Decoding verbal bullying through speech acts in the song “Half breed”


Stavridi, Asimina


University of Athens, Oulof Palme, Zografou, 15772, Athens, Greece


In the research below, we investigate the connection between Linguistics and Psychology. The theories of speech acts and of cooperative principles are cooperating with the Rosenthal effect and the phenomenon of Verbal Abuse/Bullying. We examine those aspects in the song “Half Breed” by the American singer Cher. Speech acts and the cooperative principle explain the importance of the positivity or negativity that an utterance carries and examine the impact that they have over their recipient’s behavior through a linguistic perspective. The song we investigate has plenty of examples of verbal racistic abuse, a phenomenon not rare in the society of today. The way in which those two scientific fields are cooperating, reveals many important relations between the two points of theoretical view. In that way, it is shown that the Speech Acts and the field of Linguistic Pragmatics in general, can be a useful tool in a framework of solving problems not only in the language but also outside of it. The need for cooperation between the social sciences appears strong because each of them can examine crucial problems, such as the detecting of racist verbal bullying in a text, in a different and complementary way.


pragmatics; speech acts; cooperative principle; verbal abuse; Rosenthal effect

Publication Date

December 30, 2020


Volume 7, Issue 2

Citation information

Stavridi, Asimina. 2020. “Decoding verbal bullying through speech acts in the song ‘Half breed’.” Language. Text. Society 7 (2).


author = {Stavridi, Asimina},
title = {Decoding verbal bullying through speech acts in the song “Half breed”},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
year = {2020},
issn = {2687-0487},
number = {2},
volume = {7},
url = {},


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