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Data Session with John Haviland

October 28 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm BST

Sí, ¿si soy silencio?: silence guaranteed, silence enforced. 

The presentation concerns the nature and process of “Mirandizing” people accused of crimes, that is advising them of their constitutional rights before legally admissible interrogation takes place. How such advice is (or should be, or could be) delivered—to everyone, but especially to non-speakers of English, and even more particularly, to speakers of languages essentially unknown to police or other legal authorities—is the background question. Collaterally, the process relates to police profiling of people to whom such advice is given, and thus to how authorities understand who they are and how to treat them (in general, and linguistically).

My principal empirical examples draw on interrogations by US authorities of native speakers of Tzotzil (Mayan), an indigenous language from Chiapas, Mexico, for which I occasionally interpret professionally. In particular, in addition to an introductory example to illustrate the flavor of the interactions involved, I will concentrate on two cases in which the people being advised of their rights were native speakers of Tzotzil, but where the advice was administered in Spanish (more or less), both with and without some sort of Tzotzil intermediation.

I expect to distribute a transcript of at least one such interaction, along with accompanying materials, to promote discussion of the linguistic, interactional, legal and social issues such encounters raise


October 28
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm BST
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Sara Goico