Certainty and Uncertainty in Dialogue
  • ISSN 2210-4119
  • E-ISSN: 2210-4127
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This paper presents an analysis of the forms and functions that a normal conversational strategy like hedging can assume in an institutionalized form of discourse — in this case, the courtroom, and particularly, in a specific juridical text-type: the cross-examination of the victim-witness in a rape trial. The study aims to show principally how the defence attorney of the accused exploits the hedging strategies of the female victim-witness in order to discredit her testimony and thereby win the case for the defence. By so doing, the argumentation will make two theoretical points. The first point is disciplinary, in that it will demonstrate the powerful contribution of the language sciences to the identification and unveiling of social injustice. The second point is ideological, in that it will show how some areas of Anglo-American institutions continue to reflect a social tendency towards leniency in the face of violence against women.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): critical discourse analysis; gender; hedging; judicial discourse; rape trials
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