By William M. O'Barr
With the permission of a North Carolina courtroom, greater than one hundred fifty hours of court docket speech have been recorded for this learn. those tapes supplied a wealthy archive for a number of sorts of inquiry, together with the ethnography of court speech and social mental experiments inquisitive about results of alternative modes of proposing info in courts of legislation. 4 units of linguistic variables and similar experimental stories have constituted a massive part of the examine: (1) "powerful" as opposed to "powerless" speech; (2) hypercorrect as opposed to formal speech; (3) narrative as opposed to fragmented testimony, and (4) simultaneous speech by way of witnesses and attorneys. All 4 units of reviews concentrate on the primary query of value of shape over content material of testimony
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Additional resources for Linguistic Evidence. Language, Power, and Strategy in the Courtroom
T h e question, " A b o u t h o w fast w e r e the cars going w h e n they smashed into each o t h e r ? " elicited higher estimates of speed than q u e s t i o n s using the verbs collided, bumped, contacted, or hit in place of smashed. Q u e s t i o n s of the form " D i d you see the b r o k e n headl i g h t ? " as o p p o s e d to " D i d you see a b r o k e n h e a d l i g h t ? " e n c o u r a g e d experimental subjects to say " y e s " m o r e frequently (Loftus 1974:118). T h u s , t h e s e studies and others reported in Loftus (1979) provide imp o r t a n t e v i d e n c e a b o u t the significance of language and behavior in legal processes.
N o w that w e h a v e reviewed s o m e of the advice offered in trial practice m a n u a l s , w e turn to the b a s e s for these claims about what w o r k s , h o w , and w h y . In every c a s e , the a n s w e r is the s a m e — e x p e r i e n c e . But this is not to be minimized, for the a u t h o r s of t h e s e manuals are a m o n g the most successful trial lawyers in A m e r i c a . T h e y win m a n y , or m o s t , of their c a s e s , and their opinions are w o r t h y of attention.
When the urge arises to go all the way, remember, "coitus interruptus isn't half b a d " [Jeans 1975:325]. T o be effective, lawyers are also offered a great deal of advice about their o w n verbal behavior. T h e following is a highly selective list of s o m e of this advice contained in the trial practice m a n u a l s . 1. PERSONALIZE YOUR OWN WITNESS; DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM AN OPPO- SITION WITNESS. 8 F o r e x a m p l e , Bailey and Rothblatt ( 1 9 7 1 : 1 2 6 ) suggest Linton (1965) contains an interesting discussion of this topic.
Linguistic Evidence. Language, Power, and Strategy in the Courtroom by William M. O'Barr