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The Invisible Aggressive Fist: A Pragmatic Analysis of cyber bullying language in China
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China, People's Republic of
With the rapid development of the social media, cyberbullying has become an invisible aggressive fist worldwide, leading such victims as Amanda Todd in Canada to commit suicide. Compared with abundant findings on the detection and prevention of cyberbullying targeted at teenagers from the perspectives of psychology, sociology and computer science, little has been done to analyze how adults are linguistically bullied on the social media. This paper, based on the data collected from posts and comments on Wechat and Weblog in high-profile cyberbullying cases in China, aims to analyze the pragmatic features of cyberbullying language and the perlocutionary effects of such bullying. Preliminary findings reveal that individual bullying language uses such illocutionary acts as assertives and directives, presupposing that the victim is guilty, describing the victim as a beast or urging the victim to “go to the hell”. Collectively, Wechat and Weblog users jointly and repeatedly negate the victim, play the roles of the moral police, prosecutor and judge, and pass moral sentences on the victim. It is also found that things get worse when the cyberbullying language reaches friends, neighbors or colleagues of the victim in real life. It may drive the victim to “go to the hell”, achieving the desired perlocutionary effects of the bullying language and, ironically, realizing the function of language, “to do things with words”. This study may hopefully enrich the linguistic study on cyberbullying and provide a linguistic insight to curb cyberbullying in China.
A Multimodal Perspective of the Construction of Legal Facts in Court Discourse
Wanqun Guo, Chengyong Guan, Tingting Guo
Zhongyuan University of Technology, China, People's Republic of
It is a difﬁcult job to identify a legal fact in judicial practice, which could beneﬁt from the perspective of multimodal discourse analysis. This paper offers, ﬁrst, a literature review of multimodal discourse analysis, deﬁning such key terms as objective fact, fact of a case and legal fact. Then it analyzes three major stages of a court trial discourse, which embody the representational, the interactional and the compositional meaning respectively. On this basis it discusses the representation of case facts, co-construction of evidential facts and identiﬁcation of legal facts. Last, it points out some urgent research topics.
A legal fallacy? Testing the ordinariness of ‘ordinary meaning’
Terrence R Carney
University of South Africa, South Africa
The canon that dictates that words should be interpreted according to their ordinary meaning has seen a lot of debate. Many studies have either highlighted the ordinary meaning principle’s shortcomings or they have tried to debunk its existence altogether. Despite efforts to introduce a new approach to the interpretation of statutes in South Africa (through Endumeni), the application of the ordinary meaning rule persists and remains a contested issue. Weighing in on the debate by Cowen (1980), Labuschagne (1998) and Hutton (2014), this contribution seeks to test if the phenomenon of ordinary meaning actually exists. Rooted in the argument that ordinary meaning is representative of a so-called reasonable speaker’s understanding, data is collected through a survey approach. The survey tests 10 words taken from South African case law that were interpreted according to the ordinary meaning principle. The results are matched with the meanings assigned by the court and meanings taken from the iWeb Corpus, a corpus within the COCA and BNC stable. Interpreted against the demographic information of 150 participants, the preliminary results indicate correspondence between the courts’ understanding of the selected words and that of the respondents. The question remains what this ‘reasonable person’ looks like and whether he or she is representative enough to speak of an ‘ordinary meaning’.