At The Conversation: Annabelle Lukin gives Mark Zuckerberg’s apology the thumbs down
Annabelle takes a linguistic look at Zuckerberg’s apology, analysing statements like “I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
Here are some of her conclusions on this statement:
“In fact, Zuckerberg is using a lovely linguistic trick, a grammatical option called ‘middle voice’ which you shouldn’t fall for. In the grammar of middle voice, an event is construed as if it happens under its own steam. No-one has responsibility for it taking place.
Hypothetically, imagine he said ‘I’m responsible because I didn’t disclose the company’s complicity in the theft of people’s private data’. This is a frank acknowledgement.
But instead, Zuckerberg says he’s responsible for ‘what happens’. But ‘what happens’, like the expression ‘shit happens’, makes it seem like things happened without anyone, like Zuckerberg, actually doing anything.”
Read more here.
Content owner: Department of Linguistics Last updated: 18 Mar 2020 9:04am