“Calling a Spade, a Spade”: Impoliteness and Shame on Twitter

Document Type : Research Article


1 Graduate Program in Linguistic Studies, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Visiting Scholar Program, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, United Kingdom

2 Graduate Program in Linguistic Studies, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil


In this paper, we focus on the impoliteness metadiscourse (Culpeper, 2011) on Twitter about what was said by US President Joe Biden at a press conference where he cursed journalist Peter Doocy after he asked if inflation was a liability in the midterm elections. To do that, we searched for #sonofabitch, and found 610 original tweets with the tag in the days following the episode. After analyzing them, we discovered that the hashtag was employed to vilify both Joe Biden and Peter Doocy. The tag also prompted a discussion about impoliteness and shameful language in the political sphere. Moreover, the data also showed that the posts containing hashtags employed impolite formulae and negative assertions that characterized the process of online public shaming (Blitvich, 2022, p. 62).


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