Probably the most distinctive and most widespread linguistic feature of legal talk is the question – in both interrogative and declarative form and across a range of forensic settings: emergency calls to the police (Drew and Walker, this volume), police interviews (Aldridge; Benneworth; Haworth; this volume), lawyer and client interactions (Kozin 2008) and examination and cross-examination in court (Ehrlich; Felton Rosulek; Heﬀer; this volume). Lay interactants are largely controlled by and at the mercy of questions from professionals in dyadic legal encounters: a caller to a 999 or 911 number; an interviewee in a police interview; a witness in a trial. Any examination of legal talk must therefore involve an analysis of what is accomplished interactionally through the use of questions, including accounting for the eﬀects of forensic questioning on the lay interactant. Syntactic and formal features of questioning are important aspects of any linguisticanalysis. However, our focus in this chapter is not merely on form, but on the pragmatic eﬀects of legal talk in two important interactional contexts: police interviews and criminal trials. Pragmatic, social and inferential meaning-making is signiﬁcant for both the institutional and the lay speaker, and what is done through questions and answers is particularly clear in cross-examination, as our ﬁrst example (1) from Brennan (1994) illustrates. This syntactically complex cross-examination question is directed to a child; embedded clauses are shown by the use of square brackets (our addition).
|Title of host publication||The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics|
|Editors||Malcolm Coulthard, Alison Johnson|
|Place of Publication||Abingdon & New York|
|Number of pages||16|
|ISBN (Print)||9780415463096, 9780415837231|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Mar 2010|
|Name||Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics|
Holt, E., & Johnson, A. (2010). Legal talk: Socio-pragmatic aspects of legal talk: police interviews and trial discourse. In M. Coulthard, & A. Johnson (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics (1 ed., pp. 21-36). (Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics). Abingdon & New York: Routledge.