Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Mock Politeness in English and Italian: A Corpu...

Electronic data

  • 11003449.pdf

    Final published version, 19.3 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-ND

View graph of relations

Mock Politeness in English and Italian: A Corpus-assisted Study of the Metalanguage of Sarcasm and Irony.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Charlotte Taylor
Publication date2015
Number of pages386
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
Electronic ISBNs9780438570481
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis represents the first in-depth analysis of mock politeness, bringing together research from different academic fields and investigating a range of first-order metapragmatic labels. The investigation is based on a corpus of c. 96 million words taken from two online forums, one based in the UK and one in Italy. For the analysis, I combine corpus linguistics and more traditional qualitative approaches. A key aspect to the analytic process is that it is led by participant understandings of mock politeness and so I take a bottom-up approach to filling some of the gaps in the field. The research aims to tackle three questions. The first addresses which metapragmatic labels are used to refer to mock politeness in the (British) English and Italian data. In the second question, I ask how these metapragmatic labels and the behaviours which they describe relate to one another within and across languages. In the third question, I ask what is the relationship between (a) the English and Italian first-order uses of these metapragmatic labels and the behaviours which they describe and (b) the second order descriptions. In this regard, the use of data from two different cultures is important because it provides an opportunity to investigate to what extent the existing theory accounts for behaviours in different contexts. The findings show that mock politeness cannot be equated with sarcasm, and that the metapragmatic label which may be applied to a mock polite interaction depends on a range of contextual factors, including the participation role of the evaluator and gender of the performer. The range of metapragmatic labels and realisation of mock politeness vary across the two sub-corpora, and the research showed that mock politeness is both structurally and functionally more varied than anticipated by the existing literature.

Bibliographic note

Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2015.