Diacronia 13, June 13, 2021, art. A183 (p. 1–12)

Insults – between dysphemisms and markers of emotional closeness

Roxana Pașca


Faculty of Letters, Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, North University Centre, Str. Victoriei 76, 430122 Baia Mare, Romania


Received June 26, 2021
Accepted July 6, 2021
Published August 18, 2021

Key words

relevance theory
classification of insults


The present investigative approach proposes an analysis of insults from a socio-, psycho- and pragmalinguistic perspective, aiming to reveal the complex character of this type of communication.

Given that insults, as reactive acts of speech, are dependent on both the intentions of the speaker and the way the receiver decodes the statement, we suggested a classification based on the illocutionary point (motivated insults—with negative or positive illocutionary point—and unmotivated insults) and on the propositional content (direct insults—within this category, we analyzed the lexical innovations generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially the dysphemic use of the participle (substantivized) adjective covidat—and indirect insults).

Although the oral communication provides the necessary data for the manifestation of insults, in addition to the sequences selected from TV shows, we chose messages written on various social networking sites and excerpts from online forums. Under the protection of anonymity, users are uninhibited and they violate socially imposed linguistic norms without fear of being held accountable for their actions.


  • Full text (in English; 12 p., 233 KB)
  • 6 references and 0 citations in BDD
  • Export citation
    Text:Pașca, R. (2021). Insults – between dysphemisms and markers of emotional closeness, Diacronia 13 (August 18), A183 (1–12),
     author = {Roxana Pașca},
     title = {Insults – between dysphemisms and markers of emotional closeness},
     journal = {Diacronia},
     ISSN = {2393-1140},
     year = {2021},
     month = {August},
     number = {13},
     eid = {A183},
     doi = {},
     pages = "(1–12)",
     url = {}


© 2021 The Authors. Publishing rights belong to the Journal. The article is freely accessible under the terms and conditions of the CC-BY Open Access licence.

Statistics (RO/EN/Total)

  • Views (this page): 482 / 443 / 925

  • Downloads (full text): 738 / 633 / 1371