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Can You Answer the Question?

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Abstract:

This paper is an ethnographic study of the questioning discourse in Chinese criminal trials. Questioning in Chinese criminal courts takes on culture-specific forms and plays culture-specific functions. Situated in the Chinese cultural context, questioning is used to perform double culture-specific functions: to persuade defendants to confess in court and to educate the public and prevent crimes through its punitive force. The following patterns of questioning were rhetorically used to help the court achieve its persuasive goals: a) repeating key questions b) invalidating excuses or accounts c) asking unanswerable questions d) supplying answers and e) paraphrasing or restating defendants’ responses. Through evoking and enacting Chinese cultural values and norms, these patterns of questioning gain persuasive power and render questioning in Chinese criminal trials an interlocking process of accusing, invalidating, and shaming defendants with the goal of persuasion. After a brief literature review and a discussion of data collection and analysis methods, the paper describes in detail patterns of questioning in Chinese criminal trials that are used to obtain confession and remorse from defendants. Finally the deterrent function of the questioning discourse in Chinese cultural context is discussed.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

question (255), defend (160), answer (77), line (72), judg (64), prosecut (64), presid (61), ask (60), rule (59), q (53), excerpt (53), cultur (50), chines (49), respons (44), one (40), money (39), invalid (36), court (36), think (36), crimin (35), account (33),

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questioning, Chinese culture, communication, ethnography, persuasion, sequences of talk, criminal trials
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Name: International Communication Association
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http://www.icahdq.org


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MLA Citation:

Chang, Yanrong. "Can You Answer the Question?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p112197_index.html>

APA Citation:

Chang, Y. , 2003-05-27 "Can You Answer the Question?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p112197_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper is an ethnographic study of the questioning discourse in Chinese criminal trials. Questioning in Chinese criminal courts takes on culture-specific forms and plays culture-specific functions. Situated in the Chinese cultural context, questioning is used to perform double culture-specific functions: to persuade defendants to confess in court and to educate the public and prevent crimes through its punitive force. The following patterns of questioning were rhetorically used to help the court achieve its persuasive goals: a) repeating key questions b) invalidating excuses or accounts c) asking unanswerable questions d) supplying answers and e) paraphrasing or restating defendants’ responses. Through evoking and enacting Chinese cultural values and norms, these patterns of questioning gain persuasive power and render questioning in Chinese criminal trials an interlocking process of accusing, invalidating, and shaming defendants with the goal of persuasion. After a brief literature review and a discussion of data collection and analysis methods, the paper describes in detail patterns of questioning in Chinese criminal trials that are used to obtain confession and remorse from defendants. Finally the deterrent function of the questioning discourse in Chinese cultural context is discussed.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 28
Word count: 10092
Text sample:
1 Can You Answer the Question? --An Ethnographic Study of Questioning as a Culturally-Situated Persuasive Genre of Talk This paper is an ethnographic study of the questioning discourse in Chinese criminal trials. Questioning in Chinese criminal courts takes on culture-specific forms and plays culture-specific functions. It is not to obtain information as Danet and Kermish (1978) claimed that it was in American courts. 1 It is not to weaken or rebut respondents testimonies unlike what Drew (1990) concluded from
51-77). Norwood New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation. Spradley J. (1980). Participant observation. Holt Rinehart and Winston. Stygall G. (1994). Trial language: Differential discourse processing and discursive formation. Philadelphia: John Benjamin Publishing Company. Tannen D. (1978). The effect of expectations on conversation. Discourse Processes 1 203-209. Yu R. (1998). RuJia fa sixiang tonglun: Guangxi [Confucian Legal Thoughts: Guanxi]. Renmin Publishers. Zhang Z. (1999). Zhongxi falu wenhua bijiao yanjiu [A comparative study of Chinese and western legal culture]. Nanjing University Press.


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