A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Language of Dominance in Selected Police Interrogation of Suspects in Kaduna Metropolis

Published: September 2019

AuthorsAnumudu, Kenneth Uzoma & Abaya, Angulu Samson

About Authors: Department of English and Literary Studies. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

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Police interrogation is one of the primary methods used by the police to obtain information from witnesses, victims and suspects of crime and it plays a significant role in the majority of police investigations. This paper investigates how the police employ language to reproduce, negotiate and maintain power, dominance and asymmetry during the interrogation of suspects in Gabasawa police station, Kaduna Police Command. The researchers adopt Fairclough’s Three-Dimensional model (Fairclough, 1989; 1992; and 2003) which is a model within the framework of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as the analytical tool for the analysis of the data obtained during the interrogation of suspects. Data were obtained with an audio recorder during the interrogation sessions in the police station. The data obtained are criminal in nature and the choice of Gabasawa in Kaduna police command is based on the premise that the researcher is based in Kaduna town. The paper submits that the police employ strategic discursive devices such as formulation, interruption, topic control, tense, vocabulary choice, pronouns, modality and various strands of question and answer forms that are value-laden to reproduce, negotiate and maintain power, dominance and inequality during the interrogation of suspects.

Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis, Interrogation, Ideology, Discourse, Institution, Dominance, Power