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“cause ur special”: Understanding trust and complimenting behaviour in online grooming discourse / Nuria Lorenzo-Dus; Cristina Izura

Journal of Pragmatics, Volume: 112, Pages: 68 - 82

Swansea University Author: Izura, Cristina

DOI (Published version): 10.1016/j.pragma.2017.01.004

Abstract

Online Grooming is a communicative process used by adults to develop an intimate relationship with a youngsters with the aim of sexually abuse her/him. Despite its unquestionable relevance, research into online grooming is scarce, especially from a linguistic perspective. Our study examines online g...

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Published in: Journal of Pragmatics
Published: 2017
Online Access: http://Online Grooming is the process whereby an adult gains the trust of a minor in order to exploit him/her, through the use of cyber-technology. Despite a global increase in online sexual exploitation, research into online grooming is scant, especially from a linguistic perspective. Our study examines online groomers’ attempts at gaining their targets’ trust through compliments. This focus is justified by the fact that, although praise is known to be used regularly in online and offline grooming, its linguistic realisation via the speech act of complimenting has not been analysed to date. We analyse the topics, syntactic realisation patterns and discourse functions of a corpus of 1268 compliments extracted from 68 online grooming interactions. The results point to (1) a prevalence of compliments about physical appearance, of both a sexual and a non-sexual orientation, which increases alongside speed of grooming; (2) high syntactic formulaicity levels regardless of speed of grooming; and (3) use of compliments to frame and support online grooming processes that seek to isolate the targets, provide the online groomers’ with sexual gratification and enable them to gauge the targets’ compliance levels. Overall, the results both provide new insights into the speech act of complimenting from a hitherto unexamined communicative context and contribute to understanding the communicative process of online grooming.
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa33691
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Abstract: Online Grooming is a communicative process used by adults to develop an intimate relationship with a youngsters with the aim of sexually abuse her/him. Despite its unquestionable relevance, research into online grooming is scarce, especially from a linguistic perspective. Our study examines online groomers’ attempts at gaining their targets’ trust through the use of flattery. We analysed the themes, syntactic realisation patterns and discourse functions of a corpus of 1268 compliments extracted from 68 online grooming interactions. The results indicate (1) a prevalence of compliments about physical appearance, of both a sexual and a non-sexual orientation, which increases alongside speed of grooming; (2) high syntactic formulaicity levels regardless of speed of grooming; and (3) use of compliments to frame and support online grooming processes that seek to isolate the targets, provide the online groomers’ with sexual gratification and enable them to gauge the targets’ compliance levels.
Keywords: Online Grooming; Compliments;
College: College of Human and Health Sciences
Start Page: 68
End Page: 82