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TICKNORS LEGAL OUTLINES

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Linguistics in Law School

Ethnograph y of

Communica tion

L ING U I S TIC S IN LAW S C HO OL

Ethnography of Communication

Copyright 2011by TickTalk Communications 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20002 Phone 202.662.9401 Fax 202.662.9412

Table of Contents
Introduction to Ethnography of Communication...................................................2 You, Doin That Thing You Do!.............................................................................4 Setting the Precedent: Literature Review.............................................................7 Welcome to the Georgetown University Law Center.........................................10 On the Record: Looking at Field Notes..............................................................11 A Guy Walks into the American Bar Association...............................................14 Hypothetically Speaking...................................................................................... 18 Review Session................................................................................................... 19

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Introduction to Ethnography of Communication


What does it mean to talk like a lawyer? And how does Law School teach you how to do just that?

o one questions the importance of language in law school. Indeed, the production and interpretation of language constitutes a large part of what it means to be a lawyer. Embodying this professional role demands the ability to parse large amounts of complex, jargon-rich text and utterances considered so different from standard conversational English, it has its own name: legalese. Although none of the prospective student brochures you poured over ever mentioned a foreign language requirement, acquiring fluency in legalese is a fundamental part of the education you receive in your three years of law school. Unlike many other kinds of communicative competence, legalese is not simply "picked up"; it is a learned communicative skill or craft which produces a craftbound discourse (Maley 1987). In other words, a significant aspect of learning how to be a lawyer includes the acquisition through trial and errorof a way of speaking, reading and writing that is unique to the work of doing law. Law schools around the country are tasked with teaching not only the laws themselves, but also the language of law. Law school is a speech community where students are immersed in institutionally-specific styles of writing, speech and thought. At the intersection of language and community, we find a valuable nexus for learning.

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The field of ethnography is primarily concerned with the description of cultures. Although the word culture itself can be tricky to define, in the ethnographic context it can be said to refer to a group which come together for a purpose and constitute a speech community. The members of these communities share rules for communication, interaction, cultural rules knowledge to help them participate appropriately within the group (Saville-Troike). Since language is fundamental to interaction, Dell Hymes proposes a hybrid endeavor where linguistic description is combined with cultural observations. Our purpose in conducting ethnography of communication is to examine not only what characterizes law school language, but also how that language fits into the greater social life and cultural practices of the community. Historically ethnographies were conducted by studying those groups considered exotic (by comparison, at least, to the personal experience of the academic likely to be conducting it): indigenous tribes, isolated rural communities, and non-Western populations comprised the corpora. More recently, however, ethnographers have turned towards smaller, local, institutionally-based communities, such as places of business, schools and neighborhoods, as equally opportune locations to conduct field work. In this Linguistics in Law School outline, the ethnography of communication will be applied to just such a community: law school.
THIS OUTLINE WILL SHOW HOW ETHNOGRAPHY ALLOWS US TO MAKE LINKAGES BETWEEN LINGUISTIC PATTERNS AND MEANINGFUL CULTURAL PRACTICES.

Beyond learning how to read a Supreme Court case, write a legal memo, or argue in front of a jury, the linguistic practices law students acquire become a vital expression of their membership within the law school ecosystem. Just as they may recognize another law student by the case books under their arm, the stained WestLaw coffee mug in their hand, or the myriad rainbow highlighters spilling from their pockets, the way they speak also marks them as a member of that community. Legal communicat In order to understand what it means to be a law student or a professor at law, we need to not only pay To talk of someones attention to what is said, but also to what the ive identity competence surely traditions, norms and practices of the community requires that, is not simply to a are. As ethnographer Tony Watson puts it, to reasonable talk of someones identity surely requires that, to a "picked up"; extent, we get to reasonable extent, we get to know them and the it is a know them and context in which they live and work.

the context in which they live and work.

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You, Doin That Thing You Do!

