This book describes the (para)linguistic means used in English to be aggressive and offers a systematic theoretical account of aggressive discourse that integrates social psychology with speech act and prototype theories. It aims to identify the modes of expression that mark the presence of an aggressive intent; to propose a perlocutionarily enriched notion of aggressive force; to understand the relationship between intentions (illocutionary and perlocutionary), aggressiveness and emotions; and to highlight the non-reducibility of aggressiveness to impoliteness. Data collected from online UK forums, electronic (web) corpora and fictional sources was analysed using scales of aggressive prototypicality and intensity which were contructed to identify the most prototypical and intense aggressive members of each class of speech acts. Analysis of data shows that mental states are essential to verbal aggressiveness; that aggressiveenss is not only in the eye of the beholder but is also a property of speech acts; that the same (para)linguistic features may obtain different aggressive effects depending on speech act type; that aggressiveness (unlike impoliteness) can be involuntary and spiteful but not accidental and may coexist with (im)politeness.
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