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The Pragmatics of Blackmail in English and Iraqi-Arabic

Zainab Kadim Igaab
Published: 27 July 2021

Abstract: Verbal offences are language crimes that are committed by mere utterances of certain words or expressions whether they are accompanied by physical acts or not. One of those crimes is blackmail. This crime has been studied and compared legally but its linguistic aspect has not been given much attention. This study tries to emphasize this crime pragmatically and contrastively in English and Arabic. No study has shed light on such aspects concerning the study under investigation. The researcher has not found any previous related study to get a benefit from about this topic. There is an attempt to achieve the following aim which is shedding light on the similarities and differences in strategies of blackmail between English and Arabic in terms of speech act, implicature and impoliteness theories. The present study hypothesizes the following: English and Arabic are different from each other in expressing blackmail in terms of speech act theory, implicature and impoliteness. To support or refute the hypothesis of the study, data consisting of 20 complaints in English and Arabic were collected from Courts of Appeal in Iraq, Britain and the United States. They are analyzed in terms of an eclectic model. The results arrived at are: English and Arabic are different in blackmail in terms of the locutionary acts and illocutionary acts. Concerning impoliteness, the same strategies are applied to the verbal offence in both languages. As far as implicature is concerned, the two languages are different in blackmail.
Keywords: English / Arabic / blackmail / crimes / speech / model / languages / impoliteness / implicature / pragmatically

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