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Diana Eades: Social inequality and language ideologies in the legal process

Wann 23.06.2009
von 14:15 bis 16:00
Wo Alte Universität, Raum 220
Teilnehmer öffentlich
Termin übernehmen vCal

Diana Eades, University of New England, Australia

Sociolinguistic research on language in the legal process reveals linguistic mechanisms through which power is exercised, for example in police interviews and courtroom hearings. Recently, attention has turned to the role of language ideologies in the complex relationships between structures (such as the legal system) and the agency of individuals and groups (particularly what people say). This talk will begin by outlining research on language ideologies in the legal process which relate to assumptions about language and understanding, and about linguistic difference. I will then focus on a discursive activity which is central to much of the legal process – storytelling and retelling – paying particular attention to the ideology of narrator authorship and the ideology of inconsistency. Using an example from my Australian work, I will trace the recontextualisation of part of a witness’s story from police interview to cross-examination, then to its evaluation in closing arguments and the judicial decision, as well as its representation in the print media. This example will lead to discussion about how language ideologies in the legal process work in the perpetuation of social inequality.