Framework for Analysis of Mitigation in Courts
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MARINA DEL REY CA INST FOR CREATIVE TECHNOLOGIES
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This paper presents an activity-based framework for empirical discourse analysis of mitigation in public environments such as Swedish and Bulgarian courtroom examinations. Mitigation is defined as a pragmatic, cognitive and linguistic behavior the main purpose of which is reduction of vulnerability. The suggested framework consists of mitigation processes, which involve mitigating argumentation lines, defense moves, and communicative acts. The functions of mitigation are described in terms of the participants actions and goals separately from politeness strategies. The conclusions and observations address two things issues related to the pragmatic theory of communication -- especially mitigation -- and issues related to the trial as a social activity. For instance, non-turntaking confirmations by examiners are often followed by volunteered utterances, which in some cases may be examples of rehearsed testimonies. At the same time the witnesses tendency to volunteer information, even on the behalf of their own credibility, indicates that they also favor pro-party testimonies. Despite the objective judicial role of the prosecutor or judge andor despite the examiners accommodating style the verbal behavior of the witnesses exhibits constant anticipation of danger.
- Sociology and Law