Dr Valeria Sinkeviciute


(Im)polite interactional behaviours have been a topic of many studies in the last decades. Researchers have analysed different types of discourse – from dinner table conversations to film discourse – and have approached this topic from various perspectives, primarily either looking at it from the point of view of an analyst (etic) or a language user (emic). Whether verbal behaviour can be classified as polite or impolite has also been in the centre of research into humour, where one can find oneself between what is appreciated and what goes too far. This talk takes an emic perspective and focuses on how interactants evaluate their own behaviour as well as that of other people. We will closely look at one jocular verbal act from the reality television gameshow Big Brother and, most importantly, what evaluations it occasions. This way, we will have an opportunity to see how jocularity is conceptualised by different participants and in different settings. In other words, the analysis will start with the participants’ frontstage reactions in public, which will be followed by the housemates’ re-evaluations of the same interactional behaviour backstage. Finally, we will move beyond the television discourse and explore how the housemates’ jocular interaction is perceived and evaluated by non-participants, in this case the interviewees, who share not only their opinion on the jocular behaviour, but also reveal how they would feel and react if they were the targets of jocularity directed at them. As a result, this talk will look at different participation roles in relation to a particular interaction taken from the reality television discourse and how these roles impact on the evaluation of jocularity.




Valeria Sinkeviciute is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at The University of Queensland, Australia. She received her PhD from the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Her main research interests are linguistic (im)politeness, conversational humour, pragmatics in interaction and Australian and British cultural contexts. She is the author of a number of papers in journals and edited volumes by John Benjamins, Elsevier and Mouton de Gruyter.


About Research Seminar Series

The School of Languages and Cultures Research Seminar Series provides an opportunity to hear from the School's researchers as well as visitors on a range of topics from the following research areas: Linguistics, Second Language Studies, Studies in Culture, and Translation and Interpreting

Research Seminars are only available for UQ students and staff. 



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