A PRAGMA-SEMANTIC STUDY OF POWER RELATION IN A NIGERIAN APPELLATE COURT JUDGEMENT

A PRAGMA-SEMANTIC STUDY OF POWER RELATION IN A NIGERIAN APPELLATE COURT JUDGEMENT

Author by Dr. Abiola Kalejaiye

Journal/Publisher: Evolving Discourses In Language Literature And Pedagogy

Volume/Edition: 1

Language: English

Pages: 39 - 60

Abstract

ABSTRACT

 Power is a quintessential feature of the courtroom. Conversely, the study of power relations in the Nigerian Appellate courtroom is still lopsided as the focus has been on asymmetrical and not symmetrical power relations. On this premise, courtroom discourse has been labelled asymmetric. Therefore, with a view to establishing the authenticity of this claim, this study investigated the nature of power relation between the appellate judge, the trial judge and the appellant. The study data were obtained from the text ‘Brigadier Adekunle versus Rockview Hotel’, reported in the Nigerian Weekly law Reports. A pragma-semantic theoretical framework precisely Geofrey Leech’s politeness model and the structuralist componential analysis offered the tools of analysing the face types and componential meanings in the judgement. The Componential analysis revealed that the appellate judge consciously chooses words to provide psychological plausibility for his/her stances. The face type analysis revealed that a partly allowed appeal the appellate judge’s choice of words  both save and threaten the faces of the appellant as well as that of the trial court judge. Therefore, this paper concludes that power relations in the Nigerian appellate courtroom is not only symmetric but also asymmetric  

 

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