Akože, nejaký: reč na súde mimo zápisnice : prípadová štúdia súdneho pojednávania so žiadateľom o azyl
As if to say, kind of: courtroom talk not in the record : a case study of court proceedings with an asylum applicant
In this study, I examine the linguistic means that weaken the effect of an asylum applicant’s speech during court proceedings: the overuse of selected words implying doubt, uncertainty, assumption, or presumption signal imbalance. I analyse how the hegemonic practices of consensus are reflected in the tolerance of the interpreter’s inconspicuous mistakes: the use of the third person instead of the first, the use of passive instead of active voice, the concealment of the subject or the author, and the subordination of the subjectivity of the asylum applicant's testimony in both linguistic and non-linguistic forms. This case study presents the partial results of the ethnographic research that took place at hearings of asylum applicants between 2015 and 2018 at the Regional Court in Bratislava. I focus on the linguistic practices which significantly influenced the atmosphere of a hearing; the applicant was not aware of the expressions which were adjoined to his speech and weakened his argumentation. These expressions were also not part of the official record. I interpret the linguistic means of identity construction in courts in accordance with the anthropological and sociolinguistic works of Diana Eades, Anthony Good, Katrijn Maryns, and Susan Philips. In a broader context, I also make use of Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of production and reproduction of legitimate language.