A Syntactic and Pragmatic Analysis of Cross-Examination in Ghanaian Law Courts

Cynthia Logogye


This paper looks at the use of language in the law court - the high courts of the central region of Ghana. It investigates cross- examination questions and the syntax of such questions posed by lawyers to solicit information. It takes a look at the nature of questions the lawyers ask witnesses in order to get the needed information so as to make their case.  An interesting finding is that the nature of questions asked by the lawyers in the law court usually deviate from the normal Wh question type. The lawyers rather resort to statements and imperatives to solicit information from their witnesses. Such questions were observed to be intimidating and most often made the witness confused. This study is therefore an exploration of the type of questions posed by lawyers in the court of law. The general observation is that a witness who is not strong and well coached by his lawyer may get confused by such intimidating nature of cross examination.

Keywords: cross-examination, witness, Ghana, law court

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ISSN 2422-8435

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