Quotation Gillings, Mathew. 2019. Exploring exclusivisers in deceptive communication using corpus methods. Lancaster-Ghent Symposium: Grammar in Focus II, Ghent, Belgium, 10.05.




Research from the field of psychology has suggested that there are significant differences between the language of a truth teller and a liar, and investigating these differences in more detail may point towards cues to deception. Exclusivisers (e.g. but, except, or without), are one such category which has been identified as a potential way in to investigating deceptive discourse. However, there is an inconsistency within the field, with some research suggesting an increase in exclusivisers indicates deception (McQuaid et al., 2015; Archer and Lansley, 2015) with others suggesting the opposite, claiming fewer exclusivisers indicates deception (Newman et al. 2003). Some have even found no difference at all (Toma and Hancock, 2012). Using a corpus of 125,473 words, I investigate exclusiviser usage (identified using the USAS semantic tagger) across truthful and deceptive interviews. Whilst it is clear that exclusivisers are significantly more frequent in deceptive interviews, a frequency breakdown indicates that this is almost solely due to the word just appearing. Further analysis suggests that the word just is being used by deceivers as a stalling technique or as a form of hedging, and it appears that the inconsistencies across previous research is due to how this word is classified. This talk therefore offers a nuanced insight into exclusiviser usage, advocating the need to consider context before publishing results at face value.


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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 Exploring exclusivisers in deceptive communication using corpus methods
Event Lancaster-Ghent Symposium: Grammar in Focus II
Year 2019
Date 10.05
Country Belgium
Location Ghent


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