Among the phenomena judged impolite by three or four readers, predominant are conventionalized impoliteness formulae with terms from the domains of sexual activities and mental health, and referential terms with a historical burden. Cursing was regularly judged impolite, as well as expressions with words from the semantic domain of scatology, words evoking animal metaphors, and name modifications (blends) resulting in taboo or derogatory terms. There seems to be a strong correlation between the phenomena judged impolite and discursive identity construction — that is, establishing the border between “us” and “them” — which in the data often involved negative, and even stigmatizing, descriptions of those considered to belong to another national group.

Ključne riječi:
impoliteness judgments, impoliteness interpretations, user comments, impoliteness formulae, Croatian and Serbian newspapers,
Podaci na drugim jezicima: Hrvatski