Jones, Lisa (2014) Explaining turn-taking constraints using a traditional conversation analysis approach in cross-examination courtroom interaction. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

A Conversation Analysis (CA) approach is used to analyse the interactional practices of question-answer frameworks used in the courtroom case of ‘The Murder Trial’ whereby cameras were allowed in the High Court in Edinburgh to capture a trial in its entirety.
Talk in the courtroom comes under a sub-heading of institutionalised talk, whereby courtroom
“interaction is merely a neutral medium through which attorneys, witnesses, judges, and jurors determine what the facts are and how the law applies” (Heritage & Clayman, 2010, p.173). This linguistic and sequential pattern of interaction showcases the court’s own dynamic structures and rules that bring about turn-taking constraints that are embedded within the talk to construct individualised goals of guilt or innocence.
This paper investigates the defence lawyer’s cross-examination questioning techniques which are addressed to the witness by looking at transitions in speakership between turn-taking constraints to see how agendas are designed, and in turn project a constraining answer from the witness in the institutionalised order of question-answer phenomena, (Atkinson & Drew, 1979; Drew, 2002). For example, the witness is allowed little or no flexibility in giving their evidence; instead they are inhibited and guided by institutionalised frameworks, (Atkinson & Drew, 1979; Danet & Bogoch, 1980; Drew, 1992; Heritage & Clayman, 2010; Matoesian, 1993).
Heritage & Clayman, (2010), suggest that “talk alone does not make verdicts of guilt or innocence determinative”, (p.185), yet demonstrates how talk needs to instead be invoked and analysed to see how such language practices shape the decisions of what is talked about and how it serves to shape the conversational goal of each interlocutor.

ljonesfinalthesis.pdf - Submitted Version

Download (902kB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email