Expletives as solidarity signals in FTAs on the factory floor
Drawing on Politeness Theory and the Community of Practice model, we examine the uses and functions of the expletive fuck in interaction between workers in a New Zealand soap factory work team. The factory team was extensively recorded in their daily interactions to obtain a corpus of 35 h of authentic workplace talk from which a small number of paradigmatic interactions are selected for discussion in this paper. Particular attention is given to the way in which the expletive fuck is used in two face threatening speech acts, direct complaints and refusals, and its contrasting function in the speech act of whingeing. The analysis focuses on the complex socio-pragmatic functions of fuck and its role as an indicator of membership in a specific community of practice. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.