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The Language of Murder CasesIntentionality, Predisposition, and Voluntariness$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199354832

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199354832.001.0001

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Analyzing Murder Law Terminology and Evidence

Analyzing Murder Law Terminology and Evidence

Chapter:
(p.44) 3 Analyzing Murder Law Terminology and Evidence
Source:
The Language of Murder Cases
Author(s):

Roger W. Shuy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199354832.003.0003

This chapter describes the way effective linguistic analysis deals with the entire body of language evidence rather than relying only on the commonly assumed “smoking gun” evidence. It advocates an analytical sequence that starts with identifying the speech event, which limits what kind and amount of information may be introduced then finding language evidence of the speakers’ schemas, agendas (topics introduced and responses to the topics introduced by others), speech acts that occur within those agendas, conversational strategies used by the participants before finally addressing the smaller units of language such as the sentences, phrases, and words where the smoking gun evidence often is assumed to be found. The police interview speech event and the courtroom testimony speech event are then discussed in detail, showing how schemas, agendas, and speech acts play a crucial role.

Keywords:   analytical sequence, speech event, schema, agenda, speech act, conversational strategies, smoking guns

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