Volume 11, Issue 4 (2020)                   LRR 2020, 11(4): 391-418 | Back to browse issues page

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Najafi P, Haghbin F. Verbal Strategies in Interrogation Interaction (An Investigation in Legal Discourse). LRR 2020; 11 (4) :391-418
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-25448-en.html
1- PhD Candidate in General Linguistics, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
2- Associate Professor of Linguistics, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran , fhaghbin@alzahra.ac.ir
Abstract:   (2871 Views)
During the interrogation process and its discourse language contains certain characteristics that can be the source of many linguistic researches and studies. One of the most important issues that can be mentioned in the interrogation process is how to evolve the verbal communication by the interrogator in order to obtain the truth of the interrogee’s statements. In this regard, the interrogator uses strategies to advance the discourse in his/her own way. In analyzing the data, the participants in the interrogation interaction were divided into two groups of specialist and non-specialist. The first category are the people who are familiar with the law and the legal language and include the police, judge, lawyer, etc. On the other hand, the second group are people who are not familiar with the law (or at least have little familiarity), including the accused, the plaintiff. In the present essay, based on the corpus of ten litigation files and based on the analysis of the verbal interaction between the expert (judge) and the non-expert (the accused, the plaintiff), we attempted to extract the various strategies used by the interrogator. The strategies include question formulation, use of repeated questions, quotation clauses, contrast,the use of the phrase "khob" as a discourse maker and interruption.
1. Introduction
In a simple definition forensic linguistics is an attempt to explore the way relationships between people in legal contexts are constructed through language. What we are dealing with in forensic linguistics in general is the analysis of legal writing or legal talk. The present study focuses on legal talk in interrogation, specifically questioning in trial. In the present study we examined the interrogation process, which includes the strategies that the interrogator uses during the interrogation process to obtain answers to his questions and to discover the truth. Based on the issues raised, the present study seeks to answer the following questions:
 1. What strategies does the interrogator use to obtain the truth in the interrogation process?
2. What is the formal and pragmatic representation of the questions during the interrogation process?
2. Literature Review
Holt and Johnson (2010) study the socio-pragmatic aspects of legal talk: police interviews and trial discourse. They believe that reporting, contrasting, formulating and repeating are at the heart of the process of formulating the facts of the legal story in trials and police interviews. Their use produces important fact-making moments that distil and encode a version of reality, which play an important part in the legal case: an authorized-authoritative version.
Momeni (2012) show how linguistic analysis can help to identify language crime especially when there are no clear available proofs or documents. As she points out language crime is accompanied with speech acts like lying, threatening bribery. After observing numerous cases in courts and police stations (Bureau of Police Investigation), the author chose data which included “lies” and analyzed it in two ways. First, “defendants’ statements” and second “power relation” are analyzed. The author draws this conclusion that linguistics strategies like semantic tools (schema, frame, verb meaning), syntactic tools (mood of verb), discoursal tools (power relation) … can be effective to identify and analyze language crimes. Perjury/lie is considered as a crime in both courts and Bureau of Police Investigation. Analyzing all language crimes in one article is not possible; therefore, the author analyzes just one which is perjury/lie.
Momeni and Azizi (2015) study the role of topic shift and violence of Grice Principles in interrogation. They show the role of changing the subject and violation of Grice cooperative principles in interrogations. That is, the accused seeks to prolong the duration of the investigation or provide incomplete information to the interrogator officer which consistently violates these strategies. On the other hand, the legal context and power relations do not allow the accused to change the subject according to his own desire or give irrelevant answers constantly. If this happens, it can be concluded that the accused tried to mislead the interrogator in linguistic terms. This research is a fieldwork study. After tens of observations of interrogations recorded in Tehran Police Bureau, the real samples were selected, classified and studied. The authors introduce these principles and demonstrate their use in interrogations.
 Razavian and Jalil,(2018) study the “spoken features of the robbery defendants in court”. They try to obtain spoken features of robbery defendants in order to provide a unique conversation of thieves in detection of crimes. The authors are trying to describe and explain speech of robbery defendants in Semnan province judicial system from the perspective of Forensic Linguistics. The results show that the robbery defendants by using many linguistic principles such as high modality, activism deletion, infelicitous utterance, illocutionary act try to gain interrogators confidence. Investigation of lawsuits details show that robbery defendants in their defenses use linguistic principles differently. In particular, they use in their speech modality for 29%, contradictions for 16%, activism deletion for 14%, presupposition for 10%, speech acts for 3%, implicature for 1% and middle voice construction for 0/5%. Results suggest that attention to features and elegances of language like low modality, contradiction in speech, activism deletion, presupposition, implicature; middle voice construction and Gricean Cooperative Principles can help investigators and judges at crime detection. The other researches that concerns language in legal discourse in Iran are as follows: Rowshan & Behboudi (2009), Momeni (2011), Momeni & Azizi (2011).
3. Methodology
This research is a fieldwork study. The present study is based on a speech record of a total of 189 minutes of conversation recording of the interrogation process of ten cases in two branches of the Shiraz Public Prosecutor's Office. After tens of observations of interrogations recorded, the real samples were selected, classified and studied.
                                                                    4. Results and Discussion
By analyzing the data we found that the interrogator uses specific and repetitive strategies, and this pattern is present in all cases. Accordingly, we extract and categorize the strategies which include question formulation, use of repeated questions, quotation clauses, contrast, the use of the phrase "khob" as a discourse maker marker and interruption. The results show that all four strategies proposed in the views of Holt and Johnson (2010) included the formulation, repetition of the question, quotation, and contrast palys central role in the interrogation discourse. Also, the authors have found three strategies: "khob" as a discourse maker marker, interruption, and the second type of question repetition to these strategies.
6. Conclusion
While the formal approaches to the study of language pay attention to the formal aspects of language, the functional-oriented theories focus on language use as a means of communication and its application in different contexts. In the present article, an attempt was made to study another practical aspect of language in the (specifically) judicial and legal context. To achieve this, the authors chose the interrogation process in the prosecutor's office and explored the strategies used in the interrogation process by the expert (interrogator) and non-expert (defendant, plaintiff, etc.). One of the main strategies in this process is the questions” both in formal and pragmatic aspects. Based on the body of the interrogation process of ten cases in two branches of the Public Prosecutor's Office, the authors evaluated the questions raised by the judge and concluded that all four strategies proposed in the views of Holt and Johnson (2010) are used by interrogator. They are question formulation, repeated questions, quotation clauses and contrast, and also, the authors have added three strategies of "khob" as a discourse maker marker, interruption. It should be noted that the discourse of interrogation has many different dimensions and aspects, both in terms of form and function, which requires deeper and broader research in the field of justice.
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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Linguistics
Published: 2020/10/1

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