Projecting (un)certainty

A text-world analysis of three statements from the Meredith Kercher murder case

Yufang Ho, Jane Lugea, Daniel McIntyre, Jing Wang, Zhijie Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article uses Text World Theory (Werth 1999; Gavins 2007) in conjunction with VUE (Visual Understanding Environment) concept mapping software to analyze three statements from the trial of Amanda Knox, who was charged (along with her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito) with the murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007. We compare the cognitive patterns (i.e. text-worlds) as reflected in Knox’s statements and use the insights gained to guide an examination of their individual linguistic features and associated potential legal implications. In the first two dictated statements, Knox is projected as an actor responsible for the reported actions/events that implicate her in the crime, whereas in the third statement (handwritten in English), she is projected as a senser, presenting more prominent epistemic uncertainty and indicating bewilderment. Further micro-level linguistic comparison indicates signs of textual alteration in the first two statements, i.e. crucial text was altered and thus resulted in a change of meaning and legal significance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-316
Number of pages32
JournalEnglish Text Construction
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2018

Fingerprint

homicide
linguistics
micro level
Murder
Certainty
offense
uncertainty
examination
event
Crime
Linguistic Features
Software
Uncertainty
Concept Mapping
Alteration

Cite this

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title = "Projecting (un)certainty: A text-world analysis of three statements from the Meredith Kercher murder case",
abstract = "This article uses Text World Theory (Werth 1999; Gavins 2007) in conjunction with VUE (Visual Understanding Environment) concept mapping software to analyze three statements from the trial of Amanda Knox, who was charged (along with her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito) with the murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007. We compare the cognitive patterns (i.e. text-worlds) as reflected in Knox’s statements and use the insights gained to guide an examination of their individual linguistic features and associated potential legal implications. In the first two dictated statements, Knox is projected as an actor responsible for the reported actions/events that implicate her in the crime, whereas in the third statement (handwritten in English), she is projected as a senser, presenting more prominent epistemic uncertainty and indicating bewilderment. Further micro-level linguistic comparison indicates signs of textual alteration in the first two statements, i.e. crucial text was altered and thus resulted in a change of meaning and legal significance.",
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Projecting (un)certainty : A text-world analysis of three statements from the Meredith Kercher murder case. / Ho, Yufang; Lugea, Jane; McIntyre, Daniel; Wang, Jing; Xu, Zhijie.

In: English Text Construction, Vol. 11, No. 2, 19.10.2018, p. 285-316.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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