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Original scientific paper
Lucia Miškulin Saletović, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Centre for Croatian Studies, Zagreb
Gabrijela Kišiček, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb

 

Abstract

Forensic linguistics might be defined as a branch of applied linguistics interested primarily in the interaction among language, crime and the law. The term itself was coined by Svartvik in 1968. Initially, the growth and development of forensic linguistics was relatively slow. However, in the past 15 years there has been a significant growth in the frequency with which the courts in many countries have called on the expertise of linguists. Being a relatively new discipline, it has not yet been strictly defined which sub– disciplines belong to its ambit. Forensic discourse analysis is concerned with institutional discourse in a variety of legal settings and its intersection with lay and social meaning, including selection and use of grammar and vocabulary in certain legal genres. This paper deals with witness statements in litigation proceeding before municipal courts in Croatia and analyses their syntactical and lexical features in order to determine which functional style(s) they belong to. In the Croatian language, witness statements are characterized by a functional style hybridity, since they exhibit characteristics of the administrative and the conversational functional style. In some countries, such and similar analyses were carried out on larger corpora of witness statements in order to draw a style profile that enables observing inconsistencies that might be used as a clue in veracity analysis of witness statements and as an aid to investigation. In order to obtain a comprehensive image of the witness statement legal genre in the Croatian language, which could, among other things, be used as an indication in establishing veracity, a significantly larger corpora, as well as witness statements from various types of legal proceedings and various types of courts, should be collected and analysed.

 

Key words

witness statements, legal genres, administrative style, conversational style, forensic linguistics, Croatian

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