New Nini paper on register variation in malicious texts

Posted on June 19, 2017 by

New staff member Andrea Nini, who joined LEL in September, teaches forensic linguistics and stylistics at the University of Manchester. In this new publication, recently published in the International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Andrea combines his expertise in forensic linguistics and stylistics. The study examines register variation in malicious texts by looking at about 104 threatening, abusive, or defaming letters and texts.

The study finds that malicious forensic texts are quite similar to non-malicious professional letters: both text types on average are characterised by linguistic factors overtly expressing modality. Other findings include that threatening texts do in fact use more modal verbs than non-threatening ones (see the featured image), and, interestingly, that the level or narrativity of malicious texts depends on whether the harmful information in the text concerns the addressee or some other third party.

Interested in this topic? You can read the full version here. Interested in other work by Andrea Nini? Have a look at this Manchet post or Andrea’s website.

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