A Socio-Pragmatic Analysis of the Prisoners’ Interactional Role and Representation
In its double focus on the defendants’ interactional role in the trial and their representation in Royalist accounts, the book offers a valuable reading for historical courtroom linguists, legal historians and researchers in the field of language, ideology and political propaganda in the early modern period.
Part one - The interactional role of defendants in 17th-century trial texts
Part one The interactional role of defendants in 17th-century trial texts Chapter 2 Defendants and professionals: verbal duelling in the arraignment section4 2.1 Object and aims of the analysis Trial proceedings begin with the reading of the charge to the de- fendant who is then called and ordered to plead. This introduc- tory phase of the trial is known as the arraignment section and consists of a protocol of adjacency pairs where the judge requires prisoners first to answer to their charge and second to state by which authority they will be tried. The preferred seconds expected from the defendants are institutionally fixed: either “guilty” or “not guilty” (to the former require) and “By God and the Coun- try”, meaning the jury (to the latter). This apparently simple and linear procedure was not immune from objections and disputes in the 17th century. Coke CJ, writing in 1628, observed that “more jangling and questions grow upon the manner of pleading, and exceptions to form, than upon the matter itself, and infinite causes [are] lost or delayed for want of good pleading” (Baker 1990: 102). There were cases in fact in which prisoners deliberately deviated from normative behaviour and ven- tured into a set of dispreferred seconds in the form of requests and – to a lesser extent – requires. The pragmatic distinction between requests and requires was first drawn by Archer (2005, 2006). In 4 This chapter is a revised and extended version of an article of mine entitled “Power confrontation and verbal...
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