Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Hedging in the twentieth century court room: The impact of occupational prestige and gender
by Conte Herse, Vanessa, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2015, 120; 1602760
Abstract (Summary)

The effects of time and occupational prestige measured in this study had more of an impact than gender on how often witnesses hedged on the stand. A corpus of transcripts from 1893 to 2013 was assembled to test the variables of time, gender and occupational prestige on witnesses’ production of hedge constructions (e.g., I think, sort of). Results showed no significant differences between female and male hedge production over this 120-year period, yet significant differences were found in the production of phrases between earlier and later testimonies. Furthermore, a significant correlation was found between hedge production and occupational prestige. The more prestigious a witness’s occupation, the fewer hedges s/he used. These findings support previous research that suggests a similarity between female and male speech in other genres of discourse and emphasizes social and environmental factors as areas worthy of deeper investigation for the contextual assessment of function in language.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hall, Nancy
Commitee: Kumpf, Lorraine, Lord, Carol
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Linguistics
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 55/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Gender studies
Keywords: Gender, Hedge phrases, Historical linguistics, Legal language, Occupational prestige, Testimony language
Publication Number: 1602760
ISBN: 9781339186979
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