Military impoliteness as an (eventually) unmarked form: A comment on Bousfield (2007)

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This discussion note focuses on a paper by Bousfield (2007). Bousfield focuses in part on the impoliteness used in military training and argues that it is a marked form, subsequently countering claims that such impoliteness is actually unmarked given that it is largely regarded as the 'norm'. While this aspect of his paper is only briefly discussed, it nonetheless touches on a common notion (in the US at least) that military impoliteness used in recruit training is just 'mind games', thus implying that it is not genuine impoliteness; Bousfield nonetheless claims that military impoliteness is indeed the marked form as it is perceived as quite real by recruits. The purpose of this discussion note, however, is to demonstrate how military impoliteness, as part of institutional impoliteness, becomes the unmarked form, thus arguing against Bousfield's assertion to the contrary. Ultimately, the military's ethos for such impoliteness in the first instance - to make recruits impervious to it - is one key consideration regarding its eventual unmarked status. This discussion note also argues that there are additional factors besides impoliteness that can motivate recruits, which Bousfield does not consider. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-23
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Early online date3 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014

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