Linguistic features of Cyberbullying

Proceedings of The International Conference on Advanced Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2019


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Linguistic features of Cyberbullying

Tan Kim Hua, Bahiyah Abd Hamid, Shahidatul Maslina Mat So’od



Cyberbullying is basically bullying perpetrated on electronic or social media. This form of bullying is often overlooked and yet, it can be just as damaging as face-to-face bullying. This paper proposes a study on provocative linguistic features used in online bullying among Malaysian youths. Significant keywords or phrases used by tertiary level Malaysian students who have had the experience of being cyberbullied or have bullied others or are merely bystanders in social media platforms are elicited. Data collection comes in two phases; the first is through a survey using the BuLI questionnaire while the second involves analysing streamed data from Twitter using Twitter API and R statistical software. The analysis of the data adopted here is a corpus-based approach to identify Keyword in Context and clusters to indicate frequency and significance of usage. Themes are deduced using SPSS Statistics 23 and this is complemented with qualitative interpretation. Initial results pointed towards indications of linguistic categories of insult in relation to intelligence, physical appearance and worthiness. The linguistic realizations of these categories of bullying are a mixed code of Malay and English with innovative, marked (unusual) words and phrases that have crept into the lexicon of online insults. The preferred terms that are used are also uniquely related to the cultural concept of face‘ in the Malay culture.

Keywords: Bully, Corpus, Key Word, Perpetrators, Social Media.