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While it may seem obvious at first, they key to conducting ethnography with an eyeand earfor language, is to understand what it means to observe. Erving Goffman, addressing an audience of fellow social scientists, noted that the practice of participant observation is done by one of two kinds of finks. Police on the one hand and us on the other. Many sociolinguists have departed from the Chomskian notion that language should be analyzed more or less apart from how it is used, and adopted the attitude of Hymes, who asserts that language cannot be separated from how and why it is used (SavilleTroike).The value of ethnography lies in its interdisciplinary natureusing a variety of methods we are able to construct a thick description, or what Frederick Erickson calls a Dagwood sandwich description. This is not to say that close linguistic analysis is excluded, but rather, it is layered in between paralinguistic and nonverbal observations. Variety is seen not only in the type of data collected, but how the data is collected. As Murielle Saville-Troike, points out, the individual settings and ideas of appropriateness for ethnographers should thus command a repertoire of field methods from which to select according to the occasion. Rather than picking out a community that is best fit for the type of analysis we wish to conduct, ethnography provides several methodological frameworks for us to choose fromallowing us to tailor our data collection to the community instead of the other way around. These include: Introspection Ideal / real distinction: e.g. drivers at a stop sign Participant Observation Observation Interviewing Ethnosemantics / Ethnoscience Ethnomethodology and conversation analysis Discourse Analysis Philology

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In combination, these methods can produce thick descriptions, including observations both etic (that which can be described quantitatively) and emic (that which we qualify) and turn into social facts (Erickson 1977). The question of ethics also comes into play. To be secretly conducting ethnography of a community without their knowledge and consent is not only unethical, but also deprives you of a chance to share you findings in a meaningful way with the community itself. And what of the ethnographer herself in this process? What role do we play as we observe, scribbling in notebooks or typing away on our laptops? as subjecting yourself, your own body and your own personality, and your own social situation, to the set of contingencies that play upon a set of individuals, so that you can physically and ecologically penetrate their circle of response to their social situation. So that you are close to them while they are responding to what life does to them.
Goffman describes the ethnographic collection of data

As best we can, our role is to participate enough to feel while doing as little as possible to influence the norms of the community and remaining forthright about our scholarly intentions. This balancing act is difficult, but ultimately very rewarding. Linguist Anna Trester reminds us to be vigilant for a-ha moments, where things which may have seemed illusive or confusing suddenly click, revealing their importance to the community. Often, it is discomfort or awkwardness that can signal that signal you are on the brink of an a-ha moment. As Koonig and Ooi explain, awkward moments hint at our own personal emotional agenda in the field and reveal our weaknesses in controlling the field situation (2010).

It can take a while to tune your body to observing. At first you may feel like a professional creeper! Embrace uncomfortable moments as those with the greatest potential to reveal frame mismatches. And above all remember: this is for science.

Other times our communities of study may not seem so strange or awkward. This, too, presents challenges for the ethnographer. Erickson recalls Malinowskis goal to note the imponderabilia of actual life and everyday behavior. When working in a community that resembles our own, the impoderabilia is inherently masked by its very familiarity. When observing communities through a wider lens, it becomes even more important to be aware of what preconceptions we may have about who these people are, what they do, and why or how they do it. In order to remove yourself
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from as many of these assumptions as possible, there is a playful process of making strange, as Duranti calls it, that which seems common, normal, or obvious: changing the familiar into the strange and vice versa, the strange into the familiar (1982). With this tabula rasa mindset, we can also come close to approximating the experience of a first year students entering law school: they may think they know, but chances are, they have no idea. Its time now, for the first day of law school.

Setting the Precedent: Literature Review


for studying discourse and interaction. Ericksons Some Approaches to Inquiry in School-Community Ethnography (1977) is an excellent introduction to using schools as communities of observation. As we will see later in this outline, storytelling is an important element of many communities, and the law school is no exception. Wallace Chafes Discourse, Consciousness, and Time, especially Ch. 18 Representing Other Speech and Thought in First-Person Fiction with Displaced Immediacy explore how people use language to expand their range of information beyond their own immediate experiences, using referred-to speech, direct speech, indirect speech, and verbatim indirect speech (237).
Linguists recognize the classroom as a rich field

