Author Shrutika Kapoor
Title Impoliteness in Indian YouTube comments : how do users express themselves?
Institute Thesis (M.A.) (Applied Linguistics) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Year 2016
Supervisor Nguyen, Thi Thuy Minh

The field of impoliteness research has greatly expanded in the last decade and a half. Extant literature mainly addresses the issue of impoliteness and the various strategies used to express it in the western world with very little focus in the Indian context. The current study aims to fill this gap by investigating how users of YouTube that feature Indian videos express impoliteness in their comments and to ascertain if there are any topic-based and gender-based preferences for using different impoliteness strategies. Based on their popularity and relevance in present day Indian society, two YouTube videos were chosen, from which nearly 200 comments were selected for analysis. These comments were analysed using two super strategies – off-record and on-record based on Bousfield's (2008a) adaptation of Culpeper’s (1996; 2003) 5-point model of impoliteness. It was noted that while topic does not impact the overall use of strategies, users displayed a significant preference for sub-types of strategies depending on the controversiality of the topic. Female users preferred more off-record impoliteness strategies than male users. They were also more impolite than male users when the topic was more controversial and male users were more impolite when the topic was less controversial. It is also suggested that gender based norms and biases in the offline world were carried over to online communication - as evidenced in male versus female usage of certain sub-types of impoliteness strategies.