1887
Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238

Abstract

Taking as a starting point a broad conception of metapragmatics (Lucy 1993), this study describes a wide range of reflexive elements in closing arguments of criminal trials, and on the basis of their habitual use by trial lawyers, it enquires about the general underlying function as part of the sociocultural practice (Bourdieu 1990). The corpus of was collected at twenty-two criminal trials observed and recorded by the researcher. Five kinds of metapragmatic indexes – from the maximally explicit to the implicit – are identified and analyzed in their interactional, situational and societal context: (1) performatives, which count as official acts by the trial lawyer, (2) formulations and other evaluations of speech, (3) descriptions of aspects of the sociocultural practice and allusions to the principles governing the event, (4) strategic descriptions of contextual conditions, which are exploited with group identity and relational effects, and (5) style. The analysis reveals that these metapragmatic features contextualize the communication as expressing a specific social capital, and at the same time, they contribute to define what does not count as legitimate practice. Apart from the specific effects of individual types of indexes, in closing arguments metapragmatic indexes basically function signaling that the social actor and the practice they are engaged in rightfully belong to the social field of the law.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/prag.18.2.01car
2008-01-01
2019-10-17
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Amsterdam, A. , and R. Hertz
    (1992) An analysis of closing arguments to a jury. New York Law School Law Review 37: 55-122.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Austin, J
    (1962) How to do things with words. Oxford: Clarendon.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bateson, G
    (1972 [1955]) A theory of play and fantasy. InSteps to an ecology of mind. New York: Ballantine, pp. 177-193.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bauman, R
    (2001) The ethnography of genre in a Mexican market: Form, function, variation. In P. Eckert & J. Rickford (eds.), Style and sociolinguistic variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 57-77.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bauman, R. , and C. Briggs
    (1990) Poetics and performance as critical perspectives on language and social life. Annual Review of Anthropology19: 59-88. doi: 10.1146/annurev.an.19.100190.000423
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.an.19.100190.000423 [Google Scholar]
  6. Bell, A
    (1984) Language style as audience design. Language in society13.2: 145-204. doi: 10.1017/S004740450001037X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S004740450001037X [Google Scholar]
  7. (2001) Back in style: Reworking audience design. In P. Eckert & J. Rickford (eds.), Style and sociolinguistic variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: pp. 139-169.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Briggs, C
    (1993) “I’m not just talking to the victims of oppression tonight – I’m talking to everybody”: Rhetorical authority in an African American Poetics of political engagement. Journal of narrative and life history3.1: 33-78.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Bourdieu, P
    (1977) Outline of a theory of practice. Tr. Richard Nice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511812507
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511812507 [Google Scholar]
  10. (1990) In other words: Essays toward a reflexive sociology. Tr. Matthew Adamson. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. (1998) Rethinking the State: Genesis and Structure of the Bureaucratic Field. Practical reason. On the theory of action. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 35-63. [orig. 1991, Sociological theory 12 (1)].
