Item Details

Linguistic Politeness in Online Discussion Boards: Animé Fandom as Virtual Speech Communities

Issue: Vol 14 No. 1-2 (2018)

Journal: Linguistics and the Human Sciences

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/lhs.34949


The move away from relying on location and physical interaction to define community has brought about a recognition of non-geographic communities particularly those that meet only through the Internet. This paper explores one such online community, a group of animé lovers which have grown in recent years due to the global spread of Japanese pop culture. The data mined from this fan forum are used to determine how its members behave linguistically to reinforce this community. It also aims to investigate the politeness strategies used by the members of the community paying attention to the context of how linguistic politeness is deployed in online environments devoted to fandom. As politeness is more often a facet of face to face interaction, the paper is interested in knowing if politeness can be employed as a strategy of accommodation in an online context. The findings reveal that positive politeness strategies dominate the comments of the members of the discussion forum. The creative use of language also helps maintain this virtual environment where they establish relationships. For fans who meet online, this relationship is not a given but rather is a communicative accomplishment where each member works toward the construction and maintenance of the online community.

Author: Rhodora S. Ranalan

View Full Text

References :

Anime News Network. (2014). Naruto manga has 200 million in print worldwide. Retrieved on 23 May 2016 from

Bloem, W. (2014). Japanese fanspeak in the Anglophone manga and anime fan culture. Master’s Thesis from Leiden University.

Burke, M. and Kraut, R. (2008). Mind Your Ps and Qs: The impact of politeness and rudeness in online Communities. CSCW’08, 281–284.

Crystal, D. (2004). Language and the Internet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Garrison, J. A. (2013). Orientalism and western fans: A look at fandom Surrounding Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto. Master’s Thesis, Appalachian State University.

Herianto, N. H. (2014). Politeness strategies in anonymous online discussion. Accessed 17 July 2018 from

Indrova, Tereza. (2011). Spoken, written and computer-mediated communication: The language of online discussion forums. Unpublished Thesis: Masaryk University.

Locher, M., Bolander, B., and Höhn, N. (2015). Introducing relational work in Facebook and discussion boards. Pragmatics 25 (1): 1–21.

Nishimura, Y. (2008). Japanese BBS websites as online communities: (Im)politeness Perspectives. Accessed 21 June 2018 from

Rich, D. (2011). Global fandom: The circulation of Japanese popular culture in the US. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Iowa.

Seargeant, P. and Tagg, C. (Eds) (2014). The Language of Social Media: Identity and Community on the Internet. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Simpson, J. and Hepworth, M. (2010). Identity Online: Multilingual English language learners’ textual identities in and out of class. University of Leeds.

Skatun, K. (2006). Harry Potter fandom as an online speech community. Master’s Thesis, Bryn Mawr College. Retrieved on 15 May 2016 from

Watts, R. (2003). Politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.