Chapter published in:Diachronic Developments in English News Discourse
Edited by Minna Palander-Collin, Maura Ratia and Irma Taavitsainen
[Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics 6] 2017
► pp. 199–216
The public identity of Jack the Ripper in late nineteenth-century British newspapers
The article studies evaluative language in 200 newspaper articles from the latter half of 1888, focusing on the five canonical Ripper murders. The aim is to study terms used to refer to the Ripper and his murders on the basis of the parameters of intensity, solidarity, and objectivity. This pilot study discusses how in the newspapers the public identity of Jack the Ripper was ultimately developed from a plain perpetrator into a murderous maniac capable of monstrous deeds. The findings indicate that an increase in intensity seems to be linked to a decrease in both solidarity and objectivity. Thus, negative evaluation was increasingly used and person reference to the Ripper changed towards extreme negativity over a relatively short period of time.
Keywords: Referential terms, evaluation, news language, criminals, nineteenth-century Britain, historical sociopragmatics
Published online: 29 August 2017
Casebook: Jack the Ripper
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Mayr, Andrea & David Machin
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White, Peter R.R.
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Cited by 3 other publications
Nevala, Minna & Arja Nurmi
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