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English a-level language investigation! Need Help! watch

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    Hi, I am currently just beginning A2 and i have decided to do my language investigation on language and power in a courtroom, my transcript is based on the cross examination of the oscar pistorius case. What should i write about? I have no idea!
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    As a starter:
    Types of question - open or closed? Do they change during the cross-examination? Expect to find a lot of closed questions as lawyers try to pressure witnesses to say things that they would rather avoid. Look at the answers too, especially in respect of Grice's Maxims. Do they provide the information that was requested. Responses tend to become shorter when the speaker is trying to hide something.
    Terms of address. When are titles used, surnames, first names?
    Power and turn-taking. Looking at overlaps is particularly revealing. Who yields the floor?
    Depending on the quality of the transcript could you look at hesitations, false starts, repetition.
    Euphemism. This was a particularly unpleasant murder. How do the various people involved refer to it? Does Pistorius try to avoid using words like 'murder' or 'kill'.
    Affective language - do the prosecution lawyers select words particularly for their emotional impact?

    Overall it would probably be best to select two or three sections to compare in detail. For example, the start and end of one cross-examination, or the prosecution and defence questioning of the same witness. Think of a question that you can answer, such as 'How do defendants use language to present themselves as innocent?' or 'How is power and status conveyed through the language of the courtroom?'
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    (Original post by Lit teacher)
    As a starter:
    Types of question - open or closed? Do they change during the cross-examination? Expect to find a lot of closed questions as lawyers try to pressure witnesses to say things that they would rather avoid. Look at the answers too, especially in respect of Grice's Maxims. Do they provide the information that was requested. Responses tend to become shorter when the speaker is trying to hide something.
    Terms of address. When are titles used, surnames, first names?
    Power and turn-taking. Looking at overlaps is particularly revealing. Who yields the floor?
    Depending on the quality of the transcript could you look at hesitations, false starts, repetition.
    Euphemism. This was a particularly unpleasant murder. How do the various people involved refer to it? Does Pistorius try to avoid using words like 'murder' or 'kill'.
    Affective language - do the prosecution lawyers select words particularly for their emotional impact?

    Overall it would probably be best to select two or three sections to compare in detail. For example, the start and end of one cross-examination, or the prosecution and defence questioning of the same witness. Think of a question that you can answer, such as 'How do defendants use language to present themselves as innocent?' or 'How is power and status conveyed through the language of the courtroom?'
    This is so helpful, thank you!!!! It is hard to find a topic that has a lot to talk about and everyone seems to go for child acquisition but I'd rather do something different.
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    (Original post by Lit teacher)
    As a starter:
    Types of question - open or closed? Do they change during the cross-examination? Expect to find a lot of closed questions as lawyers try to pressure witnesses to say things that they would rather avoid. Look at the answers too, especially in respect of Grice's Maxims. Do they provide the information that was requested. Responses tend to become shorter when the speaker is trying to hide something.
    Terms of address. When are titles used, surnames, first names?
    Power and turn-taking. Looking at overlaps is particularly revealing. Who yields the floor?
    Depending on the quality of the transcript could you look at hesitations, false starts, repetition.
    Euphemism. This was a particularly unpleasant murder. How do the various people involved refer to it? Does Pistorius try to avoid using words like 'murder' or 'kill'.
    Affective language - do the prosecution lawyers select words particularly for their emotional impact?

    Overall it would probably be best to select two or three sections to compare in detail. For example, the start and end of one cross-examination, or the prosecution and defence questioning of the same witness. Think of a question that you can answer, such as 'How do defendants use language to present themselves as innocent?' or 'How is power and status conveyed through the language of the courtroom?'
    How should i structure the investigation???
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    (Original post by JasmineDodd)
    How should i structure the investigation???
    Hi. The focus must be on language use, so you need to base the investigation on a question such as 'How do people use language to gain power in a courtroom?' or 'How is questioning used in legal cases'. The AQA syllabus gives the following guidance for structure:
    Introduction
    • Brief discussion of the reasons for choosing the investigation focus.
    • What the investigation is trying to find out (aims).
    Methodology
    • An evaluative account of how the data was collected and organised for analysis.
    • Approaches to analysis.
    Analysis
    • Analysis and interpretation of the findings, responding to the aim of the investigation.
    • Critical consideration of relevant concepts and issues surrounding the topic area.
    • Analysis of the contextual influences upon the data collected.
    Conclusion
    • Interpretation of the findings of the investigation linked to the aim/focus of the investigation.
    References
    • A list of all sources used (paper and web-based).
    Appendices
    • Clean copies of the collected data.
    • Evidence to support quantitative approaches.

