Xixiang Zhao

Thesis Working Title: Conflictual Interactions on Twitter

Supervisor: Professor Bettina Migge

Biography: I am a second-year Ph.D. student in the School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics at UCD. I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Japanese Language and Literature at Shandong University in China, and then completed my Master’s Degree in Linguistics at University College Dublin. My research interests include sociolinguistics, computer-mediated communication,
conflictual interaction, hate speech, conversation analysis, and (im)politeness study.

Thesis Summary: Twitter not only provides users with a huge amount of information, but also floods with substantial unharmonious language phenomena, which might negatively affect users’ physical and mental health. Hate speech is one of these unharmonious language uses to express hatred towards a certain social group with shared or imagined characteristics (e.g., gender, ethnicity, race, believes, religion and stereotypes), which has raised popular and academic concerns. Moreover, unharmonious expressions may derive from conflictual interactions to state different views on the same thing, but the aim at the outset is not to discriminate against people. However, conflictual interactions in CMC have not received much attention from linguists. Thus, I have chosen to address this research gap by investigating conflictual interactions on Twitter. While it will be impossible to give an exhaustive overview of conflictual practices on Twitter, this study will examine such interactions in a range of Twitter contexts/genres. The aim is to better understand the specific characteristics, the formation, development and overall distribution and prevalence of conflictual interactions on Twitter, and to provide some theoretical support for the detection and management of online conflict in the future.