We investigated language used in accounts given by defendants, victims and witnesses in the courtroom. on the basis of recent work on the psychological implications of different categories of interpersonal terms (Semin & Fiedler, 1988; Fiedler & Semin, 1988), it was hypothesised that people would fulfill the specific requirements of courtroom interactive settings by adopting mainly concrete and descriptive linguistic repertoires. it was also hypohesised that eople would utilize different levels of abstractedness as a function of type of trial, speaker's role, and target person. the sample consisted of 20 separation and 20 illtreatment cases, which were processed in civil and criminal court of justice in Milan. texts of evidences presented both by contenders to the case and by two witnesses were analysed using Semin & Fiedler's Linguistic Category Model. results show hat descriptive action verbs were predominantly used. However, usage of linguistic categories with different degree of abstractness varied systematically as a function of the independent varables under consideration. in criminal trials there was a less frequent usage of descriptive action verbs in comparison to civil trials. both contenders and witnesses used interpretive action verbs more frequently when the defendant was the target person, thus implicitly attributing to him the responsibility for the action. reciprocal attribution of responsibility emerged in the accounts given by contenders only at the highest level of abstraction, i.e., usage of adjectives.
|Titolo tradotto del contributo||[Autom. eng. transl.] Reports of conduct in judicial statements: analysis of linguistic repertoires|
|Numero di pagine||22|
|Rivista||Giornale Italiano di Psicologia|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 1991|
- action verb
- judicial cases
- linguistic category model