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‘”You keep telling us different things, what do we believe?”: Meta-communication and meta-representation in police interviews

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@article{621f4e823f0b412dbf222214075d5136,
title = "{\textquoteleft}”You keep telling us different things, what do we believe?”: Meta-communication and meta-representation in police interviews",
abstract = "Quotation and reflective interpretation of previous statements are common features in police interviews. Of particular importance is the uncovering of apparent contradictions between earlier and current responses in interviews of suspects. Conflicting statements can be used by officers as triggers to elicit new responses that explain inconsistencies. In linguistic pragmatics, such reflective commenting on utterances is categorized as metacommunication, i.e. {\textquoteleft}communication about communication{\textquoteright}, which includes metarepresentation, i.e. second-order representation of another representation through some form of quotation. Such instances of metacommunication are key-instances of negotiating the communicative interests of its chief participants, which in a suspect interviews consist on the one hand in the interviewers{\textquoteright} purpose of establishing grounds for a potential criminal charge and, on the other hand, the interviewee{\textquoteright}s interest in avoiding such a charge. This article analyses exemplary cases of metacommunication in multilingual police interviews from the perspective of quotation pragmatics. The results suggest that police interview training should pay special attention to this area in order to optimise cognitive results.",
keywords = "quotation, police interview, pragmatics, face theory, rapport, cognitive interview",
author = "Andreas Musolff",
year = "2019",
month = may,
day = "28",
doi = "10.1075/ps.00014.mus",
language = "English",
volume = "10",
pages = "32--48",
journal = "Pragmatics and Society",
issn = "1878-9714",
publisher = "John Benjamins",
number = "1",

}

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TY - JOUR

T1 - ‘”You keep telling us different things, what do we believe?”

T2 - Meta-communication and meta-representation in police interviews

AU - Musolff, Andreas

PY - 2019/5/28

Y1 - 2019/5/28

N2 - Quotation and reflective interpretation of previous statements are common features in police interviews. Of particular importance is the uncovering of apparent contradictions between earlier and current responses in interviews of suspects. Conflicting statements can be used by officers as triggers to elicit new responses that explain inconsistencies. In linguistic pragmatics, such reflective commenting on utterances is categorized as metacommunication, i.e. ‘communication about communication’, which includes metarepresentation, i.e. second-order representation of another representation through some form of quotation. Such instances of metacommunication are key-instances of negotiating the communicative interests of its chief participants, which in a suspect interviews consist on the one hand in the interviewers’ purpose of establishing grounds for a potential criminal charge and, on the other hand, the interviewee’s interest in avoiding such a charge. This article analyses exemplary cases of metacommunication in multilingual police interviews from the perspective of quotation pragmatics. The results suggest that police interview training should pay special attention to this area in order to optimise cognitive results.

AB - Quotation and reflective interpretation of previous statements are common features in police interviews. Of particular importance is the uncovering of apparent contradictions between earlier and current responses in interviews of suspects. Conflicting statements can be used by officers as triggers to elicit new responses that explain inconsistencies. In linguistic pragmatics, such reflective commenting on utterances is categorized as metacommunication, i.e. ‘communication about communication’, which includes metarepresentation, i.e. second-order representation of another representation through some form of quotation. Such instances of metacommunication are key-instances of negotiating the communicative interests of its chief participants, which in a suspect interviews consist on the one hand in the interviewers’ purpose of establishing grounds for a potential criminal charge and, on the other hand, the interviewee’s interest in avoiding such a charge. This article analyses exemplary cases of metacommunication in multilingual police interviews from the perspective of quotation pragmatics. The results suggest that police interview training should pay special attention to this area in order to optimise cognitive results.

KW - quotation

KW - police interview

KW - pragmatics

KW - face theory

KW - rapport

KW - cognitive interview

U2 - 10.1075/ps.00014.mus

DO - 10.1075/ps.00014.mus

M3 - Article

VL - 10

SP - 32

EP - 48

JO - Pragmatics and Society

JF - Pragmatics and Society

SN - 1878-9714

IS - 1

ER -

ID: 158619807