    Students are encouraged to use sub-headings. Start with those listed in bold above, but don't be afraid to add your own, especially in the 'analysis' section. For example, if you are looking at language and power you could write a section on terms of address, then give another sub-heading and analyse turn-taking and overlaps to see who yields the floor.

    I'm impressed that you have got to this point already and it's not quite September!
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    (Original post by Lit teacher)
    Hi. The focus must be on language use, so you need to base the investigation on a question such as 'How do people use language to gain power in a courtroom?' or 'How is questioning used in legal cases'. The AQA syllabus gives the following guidance for structure:
    Introduction
    • Brief discussion of the reasons for choosing the investigation focus.
    • What the investigation is trying to find out (aims).
    Methodology
    • An evaluative account of how the data was collected and organised for analysis.
    • Approaches to analysis.
    Analysis
    • Analysis and interpretation of the findings, responding to the aim of the investigation.
    • Critical consideration of relevant concepts and issues surrounding the topic area.
    • Analysis of the contextual influences upon the data collected.
    Conclusion
    • Interpretation of the findings of the investigation linked to the aim/focus of the investigation.
    References
    • A list of all sources used (paper and web-based).
    Appendices
    • Clean copies of the collected data.
    • Evidence to support quantitative approaches.

    Students are encouraged to use sub-headings. Start with those listed in bold above, but don't be afraid to add your own, especially in the 'analysis' section. For example, if you are looking at language and power you could write a section on terms of address, then give another sub-heading and analyse turn-taking and overlaps to see who yields the floor.

    I'm impressed that you have got to this point already and it's not quite September!
    Thankyou for the help! My question that i chose was 'how the prosecutor makes the accused appear guilty and in turn how the accused makes themselves appear innocent?'
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    (Original post by JasmineDodd)
    Thankyou for the help! My question that i chose was 'how the prosecutor makes the accused appear guilty and in turn how the accused makes themselves appear innocent?'
    Looks like a good choice, and great for learning some useful skills for the future. You may want to put 'Language' in the question somewhere; e.g. 'How does the prosecutor use language to make the accused appear guilty...' just to make clear that you are not looking at the actual evidence, just the language choices made in the courtroom.
    I had a quick look at the transcript here http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...t-9248279.html and it's fascinating. Notice the repetition of 'killed' and Pistorius's refusal to use the word himself, and his repetition of 'my Lady', compared with him being addressed as 'Mr Pistorius'. One is trying to appear very respectful (not the sort of person who would shoot their girlfriend in a rage at all) while the other is trying to show complete detachment, presumably to stop people feeling sympathy for Oscar. The victim is called by her first name by both of them.

    It's worth noting the context. Although guilt or innocence in this case was decided by a judge (rather than a jury as would have happened in the UK), a lot of the trial was televised. Those involved were aware that they were performing to an audience of millions, who would probably be more influenced by emotive language than the judge.
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    (Original post by Lit teacher)
    Looks like a good choice, and great for learning some useful skills for the future. You may want to put 'Language' in the question somewhere; e.g. 'How does the prosecutor use language to make the accused appear guilty...' just to make clear that you are not looking at the actual evidence, just the language choices made in the courtroom.
    I had a quick look at the transcript here http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...t-9248279.html and it's fascinating. Notice the repetition of 'killed' and Pistorius's refusal to use the word himself, and his repetition of 'my Lady', compared with him being addressed as 'Mr Pistorius'. One is trying to appear very respectful (not the sort of person who would shoot their girlfriend in a rage at all) while the other is trying to show complete detachment, presumably to stop people feeling sympathy for Oscar. The victim is called by her first name by both of them.

