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Intimidation, Versatile Wide-Coverage Taints, Semantic Polarity and Semantic Association as Elements Facilitating Religious Persuasion
Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för utbildning, kultur och kommunikation.
2013 (English)In: Language and Communication Quarterly, ISSN 2168-7633, Vol. 2, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fear occupies an undeniable portion of our lives and in most cases represents an incentive and driving force underlying our acts. The paper looks into discursive practices of generating fear through direct intimidation and by overemphasizing and/or fabricating versatile wide-coverage taints (reader’s/listener’s imperfections and flaws) deployed for the purpose of inducing feelings of guilt and insufficiency. It also tackles the issue of semantic polarity (juxtaposing two stylistically more or less identical but semantically opposing blocks of text) discussing its impact on the message recipient and the concepts it endeavors to establish in them in order to influence their future choices and conduct. Attention is also paid to semantic association, which proves to be another intimidating technique frequently utilized in religious discourse to supercharge selected lexical items with the meanings the writer/speaker purposefully attaches to these, thereby exploiting excessive signification (in the Saussurean sense) to achieve their intended persuasive effect.

The paper, which is based on the author’s research and analysis of a corpus of religious texts, illustrates the individual phenomena by presenting examples selected from sources used by several denominations and religious movements (Christians, Latter-Day Saints, Jehova’s Witnesses, Satanists, Scientologists, etc.). Besides, it statistically maps the distribution of direct intimidation and versatile wide-coverage taints segments across these sources and points out the recent trends in persuasive mechanisms deployed to induce a change of individual’s opinion and/or behavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Niagara Falls, New York, USA: Untested Ideas Research Center , 2013. Vol. 2, no 1
Keyword [en]
persuasion, religious discourse, fear induction, semantic polarity, semantic association
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20336OAI: diva2:675450
Available from: 2012-12-05 Created: 2013-12-03 Last updated: 2013-12-20Bibliographically approved

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Dvorak, Martin
General Language Studies and Linguistics

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