have focused on student-teacher interaction. Although the majority have looked at elementary school settings or the English as a Second Language classroom (Csomay 2007), the number of studies examining the language of classroom interaction in higher education is growing. The
Other sociolinguistic studies
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traditional linguistic framework of Conversation Analysis takes a magnifying glass to transcripts of interactional data in order to see how competent members of a given society routinely carry out and make accountable their everyday actions (Heritage and Atkinson 1984, Sarangi and Roberts 1999). Richard West and Judy Pearson, for example, investigated questioning in their study Antecedent and Consequent Conditions of Student Questioning: An Analysis of Classroom Discourse (1994). Using CA, they investigated student and teacher questioning patterns, as it related to two primary research questions: 1) what types of questions do students ask in classrooms? and 2) what antecedent and consequent conditions exist when students ask a question? Camilla Vasques, for her part, has looked at questioning in university discourse as it relates to formulations, specifically the distributions, functions, and responses to two types of explicit formulations (what youre saying is and are you saying that) in university discourse, as an indicator of how those formulations indicate that in higher education just as in therapeutic contexts the production of formulations is highly constrained by participants institutional roles and their relative power (2010). Other studies have looked at stance (Biber 2006) and variation (Csomay 2007) in higher education classrooms. The wide use of CA in analyzing higher education classrooms likely comes from the increasing amount of workable data available to researchers. Indeed, most of the CA-based empirical studies, the most popular data source was the large corpora of university recordings that make up the Michigan and TOEFL databases. The MICASE corpus is a free, publicly available, online corpus comprised of 152 transcripts and nearly two million words which includes a range of both speech activity types and disciplines, as well as some demographic information about speakers (Vasques 2010). The existence of this corpus makes transcriptions, along with information about the participants, readily available and therefore more studies can take place. In addition, data on law school interaction is completely missing from the MICASE corpus. But even if it were, listening to tapes only would not be considered ethnographic, because the community is not directly observed.
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Running parallel to the discourse on education is linguistic research

Typical subjects of study include interrogations, on-the-stand lawyer/witness questioning, and jury deliberations. While legal discourse has largely been addressed by the field of forensic linguistics, often through the framework of conversation analysis, another gap exists to connect legal discourses to educational discourses. The communicative practices of a law school will necessarily bear striking similarities to those of other upper level academic settings, in so much the goal is preparation to advance afterwards to a specific trade.
on the legal institution. The exception here is the work of Elizabeth Mertz, who has written extensively on discourse in U.S. law schools, specifically the relationship between linguistic ideology and praxis of law school (2010). Wide in its breadth, examining data from eight different law schools in the United States, Mertz endeavors to tackle the question of the language of law school as a whole, from multiple perspectives including linguistic ideology, epistemology and teaching style, and identity within the social context of legal discourse. Using observation in law school settings as well as classroom recordings, her work covers many topics of interest to ethnographers. Her work does, however, plainly build an argument towards elements of law school language and cultural structure that she feels should be changed in order to improve the educational value of the experience. This stance is not one that we would find in pure ethnography, where we avoid seeking to change the structure of the community: rather to describe it fully. Additionally, her studies could benefit from other studies to look more deeply at how law school discourse is institutional, different from other university communities, and how elements of its discourse relate to Levinsons participant orientations, including goal orientations, particular constraints, and inferential frameworks (Heritage and Drew 1992).

regarding the interplay of talk and text in creating an institution that is clearly distinct from other higher educational settings, walking a line between academics and a trade-school, where the unspoken assumption is that the language used in the classroom will result
In short, there is still much to be investigated
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in a law student graduating into an attorney, and joining the intuition of law afterwards. Having observed two 1st year law student classes, I hope to show how questioning in these classes reflects and constructs its own institution that draws from both the institution of law and the institution of education, yet remains distinct in its own way. NOW THAT WE VE DO NE OU R RES EAR CH, ITS TIM E TO STE P OU

Welcome to the Georgetown University Law Center


One of the best law schools in the country, Georgetown Law is part

of the Georgetown University system located in the nations capital, Washington, D.C. The ranking system, I would be told again and again, is extremely important to the law schools identitytoptier schools attract the brightest students, the most money, the best professors. It is the second largest law school in the country, graduating about 500 law students every year. As a 1L, or first year law student, you follow the same curriculum as most other law students around the country, and the same foundational cases. A last name like Miranda or Daubert becomes inextricably intertwined with an entire set of laws, cases, precedents and courts. But your education isnt entirely based on what you read. The interactions you have in the classroom become crucial to learning the sociolinguistic competencies youll need to succeed both in school and after. Given the current dearth of studies involving law school interaction, which is to say, its relative dearth, Scollons so what? question comes to mind why should we undertake a study of the communicative and cultural practices of law schools? According to the Washington Monthly, some 45,000 people graduate from law school every year. Multiplied annually, from a numbers perspective, that is no small group. Furthermore, because law
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students ostensibly graduate and go on to practice law, these students become the people who will defend or persecute us. They help us craft our wills, our small business contracts, our divorce proceedings. They proceed over our trials and write our legislation. In other words, the education of these students can have a direct effect on us as individuals and society at large. Choosing the GULC as my community of linguistic study was a relatively easy choice, due to the important element of access. I am a full-time staff member at the law school, and have worked there for almost two years. This gives me a familiarity with the buildings, the schedules and the professors who make up the GULC campus. I am not, however, a law student. As we will discuss later in the outline, there were limits on how participatory I could be. Walking a fine line between insider and outsider in the community also had its benefits. First, from an ethical standpoint, I was able to get permission from each of four professorsand was even requested by one to attend and participate based on his knowledge of my role as linguistic ethnographer. I already had a few student acquaintances at the school, whom I could turn to as informants during my observations. They were more than happy to answer my questions and be interviewed about the law school experience. Indeedsome of them acted as if they were just waiting to be asked.

