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Original scientific paper

Contribution to the Analysis of Witness Statements in the Croatian Language

Lucia Miškulin Saletović ; Centre for Croatian Studies, Zagreb
Gabrijela Kišiček orcid id ; Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb

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Forensic linguistics might be defined as a branch of applied linguistics interested primarily
in the interaction among language, crime and the law. The term itself was coined
by Svartvik in 1968. Initially, the growth and development of forensic linguistics was
relatively slow. However, in the past 15 years there has been a significant growth in
the frequency with which the courts in many countries have called on the expertise of
linguists. Being a relatively new discipline, it has not yet been strictly defined which sub–
disciplines belong to its ambit. Forensic discourse analysis is concerned with institutional
discourse in a variety of legal settings and its intersection with lay and social meaning,
including selection and use of grammar and vocabulary in certain legal genres. This paper
deals with witness statements in litigation proceeding before municipal courts in Croatia
and analyses their syntactical and lexical features in order to determine which functional
style(s) they belong to. In the Croatian language, witness statements are characterized by
a functional style hybridity, since they exhibit characteristics of the administrative and
the conversational functional style. In some countries, such and similar analyses were
carried out on larger corpora of witness statements in order to draw a style profile that
enables observing inconsistencies that might be used as a clue in veracity analysis of witness
statements and as an aid to investigation. In order to obtain a comprehensive image
of the witness statement legal genre in the Croatian language, which could, among other
things, be used as an indication in establishing veracity, a significantly larger corpora, as
well as witness statements from various types of legal proceedings and various types of
courts, should be collected and analysed.


witness statements, legal genres, administrative style, conversational style, forensic linguistics, Croatian

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Article data in other languages: croatian

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