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Academic Paper


Title: The social consequences of language ideologies in courtroom cross-examination
Author: Diana Eades
Institution: University of New England
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Investigations of inequality within the courtroom have mostly examined ways in which discourse structure and rules of use constrain witnesses. This article goes beyond interactional practices to deal with four central language ideologies, which both facilitate these practices and impact on the interpretation and understanding of what people say in evidence. The article further shows that language ideologies can have much wider consequences beyond the courtroom. Focusing on language ideologies involved in storytelling and retelling in cross-examination, and using an Australian example, the article traces the recontextualization of part of a witness's story from an initial investigative interview to cross-examination, then to its evaluation in closing arguments and the judicial decision, as well as its (mis)representation in the print media. The analysis reveals the role of these language ideologies in the perpetuation of neocolonial control over Australian Aboriginal people. (Language ideologies, courtroom talk, cross-examination, decontextualization, recontextualization, neocolonial control, Australia)

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This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 41, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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