2.1 What is an insult - Part 1 : Performing an insult

There are two possible ways of performing an insult:

1. unintentionally

when somebody perceives our utterance as insult although it is not meant as one

2. intentionally

when we utter something in the intention of insulting somebody

Accordingly, we can say that an intended insult is an speech act that ignores distance, power and imposition of the verbal interaction. It intentionally violates politeness strategies and therefore is intended to be a face-threatening act.

In conclusion we can say that an insult consists of two essential elements Jucker/Taavistainen 2000:73):

  1. A predication about the target, about e.g. his/her identity or profession
  2. This predication has to be perceived as inappropriate and demeaning by the target
  3. (The target must experience this predication as a face-threatening act)