Uncivil Twitter : A sociopragmatic analysis

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

9 Scopus Citations
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  • Marina Terkourafi
  • Iftikhar Haider
  • Farzad Karimzad
  • Jeriel Melgares
  • Cristina Mostacero-Pinilla
  • Julie Nelson
  • Benjamin Weissman


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-57
Journal / PublicationJournal of Language Aggression and Conflict
Issue number1
Online published2 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Using four tweets by Steven Salaita about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that resulted in the retraction of his academic job offer in September 2014 as our case study, we investigate the role of Twitter in the shaping and reception of the controversial messages. Our analysis combines Gricean pragmatics with im/politeness and hate-speech research to reveal a complex layering of potential meanings stemming from what is linguistically encoded in each tweet. Their construal as hate speech, in particular, depends on which of these potential meanings critics chose to focus upon. We account for this finding by considering the diversity of potential audiences of a tweet and suggest that the effects of context collapse on implicated meanings can be especially detrimental. Competition for attention among incoming tweets, Twitter's central affiliative function and applicable length restrictions can, nevertheless, place a premium on communicating such meanings.

Research Area(s)

  • Context collapse, Freedom of speech, Hate speech, Implicatures, Impoliteness, Language aggression

Bibliographic Note

Full text of this publication does not contain sufficient affiliation information. With consent from the author(s) concerned, the Research Unit(s) information for this record is based on the existing academic department affiliation of the author(s).

Citation Format(s)

Uncivil Twitter : A sociopragmatic analysis. / Terkourafi, Marina; Catedral, Lydia; Haider, Iftikhar; Karimzad, Farzad; Melgares, Jeriel; Mostacero-Pinilla, Cristina; Nelson, Julie; Weissman, Benjamin.

In: Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2018, p. 26-57.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review