Transformation of the Speech Act of Insult in the Rap Battles

2020. № 4, 28-41


The article explores the confl ict potential of a speech act of insult in rap battles. The goal is to show the features of achieving the perlocutionary effect of insult in rap battles, using the analysis of addressers’ speech
strategies. The scientists of the Siberian Association of linguists offer the method of the pragmatic analysis of speech acts and comparing rappers’ invective statements with the models of the speech act of insult. This method allows to reveal the transformation of the speech act of insult in rap battles. It has been revealed that when a speech act of insult is placed in the game speech environment, such as a rap battle, the act becomes a social, network phenomenon, suggesting the “quasi-creativity” of the postmodern nature. An insult is used as a catalyser for discussion. Invective vocabulary is used for expressing the emotional state of the author, for stating that the rapper has an opposing view and escalating a conflict with an opponent. Insults in rap-battles imply using such speech strategies as discrimination, discreditation and insinuation in order to besmirch and undermine the opponent’s reputation and to demonstrate predominance. The article reveals the most frequent speech means, which provoke a conflict in rap battles. They include obscene words, antisemitic and nationalist insults, zoosemantic metaphors and personal affronts. The article discusses other tendencies of virtual speech environment development, the basis of which is verbal assault. In the rap community the invective speech act is transformed and is perceived by the interlocutors casually. The insult, which has overstepped the boundaries of a particular community, changes its intention.

For citation:

Somova L. A. Transformation of the Speech Act of Insult in the Rap Battles. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2020. No. 4. Pp. 28–41. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170010733-5.