Functions of Courtroom Responses in Cognitive Context Construction and the Realization of Litigants’ Communicative Aims in Chinese Court Hearing

Yunfeng GE


In Chinese court hearing, litigants usually make responses to the questions of the judge or the public prosecutor on the basis of their communicative aims. However, few studies have been conducted to investigate the process how their communicative aims are realized. This paper, based on the relevant theories on cognitive context construction, aims to reveal the functions of courtroom responses in the construction of cognitive context and how litigants realize their communicative aims thereby. It is found that litigants’ responses in Chinese court hearing usually take four forms: H-Act, S-Act, H+S-Act and E-Act. They participate actively in the construction of such cognitive context as “knowledge script”, “psychological schema” and “socio-psychological representation”. It is through the construction of cognitive context with the different forms of responses that litigants finally realize their communicative aims.

Key words: Courtroom responses; Cognitive context; Communicative aims; Court hearing


Courtroom responses; Cognitive context; Communicative aims; Court hearing


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