The Use of Mental Spaces in Conceptualization of Hate Speeches

Keywords: Mental Spaces, Conceptualization, Hate Speeches, language


This study examines language use in the Facebook status updates of subscribers to determine how human perception or mental images are used to conceptualize statements or utterances as hate speeches. The research, thus, studies the Mental Spaces Theory as a cognitive linguistic model suitable for investigating such derogatory utterances among interlocutors in an emotionally charged context of utterance. In the data analysis, the research found out that the conversation that ensued depicts the feelings of disaffection among the interlocutors. This was triggered by provocative and counter-provocative statements they made against one another’s in-groups. The result indicates that a fundamental factor that is sensitive in every speech situation is how the addressee/receiver perceives and interprets an utterance made by his fellow speaker, using the base space which is the shared assumptions between them, and the space builders which are the neural motor transmitters in his brain that inform his perception and interpretation of the speaker’s utterance. Whether or not his perception holds truth is not shared with the speaker. So, rather than viewing the slur language that ensued as hate speeches, it should be seen as the reflection of the assumptions each interlocutor holds against the other on account of the different ethnic nationalities, religious or political affiliations.


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Author Biographies


Nasarawa State University, Keffi Nigeria


Nigerian Army University Biu, Nigeria


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How to Cite
RAJ, S., & USMAN, A. (2021). The Use of Mental Spaces in Conceptualization of Hate Speeches. GPH-International Journal of Social Science and Humanities Research, 4(05), 12-21. Retrieved from