    It's worth noting the context. Although guilt or innocence in this case was decided by a judge (rather than a jury as would have happened in the UK), a lot of the trial was televised. Those involved were aware that they were performing to an audience of millions, who would probably be more influenced by emotive language than the judge.
    This is actually the transcript that i am using, there is loads to unpick!! Thanks again!
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    don't forget you need to get primary data too though!
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    (Original post by Courtneyx1x)
    don't forget you need to get primary data too though!
    How can i find primary data linked to my question?
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    (Original post by JasmineDodd)
    How can i find primary data linked to my question?
    maybe you could do interviews, using phrases and ask what people would associate them phrases with (being guilty or innocent). Or you could do questionnaires - select phrases and ask them to rate guilty or innocent then you could look at the patterns. You don't have to make your primary data the main focus of your project, just remember to integrate it alot. Also, remember you have to be able to create a media piece on your findings!

    I got a B on my investigation, but I did child language acquisition. I read the same book with two children, both four at the time but of different gender, and looked at the differences in the way they engaged with the text. Although they couldn't read, I looked at how they interpreted the story using the graphological features and analysed the features of their language. I used theories to back up or challenge my findings.

    I know you wanna do language change, but I hope my experience could possibly give you some inspiration for your project.
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    (Original post by Courtneyx1x)
    maybe you could do interviews, using phrases and ask what people would associate them phrases with (being guilty or innocent). Or you could do questionnaires - select phrases and ask them to rate guilty or innocent then you could look at the patterns. You don't have to make your primary data the main focus of your project, just remember to integrate it alot. Also, remember you have to be able to create a media piece on your findings!

    I got a B on my investigation, but I did child language acquisition. I read the same book with two children, both four at the time but of different gender, and looked at the differences in the way they engaged with the text. Although they couldn't read, I looked at how they interpreted the story using the graphological features and analysed the features of their language. I used theories to back up or challenge my findings.

    I know you wanna do language change, but I hope my experience could possibly give you some inspiration for your project.
    Thankyou so much!!! I want to do law so i wanted to incorporate that.
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    (Original post by JasmineDodd)
    Thankyou so much!!! I want to do law so i wanted to incorporate that.
    you're very welcome if you change your mind on your current focus, you could look at legal texts and how they've changed over time. Don't know how well that would work, but just an idea.
    If you have any questions about doing your project, please let me know! Good luck!
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    (Original post by Courtneyx1x)
    don't forget you need to get primary data too though!
    Using selected extracts from the transcript of the trial is sufficient for data. There is no requirement for students to complete their own surveys or interviews. The guidance from the syllabus states:

    "Students will need to decide what kind of data they collect:
    • spoken language
    • written language
    • multimodal language
    • word lists (ie lists of new words etc)
    • attitudes to language
    • uses of language
    • views about language.

    Underpinning this piece of research is the challenge that, in consultation with their supervising teacher, students should collect their own data as the basis of their study, as well as select their own approach for analysis."

    The requirement for students to collect their own data is to try to prevent some teachers from choosing the investigation for the entire class and handing them the data. It just means that students have to find their own examples of language use. AQA are very keen to see original investigations based on a student's interest rather than 25 identical projects which may not suit differing interests and abilities. For a study of child language acquisition, collecting first-hand data is an excellent idea because you know the full context.

    Part of the data skill for this particular investigation is choosing comparable extracts from a very long court case, rather than just finding random examples. For example, looking at how prosecution and defence examine the same witness, or how the language of one of the key people changes during the trial. There should be an explanation of why these particular extracts were chosen.
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    (Original post by Lit teacher)
    Using selected extracts from the transcript of the trial is sufficient for data. There is no requirement for students to complete their own surveys or interviews. The guidance from the syllabus states:

    "Students will need to decide what kind of data they collect:
    • spoken language
    • written language
    • multimodal language
    • word lists (ie lists of new words etc)
    • attitudes to language
    • uses of language
    • views about language.

    Underpinning this piece of research is the challenge that, in consultation with their supervising teacher, students should collect their own data as the basis of their study, as well as select their own approach for analysis."

    The requirement for students to collect their own data is to try to prevent some teachers from choosing the investigation for the entire class and handing them the data. It just means that students have to find their own examples of language use. AQA are very keen to see original investigations based on a student's interest rather than 25 identical projects which may not suit differing interests and abilities. For a study of child language acquisition, collecting first-hand data is an excellent idea because you know the full context.

