Quotation Gillings, Mathew. 2021. The metapragmatics and discourse of hypocrisy: how do people talk about 'word-deed misalignment'? 17th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA), Winterthur, Switzerland, 29.06.21.




Generally speaking, deception is considered to be a negative act, with Grice (1975) identifying truthfulness (through the quality maxim) as part of what it takes to be a cooperative speaker. However, Vrij (2008: 12) argues that lying is ‘a social lubricant’, going as far as to suggest that we ‘often like the company of people who lie frequently’. One potential reason for this perceptual disparity is because so many different types of deception exist; they are governed by the individual speaker, receiver, and context around the communicative event. This, too, is what makes hypocrisy (also referred to as word-deed misalignment) so tricky to model. Researchers from a range of disciplines have explored various forms of deception - white lies, falsifications, distortions, concealments, etc. However, the study of hypocrisy is still in its infancy: there have been efforts to study its cognitive realisation (Fried and Aronson, 1995) and to theorise it (Wieting, 2015; albeit from a non-pragmatic perspective), and scholars within organisational studies have made a first step towards an interactional model (Effron et al., 2018), which helps to understand its subjective nature. This paper aims to achieve two main objectives: (1) consider how hypocrisy fits into other theories of deception; and (2) consider how hypocrisy is discussed in natural language. The rationale, here, being that if speakers are discussing hypocrisy, this can provide clues as to what is considered prototypical. To do this, I will take a corpus-led approach and search for instances of the lemma hypocrite within the Times Online 2000s corpus. By reviewing how people characterise hypocrisy metapragmatically, we can begin to explore how it fits into wider theoretical frameworks.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title The metapragmatics and discourse of hypocrisy: how do people talk about 'word-deed misalignment'?
Event 17th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA)
Year 2021
Date 29.06.21
Country Switzerland
Location Winterthur


Gillings, Mathew (Details)
Institute for English Business Communication (Mautner) (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
6604 Applied linguistics (Details)
6611 Linguistics (Details)
6623 Sociolinguistics (Details)
6633 Computational linguistics (Details)
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