INSULTS IN LITHUANIA`S POLITICAL DISCOURSE AND LIABILITY FOR INSULT

Eglė Žurauskaitė, Evaldas Klimas

Abstract


The purpose of this article is to present research on insults in Lithuania`s political discourse. The goal of this research was to identify what types of insults are characteristic of Lithuania’s political discourse, i.e. verbal or nonverbal, direct or contextual, describing personal the addressee`s qualities or describing the addresser`s social environment etc. The data for this research was collected from 14 broadcastings of “Tautos aikštė” in the 2012-2013 season, and the qualitative and quantitative content analysis method was used in order to analyze collected data. Before analyzing collected data theoretical framework was presented: insults in this research are defined as texts, produced by analyzed discourse authors, which are expressed because of their connections with emotions (e. g. anger, discontent), their illocutionary force is to humiliate the addressee`s honor and dignity and addressee recognizes this illocutionary force ar face threatening a speech act. In other words, perlocution happens.
After analyzing collected data using the qualitative content analysis method 149 insults were found and almost all of them verbal – only one insult was nonverbal, so verbal insults dominate in Lithuania’s political discourse. All insults were grouped in two categories: direct and contextual insults. It must be also said that three levels of insults` directness were found: verbal – based, nonverbal – based and discourse – based directness. The research on insults in Lithuania`s political discourse also revealed that analyzed discourse authors use most insults oriented towards the addressee`s beliefs and only several insults were found oriented toward the addressee`s appearance. It reveals that the participants of political discourse are mostly concerned about their beliefs as their face value. Under the legal acts and jurisprudence, liability can be imposed for information that is not aimed at informing society but insulting a person by damaging their reputation by humiliating the person’s honor and dignity. The analyzed examples show that legal liability may be applied under indicated cases, but insults were tolerated and this consequently may be viewed as a lack of good manners in political discourse.

Keywords


political discourse, insult, liability, honor and dignity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SMS-17-9-1-06

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236