Volume 8, Issue 3
  • ISSN 2210-4119
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4127
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There are certain areas where present-day studies of language use can learn from history. Using a dialogue-analytic approach, this study investigates dialogic features and interpersonal management in the early English courtroom. Drawing upon a corpus of 81 opening statements from the (1759–1799), the quantitative and qualitative analysis reveals that this courtroom action game is highly dialogic and that an active jury was significantly presupposed in this particular historical setting. The lawyers consistently endeavored to solicit solidarity and in-groupness through pronominal choices, and to argumentatively negotiate agreement and secure consent through directives, shared knowledge markers, asides, and questions. The findings testify to the central role of dialogism and interpersonal negotiation in historical courtroom action games.


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