20 May 2022
12:15  - 13:45

On site

Englisches Seminar, Uni Basel

Gastvorlesung / Vortrag

Self-praise speech act: corpus-based approach

Prof. Dr. Daria Dayter, Tampere University Guest Lecture on Zoom on Friday, 20th May 2022, 12:15–13:45 (CEST)

Self-praise (or bragging, boasting, self-enhancement) is a speech act that explicitly or implicitly gives credit to the speaker for some attribute or possession which is positively valued by the speaker and the potential audience (Dayter 2016, 65). This means that illocutionary as well as perlocutionary effects of the speech act are predictable, and the linguistic manifestations of the perlocution (expressions of delight and praise) can be used to locate the relevant conversational portions in the corpus.

Although earlier studies often claimed that self-praise is a censured behaviour (Pomerantz 1978), digital communication studies have shown that self-promotion is acceptable and even desired in certain online contexts (Ellison et al. 2006, Matley 2018). This, however, has been assumed to be the result of some special conditions in e-language that cause the fundamental self-praise constraint to be suspended. In the default setting, the speech act of self-praise presumably is face-threatening and disruptive and can only occur when certain conditions prevail, for example, when a disclaimer #humblebrag is provided.

However, in a series of studies of online platforms such as Twitter and WhatsApp, I demonstrated that self-praise is seldom the marked behaviour that receives censure in conversation. More commonly, it is an unmarked behaviour that is a part of an everyday speech act repertoire. The present talk will report the results of these studies, focusing on how expressions of perlocution can be used in corpus queries. Moreover, I suggest that the existing claims about self-praise’s censured status could be explained through a combination of intuitive assumptions carried over from the influential studies of the pre-corpus era, and the retrieval methods that targeted the modified self-praise.

If you would like to ask more questions to this guest lecture, please contact Dr. Thomas Messerli.

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