On the Record: Looking at Field Notes


During my ethnography of the law school, I attempted to get as close to participant observation as possible, within practical limits. I could not, for example, become a law student, sit for exams, write papers, or be called on during classes. In this way, my observation was removed from many of the actual emotional and cultural experiences of most law students. While taking field notes, I made an effort to do a sort of braindump of everything that I saw, whether or not it struck me as odd. As a student of higher education myself, there were many elements of the classroom setting that seemed quite normal, and I might have risked not noticing something meaningful because it seemed too banal to note. The data are field notes from weekly, hour long observations of classroom lectures as well as more spontaneous observations of student interaction in public areas including hallways, the
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library, and study lounges. I also conducted several short interviews with several law students and professors, primarily asking their thoughts on law school education in general. Using primarily my notebook computer, I was able to take field notes in real time during my observation. The fact that almost all of the students I observed at the GULC had laptops eliminated any awkwardness that this recording method might bring to another observational setting. The classes I observed were taught by four different professors, whose teaching experience at the university ranged from one semester to 20 years. In order to impose some level of consistency of topic from which to observe variation, I sat in on two Criminal Law classes as three Torts courses. The Torts course is obligatory for all first year law students at the GULC. First year classes also had the benefit of allowing me to Cold calling occurs in observe any changes in behaviors and routines as the classroom first semester progressed; changes which might lectures when indicate how the students were tuning their speech and a student is behavior to this new environment. The Torts class chosen should stand as a standard example of classroom without interaction and a reliable source for examples of first volunteering year socialization and pedagogy. to answer a
series of questions posed by the professor.

All classes are recorded by the audio-visual department at the Law School. In addition to the official recording, I also did my own recording in order to pick up the voices of students and professors as well as possible. This also freed me to spend more time when taking field notes writing descriptions of non-verbal communication and behaviors, knowing that if I needed to go back and listen to the words again, I could. The class format was typically of most first year classes, in so much as it was structured to accommodate a large number of students (approximately 60) and used the Socratic methodby which students are engaged in an is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. All classes that are automatically recorded by the Universitys audio-visual department are available to students who may have had to miss class, or would like access to the lecture for studying purposes. The benefit of this, from a linguists perspective, is that the law students are already aware of and presumably at ease with being recorded so we can be guaranteed data that is more resistant to the observers
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The only good is knowledge. Well, knowledge and getting a method of inquiry named after you.

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paradox, where it is feared that people speak differently than normal when they know they are being observed. Students are engaged in a form of inquiry and debate based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas known as the

Socratic Method.
A professor cold calls on a student and proceeds to drill them about the facts of the case for what can seem like an uncomfortably long time. This process made me feel uncomfortable as an observer, and illustrated differences in how I conceive higher education (where everyone shares ideas, more-or-less voluntarily, and maintaining students esteem) and how differently this is conceived by law school. Law students learn to prepare for the possibility of this face threatening act, where the professor puts them in this1 position, by calling on them without asking whether they would like to participate, where their self-esteem could lowered in a public sphere if they answered incorrectly. Certainly not all students find this method of cold calling, cramming, and being put on the spot at any given time to be the best educational system. In my interviews with students, several reported frustration and a desire to quit, that eventually faded into resignation with finishing school. Others, of course, adapt to this system as a new normal with less trouble. Through observation, my research questions came into focus:
What characterizes the speech of the law school community? What makes law school professor talk different from other teacher talk? And how does classroom discourse prepare students for a legal profession?

