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The Language of Defamation Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391329

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391329.001.0001

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Optometrists vs. Ophthalmologists

Optometrists vs. Ophthalmologists

(p.121) 8 Optometrists vs. Ophthalmologists
The Language of Defamation Cases

Roger W. Shuy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A dispute began when Tennessee optometrists tried to get their state legislature to grant them the right to prescribe therapeutic drugs for their patients. The state's ophthalmologists objected strenuously, and commissioned a report on the status of optometry. That report led the optometrists to bring a defamation lawsuit against the ophthalmologists. A linguistic analysis of this report highlighted the writer's heavy use of accusations, pejorative terms, conveyed meanings, exaggerations, overgeneralizations, ambiguity and vagueness. In addition it address the defendants' claim that the report was the writer's opinion, not factual.

Keywords:   accusation, pejorative terms, conveyed meaning, ambiguity, opinion

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