Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Discourse in monolingual and bilingual non-trial hearings
by Lavin, Erin Elizabeth, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2015, 349; 3716711
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation adopts an integrated approach to the analysis of discourse practices in non-trial criminal hearings for English- and Spanish-speaking defendants in the state of Indiana, U.S.A. Prior research on courtroom discourse has focused primarily on interactions in trial hearings. However, criminal charges are very rarely disposed of through trial proceedings, and their disproportionate representation in discourse literature has left many gaps in our understanding of the courtroom hearings that laypeople are most likely to encounter should criminal charges be brought against them. In addition, Indiana is a state that has undergone a rapid and recent demographic change that includes an increased population of Hispanic and Spanish-speaking residents. Interdisciplinary scholarship on discourse analysis can reveal processes through which speakers negotiate meaning and interpersonal relationships. Recent developments toward intercultural interaction (Kecskes, 2013) suggests that encounters between people with two different native languages, such as between Spanish-speaking defendants and English-speaking legal professionals in court, are likely to show somewhat different patterns of negotiating meaning and interpersonal relationships than interactions between native speakers of the same language. The objective of this dissertation is to identify discursive practices through which ‘interculturalty’ emerges in bilingual non-trial hearings.

The integrated approach to the analysis of spoken interaction in institutional settings used in this dissertation draws from theoretical and analytical models grounded in Conversation Analysis (Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, 1974), rapport management (Spencer-Oatey, 2000), speech act theory (Austin, 1962; Searle, 1969; Félix-Brasdefer, 2014); and intercultural pragmatics (Kecskes, 2013). This study analyzes interactional data in non-trial hearings that took place in a rural, and urban, and a suburban county in Indiana between 2007 and 2014. The findings indicate several points of convergence and divergence in the discourse practices of legal professionals as well as defendants with respect to conversational repair, features of intercultural and discourse pragmatics, facework, and im/politeness.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Felix-Brasdefer, J. Cesar
Commitee: Diaz-Campos, Manuel, Geeslin, Kimberly, Suslak, Daniel, Trix, Frances
School: Indiana University
Department: Spanish
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics
Keywords: Discourse pragmatics, Im/politeness, Institutional discourse, Intercultural interaction, Legal discourse, Spanish
Publication Number: 3716711
ISBN: 978-1-321-95883-6
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