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Competing creole transcripts on trial

Patrick, Peter L and Buell, Samuel W (2000) Competing creole transcripts on trial. Working Paper. Essex Research Reports in Linguistics, University of Essex, Colchester, UK.


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A criminal prosecution of Jamaican Creole (JC) speaking ‘posse’(=gang) members in New York included evidence of recorded speech in JC. Clandestinerecordings (discussions of criminal events, including narration of a homicide) wereintroduced at trial. Taped data were translated for prosecution by a non-linguist nativespeaker of JC. Defense disputed these texts and commissioned alternative transcriptionsfrom a creolist linguist, who was a non-speaker of JC. Prosecution in turn hired anothercreolist, a near-native speaker of and specialist in JC, to testify on the relative accuracyof both sets of earlier texts. Differing representations of key conversations weresubmitted to a non-creole speaking judge/jury, both linguists testified, and defendantswere convicted. The role of linguistic testimony and practice (especially transcription)in the trial is analysed. A typology of linguistic expertise is given, and effects of thelanguage’s Creole status and lack of instrumentalization on the trial are discussed.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Creoles, Jamaican, transcription, translation, types of expertise, wiretap
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2011 08:11
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:36

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