Metapragmatics of Administering Justice in Russian and English Judicial Discourse

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This paper is intended as a contribution to a body of research on metapragmatics in courtroom settings, particularly in Russian and English judicial discourse, and presents the results of functional analysis of metapragmatic elements. In the article, I claim that meta-utterances are inherent in judicial discourse and perform specific functions that are essential for practising judicial power and discretion in court as well as administering justice. The paper discusses functions of meta-utterances as they are presented in recent scholarship and offers a three-group classification of metapragmatic elements in judicial discourse, according to the types of reality distinguished in (Gibbons 2003). The first group contributes to constructing the primary reality, i.e. the reality of the courtroom; the second group assists in framing the secondary reality, i.e. the reality of the crime or misdemeanor; the third group deals with framing the legal reality. Altogether, these groups of metapragmatic elements construct an organizational frame for the trial. Data for the analysis are drawn from a few trial transcripts of modern Russian and English cases (1998-2008). By using Russian and English data for the analysis, it is demonstrated that the principal functions of judicial meta-utterances are marked by parallelism in Russian and English, while minor differences discovered are related to some other pragmatic categories, e.g. politeness, that are more nationally and culturally specific.

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Tatyana V Dubrovskaya

Penza State University

40 Krasnaya str., Penza, Russia, 440000


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