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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the use of taboo language as—or, what is more often the case, as part of—a strategy to offend somebody or some group of people, that is, as part of impoliteness. Having briefly discussed the meanings of taboo language and impoliteness, the chapter commences with an examination of how taboo language figures in work on linguistic politeness and impoliteness. It considers its status as an impoliteness strategy, how taboo and impolite expressions come about, and the frequent role of taboo in calibrating the degree of offensiveness of an impoliteness strategy rather than constituting an impoliteness strategy per se. The chapter concludes with a brief case study involving the language of hate crime.

Keywords: politeness, impoliteness, taboo language, strategies, hate crime

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