Between Solidarity and Polarity
: The Attitudinal Voice within Jordanian Pleadings' Discourse

  • Ala Bassam Ibrahim Alqtaishat

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Language is defined as a rule-governed behaviour, and law is inextricably seen as a language- governed behaviour. Language prevails over each aspect of daily legal settings, such as legislation, jurisprudence, adjudication, and pleading. Pleading is known as the people’s gateway to file a lawsuit over a dispute or crime. Under the umbrella of Jurilinguistics, this study aims at investigating the rhetoric of pleading, considering it as a new genre to be studied from a pragmalinguistic perspective. It seeks to reveal how litigation professionals deploy particular linguistic resources as persuasive strategies for arguing their stance in front of civil and criminal courtrooms.
Data of this study are collected from different Jordanian courts and law firms, including two datasets: 100 civil pleas and 100 penal pleas. The Arabic version of the data was phonetically transcribed then translated into English. In the light of Martin and White’s Appraisal System (2005), pleas were analysed for understanding how Affect, Engagement, and Graduation impinge on the litigants’ persuasive strategies in the court. For this purpose, four levels of analysis were measured: the authorial voice, the use of Appraisal resources, the orientation of those resources, and polarity.
Findings concluded that courtroom pleading is not only a doctrine, but it is a dynamic genre that is designated through rhetorical ideology. It establishes “relational solidarity” as coined by Saguy et al. (2008). Empirical evidence revealed that civil pleadings deploy Graduation formulations greater than other appraisal resources whereas criminal pleadings show greater tendency to employ affective and dialogic formulations. In addition, it was disclosed that Appraisal resources are realised in different ways in each type of plea. Each of Attitude,
Engagement, and Graduation reckonings are employed in fluctuating frequencies that meet the pleas’ communicative goals and the legal professionals’ roles in filing them.
Date of Award20 Nov 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorLee Oakley (Supervisor), Moufida Sadok (Supervisor) & Mario Saraceni (Supervisor)

Cite this