Research Output
The strategic use of impoliteness to convey caring relations: A Philippine cultural perspective
  It has been claimed that in some discourse contexts, huge power differential and training philosophy account for the pervasiveness of impoliteness (Culpeper 1996: 359). In this ethnographic-based study of two nursing classrooms in the Philippines, I suggest that impoliteness was used intentionally and strategically by the clinical nursing instructors not only to emphasise relative power and stress a job-specific training philosophy but also to build caring relations. The two instructors were preparing the nursing students to be mentally and emotionally fit to handle ill patients who maybe at times abusive. Thus, their use of impoliteness strategies such as inappropriate and insulting identity markers, code-switching, condescension and ridicule (see Culpeper 1996) were being deployed as “practice for the real world” and therefore necessary.

When I embarked on this study, I had initially intended to focus on linguistic politeness as an interactional resource. However, on the basis of data consisting of observation/field notes and audio recordings, it became evident that the deliberate use of impoliteness by the instructors can also serve as an interactional resource intended to convey caring and concern for the addressees. In an extreme form this type of impoliteness may be seen in the remark by a parent to a child “I spank you because I love you.” Based on the data collected, I illustrate how face attacks by the instructors are exercised as an extension of parental authority and viewed (as well as accepted) by the students as being in their best interest.

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Date:

    30 June 2009

  • Publication Status:


  • Funders:

    Historic Funder (pre-Worktribe)


Victoria, M. (2009, June). The strategic use of impoliteness to convey caring relations: A Philippine cultural perspective. Paper presented at Linguistic Impoliteness And Rudeness Conference, Lancaster University


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