During one observation period, rather than attempting to write down everything as I observed, I focused my field notes on a quantitative notetaking. For this exercise, a unit was chosen to be counted. By looking at these frequencies, we can determine how common a certain linguistic practice or pattern or phenomenon is within the community. The more often a certain device is used, the more it can be thought to play a role in the
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communication system of the community. Frequency is not set in stone, however: what is considered frequent can depend on the length of the observation, and how marked the unit is. It is important to remember that low frequency counts can be revealing tooif no one ever uses certain utterances, there are new questions raised of what language is considered taboo. For my counted unit, I selected narratives of hypothetical situations. This narrative was motivated partly as a result of earlier discourse analysis of transcripts of the lectures, in which the interplay between pronoun use by lecturing professors and positioning of students as lay or institutional participants within the story was examined. Having used a closer linguistic (CA) approach with that data, I was curious to see what how these hypothetical situations could be interpreted from an ethnographic lenswhich would allow me to factor in observation, reaction, prosody and context.

A Guy Walks into the American Bar Association


. In one professors class, I noticed that the shifts between first person (I, we) and second person (you) occurred most frequently when professor was proposing hypothetical situations: placing the students in the role of either a lay or professional member of the legal community.

Professor :

Okay. So. By statute youre allowed to sue people after you die or after you the plaintiff die or after you the defendant dies Why would you pass a statute allowing these lawsuits? Yeah? It serves a deterrent. Does it?

Student: Professor: Student: [pause] Yes. Professor:

Okay, I got the defendant. I dont want him to do this again. But guess what. Hes NOT gonna do it again. Guess why. Becau::se hes dead.

Within the first sentence utterance, the professor has positioned his students in one of two ways within the legal system: either as a plaintiff or a defendant in a hypothetical situation where, in fact, they have died. He also asks of the class why would you
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pass a statute allowing these lawsuits? implying they are the ones engaged in legislating the law. From an institutional discourse perspective, we could consider the plaintiff/client roles as lay roles, much like a patient in a medical setting or a client in a business setting. At the same time, he also asks of the class why you would want to pass a certain law. Here he is describing engagement in the professional role of lawmaker, and still focusing on the role of the student. Notice he did not ask, why would [lawyers/legislators/they] want to pass this legislation? Instead those present during the lecture are cast through use of pronouns. Whereas 2nd person you was used in his original hypothetical situation to describe the students as either a plaintiff or defendant, in his final utterance, he switches to using first person I positioning himself in the story as well.
Professor: So for example if you decide you want to disinherit your spouse, we just wont let you do that. Your spouse is gonna get SOME money. Thats that might be true of your children as well-meaning you would continue to be an heir at law. Cause you would be entitled to some statutory distribution even if the decedent makes an effort to disinherit you.

Here again, we see students positioned in the story. While one could argue that you here doesnt not actually apply to the students, and is instead a general you , it is still a linguistic choice made instead of other possibilities: if one decides to disinherit ones spouse or if a person decides. In the hypothetical situation, a short narrative is being told, and rather than simply describing the situation of a person the professors use the 1st and 2nd person pronouns, animating the students:
Professor: I am on the Supreme Court, this may be dubious, but good news! I also have a big budget so I have hired 34 clerks.

Here, too, the professor proposes a hypothetical situation where both he and his students are actually participating in the storyline. He hedges a bit (this may be In these hypothetical dubious!) regarding the probability of his situations, a story narrative, but presses on with the storyline. In world was created these hypothetical situations, a story world (Chafe) was created where the students themselves played where the a role. students

themselves played a role.

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In the majority of these situations, the story was presented as fact, using the present tense, and epistemically, the professor, in the role of storyteller, often knew not only the facts of the case, but also the characters thoughts:
Professor: So theres a two car crash, both people have been injured. The plaintiff has now been killed. The defendant is now clinging to life. You know, like under Martin circumstances, where with a really horrible life with really horrible life with really serious injuries. And the defendants thinking I can struggle here to live or I can in fact just kill myself so that I avoid liability, my family gets to recover my assets, I think Ill just kill myself or at least ya know not take the drugs that they want to give me.

In this example, the hypothetical situation is still presented as fact in present tense, but the students nor the professor play a role in the story. They do, however, have access to the thoughts of the characters in the story, although they are not first-person narratives (Chafe). At times this story world was presented so realistically that students actually had to clarify whether the facts being stated were real to the case being studied, or hypothetical. Other times, the professor himself would clarify:
Professor: In real life, dont we think if you kill someone you oughta have to compensate them for that anguish that they feel now even though they would have felt it later when the loved one ultimately died?

This professor used the expression in real life five different times in the course of just one of my observations. Again, the ethnographer asks, why would he need to use this phrase at all? In order to distinguish the current reality from the story world he

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constructs through narrative during lecture, where almost anything is possible.


There is still an element of stylistic choice.

