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I improved this slightly. Of course it is sourceless and sometimes a bit POV. JFW | T@lk 17:52, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

What else is considered rude?[edit]

I am thinking of adding to the list:

  • Asking someone their age
  • Asking someone what their salary is
ignoring a person, when spoken directly too  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:02, 5 January 2009 (UTC) 

Would that be unencyclopedic? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Canberra User (talkcontribs) 10:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC).

  • Sorry but I believe that would be extremely unencyclopedic as it really is not useful to any extent and would appear to be a long (and possibly endless) list of actions considered rude. Glassbreaker5791 16:56, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Are you joking?[edit]

Having disgusting yellow teeth, as displayed by Chordate and, most recently, Apollo. How is that rude for Gods sake?--Light current 01:28, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't rudeness vary by country?[edit]

Isn't the list of rudeness a little imprecise, in that what is considered rude varies by country? --Jonathan Drain 14:17, 7 June 2007 (UTC)


I feel pretty ambivalent about the removal of all examples. On the one hand, the section attracts an enormous amount of vandalism and nonsense. On the other hand, some descriptions (I've been contemplating a slow migration from lists to paragraphs organized by general subject) might be helpful. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:37, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, Rudeness varies greatly by region, and while slurping is considered rude in Europe it may be rude to not slurp in east Asia. If I were to add "not slurping", it would be unjustifiably deleted. Besides, I could make this list 20 pages long if I wanted to. So goodbye list, once again. (talk) 07:30, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

But there are categories of things that are rude and IMO should be addressed: No matter the culture, there are rude ways of speaking, rude ways of dressing, and rude ways of touching, rude ways of eating, and so forth. The specific implementation varies by culture, but the concept of a rude way to address a stranger (or parent, or child, or...) exists in absolutely every culture since the dawn of civilization.
I see no justification for removing this aspect of rudeness. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:55, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

References section[edit]

The article currently uses two styles of citations (footnotes and Harvard style). Although I'm not happy about mixing the two, I have a strong feeling that the Harvard references will disappear once the long, highly technical section on linguistics studies is "fixed." (At the moment that section is flagged as a probable copyright violation.) --Koppas (talk) 18:32, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps we should work on that section here. Here's the text, which I've started making an effort to clean up... although it needs a lot more work.
Oh, and the page should probably be all Harvard refs, rather than none: Wikipedia usually sticks with the style chosen by the first author. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:17, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Instrumental rudeness and pragmatic competence

Sometimes, people deliberately employ rude behaviors to achieve a goal. Early works in linguistic pragmatism interpreted rudeness as a defective mode of communication. However, most rudeness serves functional or instrumental purposes in communication, and skillfully choosing when and how to be rude may indicate a person's pragmatic competence.

Prior to the mid-1990s, most linguistics research ignored the instrumental or 'useful' nature of rudeness in speech (Brown & Levinson, 1987; Grice, 1975; Lakoff, 1973). Before then, rudeness was seen as a sign of communication failure: Lakoff gave "two rules" of pragmatic competence (1973): be clear, and be polite. Grice (1975) believed that rudeness violated universal norms of conversation of truthfulness, politeness and relevancy. Likewise, Brown and Levinson's politeness framework (1987 pp. 60-61) is also based on the idea that politeness is normative and rudeness is eschewed even when engaging in 'face-threatening acts' (FTAs) such as making a complaints or refusing a request. "The semantics and pragmatics of utterances must be taken into account in assessing degree of face redress; if the overt content of an utterance is rude, for example, politeness strategies won’t necessarily redeem it." (Brown & Levinson, 1987, p. 22)

Robin Lakoff (1989) addressed what she named 'strategic rudeness,' a style of communication used by prosecutors and therapists to force their interlocutors (a courtroom defendant or patient) to talk or react in a certain way.

Gabriele Kasper (1990) gives us the earliest definition of rudeness in an academic paper. In her discussion of Lakoff's (1989) research on strategic rudeness, Kasper (1990) defines rudeness as speech that is "constituted by deviation from whatever counts as politic in a given social context, is inherently confrontational and disruptive to social equilibrium" (Kasper, 1990, p. 208). This definition is important, in that it marks rudeness as speech which is confrontational at its core. Although Kasper (1990) further defines rudeness as 'motivated' and 'unmotivated,' her definitions do not make use of natural data.

It is not until Leslie Beebe's research comes along in the early to mid-1990s that data on naturally occurring instances of rudeness in everyday conversation is collected. Drawing from Lakoff's (1989) idea of strategic rudeness, Beebe (1993a, 1993b, 1994, 1995) similarly proposes the concept of instrumental rudeness; rudeness that is meant to achieve a goal. Like Lakoff (1989) and Kasper (1990), Beebe (1995) believes that rudeness is confrontational behaviour, and indeed in her research, she found that "hostility seemed to pervade the data" (Beebe, 1995, p. 156). In her study of naturally occurring rudeness in New York City, Beebe (1995) provides her own definition of rudeness:

"In this study, rudeness is defined as a face threatening act (FTA)- or feature of an FTA such as intonation- which violates a socially sanctioned norm of interaction for the social context in which it occurs. It is only rudeness if it receives insufficient redressive action to mitigate its force or, of course, if it does not occur in a context, such as intimacy or emergency, that would negate the need for redressive action. Consequently, it causes antagonism, discomfort, or conflict and results in some disruption to the social harmony. The idea that socially sanctioned norms of interaction are violated is central to the perception of rudeness." (Beebe, 1995, p. 159)

In this definition, Beebe (1995) asserts that rudeness is an FTA, or a feature of an FTA, that has not been mitigated by redressive action and does not occur between intimates or in emergency situations. Essentially, rudeness is a bald, on-record face attack, and not a failed attempt at politeness. This definition would also most likely preclude culturally-specific ritual insults, verbal games, or manners of speech that are used among members of certain social groups. Labov (1972) argues that ritual insults, or 'sounding,' follow certain linguistic, organizational, and interactional rules. If such speech among members of a cultural in-group could be seen as following 'socially sanctioned norms of interaction' (as Labov, 1972, argues) where there is a low risk of face-loss, it would most likely not be considered 'rude speech,' according to Beebe's (1995) definition of rudeness. Beebe (1995) also excludes from her definition: perceived rudeness originating from the differing conversational styles between "high considerate-ness" and "high involvement" speakers, as explained by Tannen (1984, 1990).

