Although it is quite easy to conceive of a number of conventionalised impoliteness formulae that, depending on context, do not lead to the hearer’s evaluations of impoliteness, there are many situations when the speaker aims to be genuinely impolite and does not try to mitigate his/her verbal behaviour. This paper reports the findings of an analysis of twenty-nine genuinely impolite verbal behaviours that occurred in the Big Brother UK 2012 house. The main objective of this study is to examine the triggers for genuine impoliteness and determine which aspects of the hearer’s face and rights s/he claims for him/herself are targeted in such interactions. The results reveal that impoliteness among the housemates is triggered by previous impolite (non-)verbal behaviour, implied negativity or personal dislike of the target. The speaker, in his/her turn, tends to associate the target with a negative aspect or behaviour, question his/her mental, emotional state or knowledge, deny the freedom of expression or participation and, finally, warn or threaten the target.
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