International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 14, No 1 (2007)

The pragmatic use of gender in Latina women's legal narratives of abuse

Shonna Trinch
Issued Date: 19 Sep 2007


This paper examines the way in which gender is constructed in narratives of abuse by U.S. Latina women and legal professionals within the U.S. legal context of the protective
order application interview. Though traditional gender roles can be oppressive for men and women, the analysis undertaken here illustrates how Latina women
pragmatically and linguistically utilize their language resources to perform some roles of traditional womanhood in order to free themselves from abusive relationships.
Through their strategic use of referential and non-referential linguistic devices, these Latinas speak up about the violence in their lives. They also manage to speak against the strict victim-identity the U.S. legal system tries to impose on them by performing as good mothers, good wives and good citizens.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsll.v14i1.51


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