    Part of the data skill for this particular investigation is choosing comparable extracts from a very long court case, rather than just finding random examples. For example, looking at how prosecution and defence examine the same witness, or how the language of one of the key people changes during the trial. There should be an explanation of why these particular extracts were chosen.
    Hi, i have just written my first draft, i apparently aced AO1 and AO2 but i need some help with AO3. Could you suggest any contextual factors that link to my question
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    (Original post by JasmineDodd)
    Hi, i have just written my first draft, i apparently aced AO1 and AO2 but i need some help with AO3. Could you suggest any contextual factors that link to my question
    That's fast work! The Pistorius case has some interesting contextual features.
    You could make reference to the fact that this trial took place in South Africa rather than the UK. Is there any South African lexis? Also, higher class society in South Africa is culturally quite conservative at times. This may be a reason for the quite formal and 'polite' tone.
    Purpose and audience are very important. Pistorius knew that his testimony, and demeanor in court, could make the difference between walking free or spending the rest of his life behind bars. He would have been coached on what to say and how to say it by his legal team. One of the key points from the prosecution case was that Pistorius was quite an aggressive, violent and bad-tempered person. Just the sort who would get in a rage and shoot his girlfriend. He had to work hard to present an image in court of being respectful and calm. His language choices would not be natural. Similarly, the defence and prosecution lawyers, with years of experience, would be choosing their language very carefully in order to persuade the judge. Look at emotive terms and connotations of some of the language.
    Prosecution and defence also knew that their performance in court was being televised to a world-wide audience. This would affect their language choices too. They had to present an image to the wider audience. The prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, was known as 'The Bulldog' for his tenacity and he would have wanted to maintain this image.

    For comparison, have a quick look here http://miscarriageofjustice.co/index...4d0&board=22.0

    At the bottom of the page you can read trial transcripts from a police officer in a high profile UK murder case. (I looked at the Patrol Car Officer testimony) There is still the formal tone, but the witness does not have to worry about going to prison and so their answers are possibly more open. You could also look here
    http://www.theguardian.com/media/int...iew-transcript
    Which is a police interview but not in a courtroom, where there clearly isn't any attempt to get to the truth. See how the police call him 'Jimmy' and keep repeating 'lovely'...'that's fine'... Not something that you were likely to hear in the Pistorius case!
    You could refer to these cases in your coursework, but the focus isn't a comparison, so don't get too distracted.
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    (Original post by Lit teacher)
    That's fast work! The Pistorius case has some interesting contextual features.
    You could make reference to the fact that this trial took place in South Africa rather than the UK. Is there any South African lexis? Also, higher class society in South Africa is culturally quite conservative at times. This may be a reason for the quite formal and 'polite' tone.
    Purpose and audience are very important. Pistorius knew that his testimony, and demeanor in court, could make the difference between walking free or spending the rest of his life behind bars. He would have been coached on what to say and how to say it by his legal team. One of the key points from the prosecution case was that Pistorius was quite an aggressive, violent and bad-tempered person. Just the sort who would get in a rage and shoot his girlfriend. He had to work hard to present an image in court of being respectful and calm. His language choices would not be natural. Similarly, the defence and prosecution lawyers, with years of experience, would be choosing their language very carefully in order to persuade the judge. Look at emotive terms and connotations of some of the language.
    Prosecution and defence also knew that their performance in court was being televised to a world-wide audience. This would affect their language choices too. They had to present an image to the wider audience. The prosecutor, Gerrie Nel, was known as 'The Bulldog' for his tenacity and he would have wanted to maintain this image.

    For comparison, have a quick look here http://miscarriageofjustice.co/index...4d0&board=22.0

    At the bottom of the page you can read trial transcripts from a police officer in a high profile UK murder case. (I looked at the Patrol Car Officer testimony) There is still the formal tone, but the witness does not have to worry about going to prison and so their answers are possibly more open. You could also look here
    http://www.theguardian.com/media/int...iew-transcript
    Which is a police interview but not in a courtroom, where there clearly isn't any attempt to get to the truth. See how the police call him 'Jimmy' and keep repeating 'lovely'...'that's fine'... Not something that you were likely to hear in the Pistorius case!
    You could refer to these cases in your coursework, but the focus isn't a comparison, so don't get too distracted.
    Thanks again, this will totally help!
 
 
 
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