X Close

Language of Voice Hearing


Research at the UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics


Second publication from Power, Control and the Language of Voice-hearing

By Zsofia Demjen, on 8 July 2020

The second paper emerging from the Power, Control and the Language of  Voice-hearing project is finally out in the form of a books chapter in Demjén, Z. (ed) (2020) Applying Linguistics in Illness and Healthcare Contexts. London: Bloomsbury.

The chapter, “One gives bad compliments about me, and the other one is telling me to do things” – (Im)Politeness and power in reported interactions between voice-hearers and their voices by myself, Agnes Marszalek, Elena Semino and Filippo Varese, explores the (im)politeness phenomena at play in constructing the relationship between voice and hearer, including relative power. We link different patterns of (im)politeness, especially on the part of the voice to different levels of distress experienced by voice-hearers. The chapter shows that impoliteness in particular can be one of the ways in which the voices exercise control over the hearers, thereby limiting how they can live their lives. We suggest that therapeutic practice should continue to encourage voice hearers to think of the interactions with voices as interactions with other people, and to use certain type of politeness strategies to alter the nature of their relationships.

Leave a Reply