Most importantly to this study, the natural data in Beebe's (1995) paper supports her contention that most rudeness in everyday speech "is frequently instrumental, and is not merely pragmatic failure" (Beebe, 1995, p. 154). She gives the following example, and her interpretation of it:

  • "[A] young bicyclist came cycling down Central Park West in New York City and was clearly unhappy that a taxi driver had decided to slow down, to let a pedestrian cross. If he kept riding straight, he would have to ride in front of the taxi who was turning right, and, being reluctant to do that, the bicyclist yelled, "Hey! Hey! Hey! You fuck!"

It is difficult to imagine how he might have had politeness as his goal. It seems far-fetched to analyze this encounter as perception of rudeness due to clashing conversational styles. It also appears unlikely that this is cross cultural pragmatic failure. More probably, the bicyclist wanted to be instrumentally rude." (Beebe, 1995, pp. 154-155; italicized data slightly edited)

The bicyclist's utterance is a bald, on-record FTA that is meant to offend the taxi driver. Beebe (1995) uses this and other examples to show that talk participants will intentionally use rudeness to fulfill instrumental needs in their lives. She explains that the vast majority of the rudeness in the data she compiled was "…perhaps not intentional in the sense that it was consciously planned in advance, but that was intentional in the sense that it fulfilled a function that the speaker intended, and it was not failed politeness." (Beebe, 1995, p. 166)

Beebe (1995) also asserts that the examples in her study prove that most rude speakers are attempting to accomplish one of two important instrumental functions: 1) to vent negative feelings, and/or 2) to get power (in the above case of the bicyclist, to vent frustration at the taxi driver and/or perhaps to get the taxi driver to hurry up and turn out of the way) (Beebe, 1995, p. 159). Arent (1998) points out that although under Brown and Levinson's politeness framework such bald, on-record FTAs are employed only when the estimated risk of face loss is low, Beebe's (1995) data shows that "in some circumstances, talk participants will deliberately employ FTAs without regard to the risk of face loss to the hearer" (Arent, 1998, p. 48).

Considering its deliberate nature and pervasiveness in the real world, Beebe (1995) believes that instrumental rudeness should be viewed as a part of pragmatic competence, even though both the fields of pragmatics and ESL teaching still regard politeness as the norm and regard rudeness as an aberration of politeness (Beebe, 1995, p. 156). She asserts that instrumental rudeness is a competency of a native English speaker, and that like native speakers, ESL students "have to learn to get power/control and express negative feelings — but in appropriate ways (Beebe, 1995, p. 167).

  • Arent, R. (1998). The pragmatics of cross-cultural bargaining in an ammani suq: An exploration of language choice, discourse structure and pragmatic failure in discourse involving Arab and non-Arab participants. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
  • Beebe, L. M. (1993a). The pragmatics of rudeness. Paper presented at AAAL Convention, Atlanta, GA.
  • Beebe, L. M. (1993b). Rudeness: The undervalued skill in communicative competence. Paper presented at TESOL Convention, Atlanta, GA.
  • Beebe, L. M. (1994). Court-related rudeness and trumped-up language to boot. Paper presented at AAAL Convention, Baltimore, MD.
  • Beebe, L. M. (1995). Polite fictions: Instrumental rudeness as pragmatic competence. In J. E. Alatis, C. A. Straehle, B. Gallenberger, & M. Ronkin (Eds.), Georgetown University round table on language teachers: Ethnolinguistic, psycholinguistic, and sociolinguistic aspects (pp. 154-168). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Brown, P., & Levinson, S. (1987). Politeness: Some universals in language use. Cambridge University Press.
  • Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax and semantics: Speech acts (Vol. 3, pp. 41-53). New York: Academic Press.
  • Kasper, G. (1990). Linguistic politeness: Current research issues. Journal of Pragmatics, 14, 193-218.
  • Labov, W. (1972). Language in the inner city: Studies in the Black English vernacular. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Lakoff, R. (1973). The logic of politeness; or, minding your p’s and q’s. In Paper from the ninth regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (pp. 292-305). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Lakoff, R. (1989). The limits of politeness: Therapeutic and courtroom discourse. Multilingua, 8(2/3), 101-129.
  • Senter, L. (2004). Things Rude People Do. Columbus, OH.
  • Senter, L. (2005). The Unbearable Rudeness of Rudeness. Columbus, OH
  • Tannen, D. (1984). Conversational style: Analyzing talk among friends. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Tannen, D. (1990). You just don’t understand: Men and women in conversation. New York: Ballantine.
  • Thomas, J. A. (1983). Cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Applied Linguistics, 4, 91-112.

RE: 'Examples - Anti-social Behavior'[edit]

'Anti-social' does not mean what whoever used the phrase thinks it means. Since asocial behavior doesn't fit the list's examples either, I retitled it [Examples of] Rude Behaviors. -$5KHPD (talk) 23:22, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Citations needed[edit]

Caims that asking inappropriate question or pression for answer are rude are lacking citation. On top of that I think they are false. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:34, 1 October 2013 (UTC)