Backstory: I was hanging out at the parent's house while my younger brother had a small party with friends, I was not living there at the time. Completely bored out of my mind I hid in my little sister's room for a while but eventually had to find food. As I entered the living room I could see my brother on the couch with a girl on his lap. Immediately I went up to her and in the most pissed off way possible said to her "What are you doing with my boyfriend!". The room fell silent and her eyes widened in abject terror. She actually shrunk back. After about 10 seconds I told everyone I was joking and just the older sister. This is probably my favorite act of sibling abuse to date though I look forward to topping it.
The Threatening Function of Language: ‘What are you doing with my boyfriend?’ Sociolinguistics is the study of the interrelationship of language and social structure. Language has a social and a communicative function and is a kind of social behavior. It can be used to establish or reinforce social relationships or to control the behavior of other people (manipulation). In the context of my question to my brother’s friend who I will call Chlamydia*, my underlying meaning was that of ‘I am going to beat your ass in front of all these people if you don’t get off his lap, bitch.’ I of course knew that this was a threatening way of asking a very innocuous question and did it simply for the reaction. A warning was also implied in an attempt to control her behavior and even more subtly the behavior of everyone in the living room by getting them to watch us. I consider this Skilled Work as it is a respected ability and not many people could perform so well under that kind of pressure.
*not her real name though could possibly be.
Classifier Predicate: A girl sitting on my brother’s lap. A Classifier is a handshape that is combined with location, orientation, movement, handshape and non-manual markers to form a predicate. A predicate is a way of saying things about nouns or noun phrases,. Classifier predicates have two parts, the Movement Roots and the Classifier Handshapes. In this example, the Movement Root is a Contact Root. The hand has a downward movement but this doesn’t mean that the object is moving or that you are describing the shape of the object/person. The Classifier Handshape is a Whole Entity Morpheme. These are handshapes that refer to an object as a whole: my brother and the girl, Chlamydia. In combination, you can see my description of my brother with Chlamydia sitting on his lap.