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Deceptive Ambiguity by Police and Prosecutors$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190669898

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190669898.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Deceptive Ambiguity by Police and Prosecutors

Roger W. Shuy

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the important concepts of intentionality, ambiguity, deception, institutional power, and the discourse context in the context of the Inverted Pyramid approach in order to reveal the deceptive ambiguity used by police, prosecutors, undercover agents, and complainants in the fifteen criminal cases described in the following chapters. The Inverted Pyramid is a heuristic for analyzing continuous conversation. This chapter introduces and defines the elements of the Inverted Pyramid, noting that it is most useful to begin analysis of criminal case language evidence with the largest language element, the speech event, followed in descending order with the increasingly smaller language elements of the participants’ schemas, their individual agendas (as revealed by topics and responses), their speech acts, conversational strategies used by law representatives of the government, and the lexicon and grammar, which is the language element in which the alleged smoking gun evidence commonly is thought to reside).

Keywords:   power, intentionality, ambiguity, deception, Inverted Pyramid, speech event, schema, agenda, speech acts, conversational strategies

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