Threatening Language and Freedom of Speech Discussion Chapter

Pages: 3 (963 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Communication - Language

¶ … threatening language and its link to actual acts of violence has helped us reach some conclusions which will be discussed in this section as results of our study. Our extensive literature review shows that threatening language, unless proven to cause harm to someone, is protected by first amendment under freedom of speech clause. However once threatening language leads to psychological or physical harm, it can be sued and seen as a criminal act. Our initial question was about what composes threatening language and later we studied levels of escalation and how it leads to violent actions. We shall now present a brief review of what we have found and see how it relates to some of the theories of linguistics we mentioned earlier in the paper.

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Threatening language is difficult to ascertain because it can range from shouting at someone in a regular fashion in a regular setting or it can be very detailed and graphic saying what a person would do in case the target doesn't comply with their order. Usually it is not easy even for the law enforcement to pin point what actually is threatening language and what kind of threatening language would lead to violent actions. Courts in the U.S. have thus established their own definitions of what constitutes threatening language but there is no standard definition. However they use the reasonability test which means if a reasonable person sees a certain communication as violent or threatening then it is considered to be a threat.

TOPIC: Discussion Chapter on Threatening Language & Freedom of Speech Assignment

During the course of threatening communication, there are some levels achieved and it is important to see how the communication is escalating or de-escalating. In case of de-escalation, it means there is a milder tone with each new message or communication and aggressor is turning favorable towards the target or due to some factor has decided not to threaten anymore. However it is escalation which is more important to study because this is what can lead to violent actions. Within threatening communication are clear signs of escalation for someone who is looking for them. First comes the point where a threat in made and is called posturing. This is for example when a person says, "if you report this action, I will come and get you." This sounds threatening but is the first step where aggressor is showing intent. The next step is when it gets more graphic like when the same aggressor says, "you didn't listen to me, did you. I will wait for you outside your workplace and beat the hell out of you." This leads to the actual act of violence. These are the levels of escalation within threatening communication.

In order to be able to determine levels of escalation, we need to study the language carefully to see which level has been achieved with latest communication. Some theories of linguistics may help a person determine if… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Threatening Language and Freedom of Speech" Discussion Chapter in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Threatening Language and Freedom of Speech.  (2010, December 27).  Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Threatening Language and Freedom of Speech."  27 December 2010.  Web.  1 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Threatening Language and Freedom of Speech."  December 27, 2010.  Accessed December 1, 2021.