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UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley Representation of Rape in 18 th Century Trials in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913 Claire Brodley.

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Presentation on theme: "UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley Representation of Rape in 18 th Century Trials in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674-1913 Claire Brodley."— Presentation transcript:

1 UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley Representation of Rape in 18 th Century Trials in The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Claire Brodley

2 Undergraduate Research Project: Learning to Research Forensic Linguistics Working with Dr Alison Johnson in the School of English Project brief – after taking Forensic Approaches to Language module, negotiate an original collaborative research study Aim - presentation at 10 th Biennial International Association of Forensic Linguists Conference in 2011 – Aston University, Birmingham and possible journal publication of conference paper UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

3 What is Forensic Linguistics? Language in Legal Settings Theoretical concerns – description of legal language. Practical aspects – expert linguists in the courtroom. Leeds students’ projects  Old Bailey trials  Legal language in statutes  Politeness in the courtroom  Authorship attribution UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

4 Research Process: How to Choose a Topic? IAFL Conference – July 2009, VU University, Amsterdam  Academic research  Language of the jury  Computational forensic linguistics  Transcription of police interviewing Module essay ‘Semantic field of madness in trials of the Old Bailey Proceedings’ Interest in Language and Gender - combining two areas of linguistics UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

5 Context – Old Bailey Proceedings UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley Trial transcripts provide authenticity although not verbatim from original speech, some are only summaries - recontextualisation Selective reporting – omissions of opening and closing statements, judges’ summing up, defence evidence Changing attitudes towards sexual offences – evidence ceased to be published from 1798 Produced for publication and for sale – consideration of economic/cost constraints and marketing as entertainment

6 Data Collection - Compiling a Corpus UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

7 Quantitative Patterns – Statistics of Representation in the Proceedings Total number of Rape Trials recorded in OBP Proportion of Trials represented in OBP with a full or summary account In looking at representation we note the proportion of trials recorded with a full transcript, those with just a summary, and those where details are missing. In the 18 th Century, 153 out of a possible 256 rape trials were reported. However in other centuries there was a notable absence of reporting, with only 1 out of 1324 cases reported in the 19 th century, and 1 out of a possible 391 from This prompts questions about the choices made when recording the linguistic data of the rape trial across the four centuries. UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

8 More Statistics of Cases Involving Child Victims UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley Defendant-Victim Relationships Reported in Trials with Child Victims 18 th Century Trials Involving Child Victims Adult Case - VerdictChild Case - Verdict GuiltyNot GuiltyGuiltyNot Guilty Acquaintance7.7%92.3%22.2%77.8% Neighour8.3%91.7%11.1%88.9% Stranger26.3%73.7%0%100% Master20%80%50% Family Member50% 0%100% Family Friend10.5%89.5%28.6%71.4% Lodger or Colleague11.1%88.9%22.2%77.8% High proportion of not guilty verdicts compared to adult cases 36% of defendants found not guilty were then tried for a lesser charge Representation through language as an explanation of these decisions?

9 Lexical Patterns The indictment of the rape charge - impact of legal language in constructing ideologies:  J ohn Adamson was indicted for that he not having God before his Eyes, &c. On the 3d of October, in the Liberty of St. Martin's le Grand, in and upon Catherine Walgrave, an Infant under the Age of 10 Years, viz. of the Age of 3 Years and 10 Months, feloniously did make an Assault and her the said Catherine, wickedly, &c. did carnally know and abuse. (Summary trial 1739, guilty verdict)  George Rowson, was indicted for Assaulting, Ravishing, and Carnally knowing Elizabeth Bickle, Spinster, against the Will of the said Elizabeth, the 19th of this Instant February. (Summary trial 1730, acquitted)  George Tennant, late of St. Botolph's without Aldgate, was indicted for committing a Rape on the body of Mary Craggs, an infant under ten years old. (Full trial 1749, acquitted) Frequent verbs: hurt, lay, lie, lain – how do these represent the crime, complainant and defendant? UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley

10 Qualitative Analysis – Euphemistic Language UGRS Presentation 22/06/10 Claire Brodley Critical Discourse Analysis – Discourse-historical framework (Reisigl & Wodak 2009) Normalising the crime Limiting evidence through use of indirect terms – hurt, somewhat, wet Mary Craggs [Q:] Pray child tell us what he did to you? [A:] He heav'd me across a chair, and went and bolted the street and yard door; said I, what are you a going to do? he said, child, lie down, I will not hurt you: he made me lie down, and said if I cry'd out the neighbours would hear, and they would tell my mother and she would whip me to death. [Q:] Did you lie down? [A:] He laid me down. [Q:] What else did he do? [A:] He put somewhat into my private parts that hurt me sadly: said I, you hurt me sadly; O says he, my dear, I don't; I know I don't, says he; says I, indeed Mr. Tennant, you do hurt me; says he, I know I don't. [Q:] Did you observe any thing come from him wet? [A:] Yes, sir. [Q:] Well, and what after that? [A:] After that my mother came home, says he, don't tell your mother; if you do your mother will whip you to death.

11 Conclusions Limiting evidence through legal and euphemistic language fulfils institutional goals of censorship but also helps to normalise the crime. Reporting of mainly prosecution evidence makes the discourse susceptible to questioning by the audience, in contrast to the defendant’s lack of evidence deposition. High proportion of not guilty verdicts or indictments to other charges may have been to protect the child or family name and also deterred other people from attempting to prosecute for financial gain. References Clive Emsley, Tim Hitchcock and Robert Shoemaker, Old Bailey Proceedings Online Reisigl & Wodak (2009) The discourse-historical approach. In Wodak & Meyer, Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis (2 nd edn) London: Sage, pp UGRE Presentation !st April 2011 Claire Brodley


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