Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number2.  June 2022                                            Pp.140-156

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Investigating the Legal Discourse of Bill Clinton’s Impeachment Trial 

Bader Nasser Aldosari
 Business Administration Department
College of Science and Humanities
Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia


 Received:  3/14/2022                   Accepted: 4/10/2022                          Published:6/24/2022


This paper presents a legal discourse analysis of Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial held in 1998. The paper’s main objective is to explore the different meanings communicated by the dexterous use of some lexical and pragmatic strategies used by discourse interlocutors involved in the trial. More specifically, the article offers a linguistic study of the testimony and statements of President Bill Clinton relating to his impeachment trial. The paper focuses on three main analytical dimensions: word selection, power relations, and questioning and answering, and the way these strategies influence the discourse participants’ conversational performance in the selected trial. To this end, this study draws on a legal discourse analysis approach as discussed by Coulthard (2013) and Mey (2016), focusing on lexicalization, the notion of power, and the use of questions and answers in courtroom settings. The overarching research question is: What are the different ideological and pragmatic meanings targeted beyond the use of selected words during the trial? Results reveal that language is a powerful tool in courtroom testimonies as it helps to extract information, verify evidence, draw legal outcomes, and encode and/or decode the underpinning meanings of courtroom discourse participants. These, in turn, serve to support or defy evidence and ultimately lead to issue a legally just decision.
Keywords: Clinton, courtroom, ideology, impeachment trial, legal discourse

Cite as:  Aldosari, B N.  (2022). Investigating the Legal Discourse of Bill Clinton’s Impeachment Trial .
Arab World English Journal, 13 (2). 140-156.


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Received: 3/14/2022 
Accepted: 4/10/2022 
Published: 6/24/2022

Bader Nasser Aldosari is an Assistant Professor, Head of Business Administration Department, College of Science & Humanities, Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. He got his PhD degree in Law Studies at School of Law, Politics and Sociology at the University of Sussex, UK, in 2018. His research interests include law studies, law and politics, and legal language.