Processing Multimodal Legal Discourse; The Case of Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams

P.J. van den Hoven, Gabrijela Kišiček

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


We focus on a striking difference between prototypical legal discourse format and a complex multimodal discourse format: the role of the mediating narrator. In prototypical verbal legal discourse, the narrator concurs with one clearly identifiable top-voice. The narration is close to ‘monotone’; the top-voice organizes the polyphony. The sources of information are limited and rather conventionally related, in case of an oral presentation and even more in case of written discourse. This is essentially different in multimodal formats. The ‘narrator’, defined as the organizing principle, can be highly abstract, not concurring with one specific discourse voice. Obviously, the agent who presents the discourse has to take responsibility for the way the discourse is narrated, but this responsibility is not ‘embodied’ in this agent acting. The sources of information that are organized by the narrator are many, divers, and relate to each other in complex ways.

Processing Multimodal Legal Discourse; The Case of Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams. Available from: [accessed Jun 26, 2017].
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies on argumentation & Legal Philosophy/ 2
Subtitle of host publicationMultimodality and reasonabless in judicial rhetoric
Place of PublicationTrento
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)978-88-8443-731-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameQuaderni dell Facoltá di Giurisprudenza
ISSN (Print)2284-2810


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