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LINGUIST List 20.3092

Mon Sep 14 2009

Books: Discourse Analysis/Socioling/Applied Ling: Berk-Seligson

Editor for this issue: Hannah Morales <hannahlinguistlist.org>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.
        1.    Julia Ulrich, Coerced Confessions: Berk-Seligson

Message 1: Coerced Confessions: Berk-Seligson
Date: 09-Sep-2009
From: Julia Ulrich <julia.ulrichdegruyter.com>
Subject: Coerced Confessions: Berk-Seligson
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Title: Coerced Confessions
Subtitle: The Discourse of Bilingual Police Interrogations
Series Title: Language, Power and Social Process [LPSP] 25
Published: 2009
Publisher: Mouton de Gruyter

Book URL: http://degruyter.de/cont/fb/sk/detailEn.cfm?id=IS-9783110213485-1

Author: Susan Berk-Seligson
Electronic: ISBN: 9783110213492 Pages: 261 Price: U.S. $ 125.00 Comment: for orders placed in North America
Electronic: ISBN: 9783110213492 Pages: 261 Price: Europe EURO 112.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9783110213485 Pages: 261 Price: Europe EURO 99.95
Hardback: ISBN: 9783110213485 Pages: 261 Price: U.S. $ 125.00 Comment: for orders placed in North America

The book presents a discourse analysis of police interrogations involving
U.S. Hispanic suspects accused of crimes. The study is unique in that it
concentrates on interrogations involving suspects whose first language is
not English and police officers who have a rudimentary knowledge of
Spanish. It examines the pitfalls of using police officers as interpreters
at custodial interrogations.

Using an interactional sociolinguistic discourse analytical approach, the
book offers a microlinguistic examination of interrogations involving
persons accused of murder, child molestation, and kidnapping. Communication
difficulties are shown to arise from suspects' limited proficiency in
English and police officers' equally limited proficiency in Spanish,
coupled with the unwillingness of these officers to remain in interpreter
footing. The volume demonstrates how pidginization and asymmetrical
communicative accommodation can emerge in such situations of highly unequal
power relations. It also demonstrates how cultural factors such as
acquiescence to interlocutors of greater authority and higher socioeconomic
status can lead persons of certain Latin American backgrounds to engage in
"gratuitous concurrence", answering "yes" to police questions even when it
is clear that that these yes-tokens are not truly affirmative responses to
those questions. In addition, the book provides evidence of the kinds of
abuse that can result from police interrogations that are not
electronically recorded.

Coerced Confessions reviews appellate cases involving police interpreters
spanning a thirty-four-year period, and concludes that the Miranda rights
are placed in jeopardy when a police officer is assigned the role of
interpreter at a custodial interrogation.

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Spanish (spa)

Written In: English (eng )

See this book announcement on our website:

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