Edited By Anna Bączkowska
Impolite prosody in Swedish and the importance of context (Åsa Abelin)
Åsa Abelin Impolite prosody in Swedish and the importance of context Abstract This article discusses whether there can be such a thing as context-independent impolite prosody, and presents a possible method for studying prosody and impoliteness in natural speech. The corpus of written Swedish, KORP, was excerpted for the words ‘oartig’ (‘impolite’) and ‘oartighet’ (‘impoliteness’), and these excerpts were analysed to determine which communicative actions are generally associated with impoliteness among Swedish speakers. According to the corpus, one of the more impolite communicative actions is interrupting someone and preventing them from finishing their sentence. Incidents of explicit verbal expression of interruptions, which could be considered impolite expressions, were extracted from the Swedish television talk show Debatt, and the contexts of these interruptions were analysed auditorily to find prosodic cues to perceived impoliteness. It is suggested that a method for studying impolite prosody could consist of excerption of crucial passages in the debates for acoustic analysis of prosodic traits. Corpus studies should be used to identify the crucial passages. Keywords: prosody, Swedish, television debates 1. Background The role of prosody in impoliteness has not yet been studied to any great extent (Culpeper 2012). The question is whether there is such a thing as impolite prosody per se, or whether the experience of impoliteness depends on the interactional context. I will begin with a Swedish example of prosody, or sound, which might be considered impolite in the wrong context. In some parts of Sweden, it is common to say ‘ja’ or ‘jo’...
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