Indah Maria Ulfa(1), Rohmani Nur Indah(2*)

(1) Universitas Islam Negeri Maulana Malik Ibrahim Malang, Indonesia
(2) Universitas Islam Negeri Maulana Malik Ibrahim Malang, Indonesia
(*) Corresponding Author


The brain of psychopaths may differ from normal individuals in terms of their cerebral organization of language. Psychopaths have a different way of communicating their ideas within their minds. There is a distinct technique of psychopathic language which can be identified. Therefore, this study examines the kinds of speech techniques of psychopaths. It aims at discovering the semantic and morphological techniques used by four psychopaths in the Dark Matter YouTube channel. Methodologically, this study is categorized as descriptive qualitative research. The data were in the form of utterances by four psychopaths in Dark Matter channel posted on October 10, 2019. There were sixteen data in the form of utterances which contained kinds of the speech technique used by psychopaths. The researchers calculated the data by observing, transcribing, describing, and analyzing the speech of psychopaths in the Dark Matter channel. Further, the data were classified by using Timor and Weiss (2008) patterns of psychopathic knowledge. The results showed that four psychopathic individuals demonstrated the kinds of speech technique, which has a distinct pattern using semantic and morphological techniques. Based on semantic technique, all categories found in the data are vocabulary, repetition, figurative language, positive and negative connotations, and anaphora. The result also shows three categories of morphological techniques: nominalization, passivization, and first-person plural. This study is expected to be a reference for further researcher for analyzing the phenomena of psychopathic language.


Keywords: semantic techniques, morphological technique, psychopathic language, psychopaths

Full Text:

PDF (PP. 152-166)


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1985). Clinical supervision in speech-language pathology and audiology. doi:10.1044/policy.PS1985-00220

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental diseases (DSM-IV). APA.

Au, R. (2008). Uncovering psychopaths: an automated linguistic approach. Cornell University.

BBC News. (2020, January 6). How the Manchester rapist found his victims.

Blair, J., Mitchell, D., & Blair, K. (2005). The psychopath: Emotion and the brain. Blackwell Publishing.

Blair, K. S., Richell, R. A., Mitchell, D. G. V., Leonard, A., Morton, J., & Blair, R. J. R. (2006). They know the words, but not the music: affective and semantic priming in individuals with psychopathy. Biological psychology, 73(2), 114-123.

Brites, J. (2016). The language of psychopaths: A systematic review. Aggression and violent behavior, 27, 50-54. DOI:10.1016/j.avb.2016.02.009

Brites, J., Ladera, V., Perea, V., & García, R. (2014). Verbal functions in psychopathy. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 59(14), 1536-1549. DOI: 10.1177/0306624X14545608.

Carroll, D. (2007). Psychology of language. Nelson Education.

Cleckley, H. (1964). The mask of sanity: An attempt to clarify some issues about the so-called psychopathic personality. Ravenio Books.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (4th ed.). SAGE publications.

Dark Matter. (2019) 4 Extremely Chilling Interview with Psychopaths.

Eichler, M. (1965). The application of verbal behavior analysis to the study of psychological defense mechanisms: Speech patterns associated with sociopathic behavior. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 141(6), 658-663.

Eisenbarth, H., Alpers, G. W., Conzelmann, A., Jacob, C. P., Weyers, P., & Pauli, P. (2008). Psychopathic traits in adult ADHD patients. Personality and Individual Differences, 45(6), 468-472.

Endres, J. (2004). The language of the psychopath: characteristics of prisoners' performance in a sentence completion test. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 14(3), 214-226.

Fernández, E. M., & Cairns, H. S. (2010). Fundamentals of psycholinguistics. John Wiley & Sons.

Field, J. (2003). Psycholinguistics. Psychology Press

Grant, V. W. (1977). The menacing stranger: A primer on the psychopath. Dabor Science Publications.

Hancock, J. T., Woodworth, M. T., & Porter, S. (2011). Hungry like the wolf: A word‐pattern analysis of the language of psychopaths. Legal and criminological psychology, 18(1), 102-114.


Hare, R. D., Williamson, S. E., & Harpur, T. J. (1988). Psychopathy and language. In Biological contributions to crime causation (pp. 68-92). Springer, Dordrecht.

Hare, R. D. (1999). Psychopathy as a risk factor for violence. Psychiatric Quarterly, 70(3), 181-197.

Hare, R. D. (2003). The Hare psychopathy checklist revised. Routledge

Hare, R. D., & Neumann, C. S. (2006). The PCL-R assessment of psychopathy. Handbook of psychopathy, 58-88.

Indah, R. N. Abdurrahman. 2008. Psikolinguistik, Konsep, & Isu Umum. UIN Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta Malang Press. Malang.

Indah, R. N. (2018). Teori-teori psikolinguistik.

Jalava, J., Griffiths, S., & Maraun, M. (2015). The myth of the born criminal: Psychopathy, neurobiology, and the creation of the modern degenerate. University of Toronto Press.

Loevinger, J. (1993). Measurement of personality: True or false. Psychological Inquiry, 4(1), 1-16.

Louth, S. M., Williamson, S., Alpert, M., Pouget, E. R., & Hare, R. D. (1998). Acoustic distinctions in the speech of male psychopaths. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 27(3), 375-384.

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Psychopath. In dictionary.

Nafiah, U. (2007). A Psycholinguistic study on Expressive Language Disorder of the Autistic Child in Mercury Rising Film. Thesis. UIN Maulana Malik Ibrahim Malang.

Patrick, C. J. (2007). Getting to the Heart of Psychopathy. In H. Hervé & J. C. Yuille (Eds.), The Psychopath: Theory, Research, and Practice (p. 207–252). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Patrick, C. J. (Ed.). (2018). Handbook of psychopathy. Guilford Publications.

Raharjo, M. (2010). Desain Penelitian Kualitatif dan Contoh Proses Penelitian Kualitatif. Universitas Islam Negeri Malang.

Rieber, R. W., & Vetter, H. (1994). The language of the psychopath. Journal of psycholinguistic research, 23(1), 1-28.

Simon, R. I. (2009). Bad men do what good men dream: A forensic psychiatrist illuminates the darker side of human behavior. American Psychiatric Pub.

The Guardian. (2020, January 6). Reynhard Sinaga jailed for life for raping dozens of men in Manchester.

Timor, U., & Weiss, J. M. (2008). Sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic indications of behavior disorders: analysis of a prisoner's discourse. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 52(1), 112-126. DOI: 10.1177/0306624X07300268.

Tirto id. (2020, January 7). Reynhard Sinaga, Pemerkosa Paling Jahat di Inggris dari Indonesia. Retrieved from

Venables, P. H., & Raine, A. (1987). Biological theory. Applying psychology to imprisonment. Theory and practice, 3-28.

Warren, P. (2013). Introducing psycholinguistics. Cambridge University Press.

Williamson, S. (1991). Cohesion and coherence in the speech of psychopathic criminals. Doctoral dissertation, University of British Columbia.



  • There are currently no refbacks.



CALL is indexed by:

 Moraref Dimensions Indexing One SearchWorld cat ROADCrossref  





Creative Commons License All Articles and Contents in CALL are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Creative Commons License




CALL, ISSN 2723-2417 (online)
English Literature, Faculty of Adab and Humanities, UIN Sunan Gunung Djati Bandung




View My Stats