Not all professors use these hypothetical situations as frequently as the others. In one Professors class, I counted five times when he began telling a story that involved a future or hypothetical situation that the students played a role in. This number was fewer than I was expecting, after hearing far more in other Torts classes. The importance of counting is highlighted heresometimes what we think were observing, (whether due to past experience or expectations) may not be the case!

Sometimes what we think were observing, whether due to past experience or expectations, may not be the case!

In addition to stylistics, performance also varied between professors. There were some interesting things to note in Professor Supers use of hypothetical situations. He would change the tone and prosody of his voice, in often comical ways, when he using reported speech within the story. Other times, such as in the example above when he was speaking as a Supreme Court justice, he would use a very low, booming voice, perhaps in order to convey an idea of power.
As the semester progressed,

the students became more likely to adopt this method of story creation through hypotheticals. They would stop answering questions with the lawyer would do x and enter into the story world:
Student: I think they still have to consider that they wouldyou would have to pay for the non-pecuniary damages to the person up until the point that that person was around. Like, you still factor that in that there would be other people affected by the injury that youre inflicting now on this person.

Here we see a repairwhere a student corrects herself midsentenceand instead of using 3rd personal plural they, she adopts the teachers style of 2nd person you. This carried over into the law school discourse, even outside of the classroom. During my observation of a study lounge, I observed collaboration between two students tasked with drawing up a mock contract:
Student 1: I would negotiate for change.
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Student 2: The buyer would negotiate for X and then I would reject and negotiate for Y. Thats favorable to us.

In the dialogue above, the students, outside the classroom, are discussing what they would do in a hypothetical situation. Although this is not a story told during the If a story is not about the lecture, they are still appropriating a professional voice: in an imagined future hearer, he will not listen. East context, they are making decisions within the legal institution, as opposed to saying what a of Eden lawyer would do, and excluding themselves from that institution.

Hypothetically Speaking
As I continued to research the methods used by GULC professors to cast themselves and their students as members of the legal institutional setting, I excitedly told a fellow linguist, who happened to hold a law degree as well, about my findings. I described to her that professors would launch into stories, told in present tense, but which the students were expected to understand were irrealis, modality which conveys that the stated proposition is nonactual or nonfactual (Noonan 1985), or hypothetically possible.
Oh, yeah. Hypos. she replied. Hypos? I gulped. Hypothetical situations. We abbreviate it so we dont have to say hypotheticals all the time.

I thought I had secretly uncovered, illustrated an extremely important point: as ethnographers we cannot assume that our communities of study are unaware of their own practices, linguistic or cultural. As Charlotte Linde notes, sometimes what your informants tell you or could have told youin the beginning of the study about what is important and meaningful in their community will prove to be true in the end of countless hours of field work, observation, and analysis. The value in of ethnographic study, therefore, is not always to dig up a hidden treasure buried below the consciousness, but instead to gather actual data to quantify and qualify its existence.
Her awareness of the unit of analysis
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And what could be the point of using these hypothetical situations in the law school discourse? Answering this kind of question may be more suited to discourse analysis, but taking into consideration the context of the law school process, we can begin to make some evaluations. Law students are only in school for three years, but the socialization they undergo is expected be enough to get them going in their careers and carry them through their cases. Words have to fulfill the role that experience cannot.

Review Session
In this outline, we have covered the most important elements of ethnography of communication. These include the goals and role of the participant observer herself, how to choose a community of study, and how to conduct field work. We also examined previous literature on linguistics in both the educational and legal contexts, pointing out how ethnography of law school fills a gap in the literature from both a methodological and topical standpoint. Finally, we looked for meaningful patterns in the fieldwork, drawing from our linguistic training to make connections between speech and culture. Next, we will look more deeply at what analysis can be gleaned from the transcriptions of linguistic data. As we move on from process into the realm of product, consider the following questions:
1. 2.

Where do these constructed futures emerge in the data? Why is the professor making up hypothetical situations instead of simply referencing historic cases? How does this language allow students and professors to share a culture?
lay...............................................14, 15 legalese..............................................2
M P

3.
A E

access...............................................11 ethnography...........3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 19


G L 19

making strange...................................7 Participant Observation......................5 performance.....................................17

Georgetown......................................10

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professional..................2, 6, 14, 15, 18 pronoun............................................14


R S

recording..........................................12 socialization................................12, 19 sociolinguistic...............................7, 10 Socratic Method................................13 speech community.........................2, 3 story world...........................15, 16, 17
T

thick description.................................5 Torts...........................................12, 17

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Works cited:

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