As if to say, kind of: courtroom talk not in the record. A case study of court proceedings with an asylum applicant

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In this study, I pay attention to the linguistic means that weaken the effect of an asylum applicant’s speech at the court. I focus on selected words implying doubt, uncertainty, assumption, or presumption. The case study presents the partial results of the ethnographic research that took place at the hearings with the asylum applicants in 2015-2018 at the Regional Court in Bratislava. I pay attention to the linguistic practices which significantly influenced atmosphere of a hearing: the applicant was not aware of the expressions which were adjoined to his speech and weakened his argumentation. These expressions were not part of the official record. I interpret the linguistic means of identity construction at courts in accordance to the anthropological and sociolinguistic works of Diana Eades, Anthony Good, Katrijn Maryns, and Susan Philips. In a broader context, I also make use of Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of production and reproduction of legitimate language.


language, court, asylum applicants

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