Speech reporting in courtroom opening statements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This investigation critically analyzes the practice of speech reporting in the monologic genre of the opening statement. Drawing on the opening statements of three high-profile trials, this study analyzes the form, function, and frequency of reported utterances that manifest within the opening statement. The findings reveal that the opening statement is a highly heteroglossic genre, and the inclusion of voices is pragmatically motivated, serving five functions: narrative, evidential, disaligning, contextualizing, and discourse organizing. Reanimation of voices not only enables lawyers to create and negotiate different realities but also contributes to making the opening statement essentially argumentative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
StatePublished - 2017 Oct 1


  • Courtroom discourse
  • Function of reported speech
  • Monolog
  • Opening statement
  • Speech reporting

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