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The importance of borrowing across disciplines

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Over the years, linguists have borrowed from other allied fields, including speech events from cultural anthropology, schema theory from psychology, speech acts from philosophy, and conversational strategies from rhetoric. In analyzing large and continuous chunks of conversational data, the first and most important of these borrowings is the speech event, for it sets the stage in which the other language elements are embedded and provides a useful sequence for analyzing everything else, including the conventional linguistic tools of the grammar and lexicon.

The present paper represents the optimal sequence of analysis as an Inverted Pyramid, starting with the speech event and then moving down the order to schemas, agendas, speech acts, conversational strategies, and finally to the grammar and lexicon that are embedded within each other. Two prominent criminal law investigations are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Inverted Pyramid approach for understanding this evidence.

Keywords: Inverted Pyramid; agenda; borrowing across disciplines; conversational strategies; schema; speech acts; speech events

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 22, 2019

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