International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 17, No 2 (2010)

Ideologies of Violence: A Corpus and Discourse Analytic Approach to Stance in Threatening Communications

Tammy Gales
Issued Date: 24 Feb 2011


Awarding Institution: University of California Davis, USA
Date of Award: June 2010

Because of the dangerous nature of threats, investigators must immediately ask: Is the intent real? Is the threatener likely to act? With real lives at risk, using the linguistic information available to answer these questions quickly and accurately is of great importance. Yet, because most scholarship on threats has focused exclusively on behavioral characteristics or on their relation to individual linguistic forms (e.g., Rosenfeld and Harmon 2002, Meloy and Hoff mann 2008, Smith 2008), there is still a substantial lack of understanding of the discursive nature of threatening language and a lack of empirical evidence demonstrating how threateners encode their level of commitment to the proposed act or reveal their attitudes about the victim. Th e purpose of this research, then, is to explore the ways in which nterpersonal stances, or a speaker or writer’s commitment to or attitudes about a person or proposition (Biber et al. 1999), are manifested and function in threatening communications.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsll.v17i2.299


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