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The Interrogator and the Interrogated: The Questioning Process in Philippine Courtroom Discourse

Marilu Rañosa-Madrunio

Date of publication:

December 31, 2013

Courtroom interaction in judicial settings differs from ordinary conversational discourse in that it is based on institutional modes of talk. As such, it is the lawyer that controls the topic and decides who can talk and when the question and answer exchange may commence and end. This paper investigates the questioning process in Philippine courtrooms, specifically the typology and structure of the lawyers‟ questions and the turn-taking system between the interrogator and the interrogated that show how power is enacted and legitimated in the discourse genre of direct and cross-examinations. Selected court proceedings served as corpus of the study. Most of the materials were sourced from RTC Branch 80 in Malolos City in the Philippine province of Bulacan, which is classified as a Special Court for Drug Cases. The court was included in a pilot project conducted by the Committee on Linguistic Concerns of the Supreme Court of the Philippines in 2008 which directed the use of Filipino in courtroom proceedings.

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