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Discourse Studies – Ways and Crossroads

Insights into Cultural, Diachronic and Genre Issues in the Discipline


Edited By Karolina Bros and Grzegorz Kowalski

The volume brings together papers emerging from the GlobE conference (University of Warsaw). The authors explore major topics in Discourse Studies, offering insights into the field’s theoretical foundations and discussing the results of its empirical applications. The book integrates different lines of research in Discourse Studies as undertaken at academic centres Europe-wide and beyond. In this diversity, the editors identify certain dominant lines of study, including (new) media discourse, political discourse in the age of social/digital media, or professional discourse in globalized workplace contexts. At the same time, the volume shows that Discourse Studies not only investigate emerging language phenomena, but also critically reassess research issues formerly addressed.

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Cultural and linguistic heterogeneity in courtroom discourse: Diverse methods of witness examination in criminal trials (Grażyna Anna Bednarek)


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Grażyna Anna Bednarek

Faculty of Medicine, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland

Cultural and linguistic heterogeneity in courtroom discourse: Diverse methods of witness examination in criminal trials

Abstract: Dedicated to courtroom discourse, the present paper concentrates on the linguistic representation of the inquisitorial and adversarial procedures of witness examination in criminal trials under two entirely disparate legal systems – Civil Law and Common Law, respectively – as an instantiation of cultural and linguistic heterogeneity in courtroom discourse, as well as two dissimilar ways of communicating among legal professionals in courts.1 This article sheds new light on courtroom discourse by providing a systematic and comprehensive comparative analysis of the modus operandi of witness examination under Common Law and Civil Law. Most previous works on courtroom discourse focused on the use of language in courtroom interaction within one legal system only, namely that of the Common Law, either in the United States of America, or the United Kingdom. Often the resulting picture of courtroom discourse suggested that the use of language in court throughout the world would be similar. This, however, is not at all true, because legal systems are divided by profound dissimilarities. These, in turn, affect the use of language in courtroom interaction to a great extent, which makes each courtroom discourse a phenomenon sui generis, a distinctive example of a linguistic genre.

1. Introduction

The language that lawyers use to articulate, endorse and interpret law differs from...

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