Who’s responsible? Cover Image

Kes vastutab?
Who’s responsible?

The Linguistic construction of participants in traffic accidents.

Author(s): Katrin Aava
Subject(s): Sociolinguistics
Published by: Eesti Rakenduslingvistika Ühing (ERÜ)
Keywords: critical discourse analysis; framing; viewpoint; traffic reports

Summary/Abstract: Reports on traffic accidents carry societal meanings and judgements about the value of human life, role and responsibility of all parties and who is to be blamed. Critical discourse analysis used in this research is a method that allows to detect such hidden meanings of societal agreements and interpretations encoded in texts. To exemplify how the roles of different parties are construed in traffic news, were analysed 26 police reports about traffic accidents that happened on crossroads in October and November 2013. To find out how such framing influences readers in interpreting the text, were questioned 104 respondents. The text analysis showed that traffic news stories are being framed through the driver’s viewpoint and attention is drawn to the pedestrian’s mistakes (lack of a reflector, dark clothing). Traffic reports are phrased in such a way that accidents happen, their active participants are cars which hit pedestrians and pedestrians who are hit by cars. The questionnaire revealed that the more emphasis is put on the factors that distracted the driver, the more readers perceive pedestrians as responsible for the accident.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 11
  • Page Range: 7-19
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Estonian