ERIC Number: ED198699
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Syntactic Variation in Judges' Use of Language.
Philips, Susan B.
The specific concern in this study is to consider the nature, social significance, and consequences of syntactic variation in the question forms used by judges when taking guilty pleas from criminal defendents. Nine judges from a court of general jurisdiction in Arizona were observed and tape-recorded while presiding over several procedures that involve the judge talking a great deal. The particular data presented here involved the change of plea. Generally, it was observed that topics were handled in a variety of syntactic procedures, and that the most legally significant portions varied least. At the same time, there was variation among the judges in their handling of the same procedure. It appears that the choice of question form made by the judge has considerable patterned and predictable effect on the sequential structure of the discourse that follows. The type of factual basis resulting from one tactic rather than the other may have been quite deliberately intended by the judge, although the choice of one question form over another might have been unconscious. The analysis of these discourse events suggests the possibility of establishing a correlation between syntactic variation in question form with both general social dimensions and dimensions that are specific to the particular institutional context in which individuals are engaged in interaction. (AMH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.