Referring and repairing in Spanish covertly-taped conversations
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The goal of this dissertation is to examine the effects of a particular criminal activity, such as drug trafficking, on the linguistic behavior of the speakers engaged in this type of activity, specifically as it reflects the speakers' fear of being overheard. We investigate whether the speakers' fear of being overheard affects their referential preferences and their ability to negotiate repairs in conversation. In order to accomplish the objectives of this work, the dissertation is divided into six chapters. Chapter 1, ‘Introduction,’ states the goals of the dissertation data. Chapter 2, ‘Referential Preferences in Spanish Covertly-Taped Conversations,’ provides a theoretical and empirical framework for the representation of reference in the dissertation data. In this chapter we find that these speakers prefer reference forms that tap into the knowledge shared with their addressees, such as aliases and descriptions, and avoid referential terms that disclose generally accessible information, such as proper names. Chapter 3, ‘Referential Choices and the Need for Repairs,’ explores the relationship between the speakers’ referential preferences and their ability to achieve topical coherence with their addressees. This chapter examines the relationship between certain referential preferences and the need for repairs and looks at the repair choices of speakers in the dissertation data. The analysis of the data shows that the reference forms that do not designate a unique referent in the data, such as general noun phrases, are more prone to repairs than those we identify as shared by the speaker and the addressee, such as aliases. Chapter 4, ‘Negotiating Repairs in Spanish Covertly-Taped Conversations,’ looks more closely at the negotiation of repairs in the dissertation data. The analysis of this repair strategy shows that the need of speakers to be covertly informative results, on some occasions, in the violation of the Coherence Rule (Tsui 1991) and in the use of conversational implicature (Grice 1975). Chapter 5, ‘Legal Applications of the Dissertation: A Statistical Analysis,’ provides a step-by-step guide for the preparation of linguistic evidence, such as covertly-taped conversations, for the courtroom. This chapter also proposes the use of statistical analysis of conversational data in the courtroom. Chapter 6 ‘Conclusion,’ provides a final synopsis of the major findings and contributions of the dissertation to the field of linguistics and the law.