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Cameron, D
    (2004) Out of the bottle: The social life of metalanguage. In A. Jaworski , N. Coupland & D. Galasinski (eds.), Metalanguage. Social and ideological perspectives. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 311-321.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Carranza, I.E. , M.L. Rosenbaun , & C. Barreras
    (2001) Intertextualidad en la incorporación de declaraciones por su lectura. In C. Lista , M. I Bergoglio & M. Díaz de Landa (eds.), Cambio social y derecho: Debates y propuestas sociológicas en los inicios del siglo XXI. Córdoba: Editorial Triunfar, pp. 579-585.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Carranza, I.E
    (2003) Genre and Institution: Narrative temporality in final arguments. Narrative inquiry13.1: 41-69. doi: 10.1075/ni.13.1.02car
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ni.13.1.02car [Google Scholar]
  15. (2004) Discourse markers in the construction of the text, the activity, and the social relations: Evidence from courtroom discourse. In R. Márquez & M. E. Placencia (eds.), Current Trends in the Pragmatics of Spanish. Amsterdam/New York: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 203-227. doi: 10.1075/pbns.123.18car
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.123.18car [Google Scholar]
  16. (2006) Face, social practices, and ideologies in the courtroom. In M.E. Placencia & C. García (eds.), Research on politeness in the Spanish-speaking world. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 163-187.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. (2007) La ideología del texto verdadero. Páginas de Guarda . Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires2: 33-46.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Chouliaraki, L. , and N. Fairclough
    (1999) Discourse in late modernity. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Conley, J.M. , and W.O’Barr
    (1990) Rules and relationships. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Conley, J.M. , and O’Barr
    (1998) Just Words. Law, language and power. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Cotterill, J
    (1998) “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”: Metaphor and the O J Simpson criminal trial. Forensic linguistics5.2: 141-158.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. (2003) Language and power in court: A linguistic analysis of the O.J. Simpson Trial. Houndmills: Palgrave.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. (2004) Collocation, connotation, and courtroom semantics: Lawyers’ control of witness testimony through lexical negotiation. Applied linguistics25.4: 513-537. doi: 10.1093/applin/25.4.513
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/applin/25.4.513 [Google Scholar]
  24. Danet, B
    (1997) Speech, writing and performativity: An evolutionary view of the history of constitutive ritual. In B.-L. Gunnarson , P. Linell , & B. Nordberg , (eds.), The construction of professional discourse. London/New York: Longman, pp. 13-41.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Duranti, A
    (1996) Linguistic anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Eades, D
    (2006) Lexical struggle in court: Aboriginal Australians versus the state. Journal of Sociolinguistics10.2: 153-180. doi: 10.1111/j.1360‑6441.2006.00323.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-6441.2006.00323.x [Google Scholar]
  27. Gal, S. , and K. Woolard
    (1995) Constructing languages and publics: Authority and representation. Pragmatics5.2: 129-138.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Hanks, W
    (1996) Language and communicative practices. Boulder, CO: Westview.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Hobbs, P
    (2003) Is that what we’re here about? A lawyer’s use of impression management in a closing argument at trial. Discourse & Society14.3: 273-290.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Jacobson, R
    (1960) Closing statement: Linguistics and poetics. In T.A. Sebeok (ed.), Style in language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 350-377.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Jacquemet, M
    (1996) Credibility in court. Communicative practices in the Camorra trials. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Jaworski, A. , N. Coupland & D. Galasinski
    (eds.) (2004) Metalanguage. Social and ideological perspectives. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110907377
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/9783110907377 [Google Scholar]
  33. Lucy, J.A
    (1993) Reflexive language and the human disciplines. In J.A. Lucy (ed.), Reflexive Language. Reported speech and metapragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 9-32. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511621031.003
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511621031.003 [Google Scholar]
  34. Matoesian, G
    (1993) Reproducing Rape Domination through Talk in the Courtroom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. (2001) Law and the Language of Identity: Discourse in the William Kennedy Smith Rape Trial. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Mertz, E
    (1994) Legal language: Pragmatics, poetics, and social power. Annual Review of Anthropology. 23: 435-455. doi: 10.1146/annurev.an.23.100194.002251
    https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.an.23.100194.002251 [Google Scholar]
  37. (1998) Linguistic ideology and praxis in US law school classroom. In B. Shiefflin , K. Woolard , & P.V. Kroskrity (eds.), Language ideologies. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 140-162.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Preston, D.R
    (2004) Folk metalanguage. In A. Jaworsky , N. Coupland and D. Galasinski (eds.), Metalanguage. Social and ideological perspectives, pp. 75-101.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Silverstein, M
    (1993) Metapragmatic discourse and metapragmatic function. InReflexive languag, indirect discourse and metapragmatics. In J.A. Lucy (ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 33-58. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511621031.004
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511621031.004 [Google Scholar]
  40. Stygall, G
    (1994) Trial language. Differential discourse processing and discursive formation. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. doi: 10.1075/pbns.26
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/pbns.26 [Google Scholar]
  41. Tiersma, P
    (1999) Legal language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Verschueren, J
    (1999) Understanding pragmatics. London: Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. (2000) Notes on the role of metapragmatic awareness in language use. Pragmatics10.4: 439-456.
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/prag.18.2.01car
Loading
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Closing arguments , Courtroom discourse , Law , Metapragmatics , Social field and Social practice
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error