An illusion of understanding

how native and non-native speakers of English understand (and misunderstand) their Miranda rights

Authors

  • Aneta Pavlenko University of Oslo
  • Elizabeth Hepford
  • Scott Jarvis University of Utah

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.39163

Keywords:

police interrogation, Miranda rights, non-native speakers, second language (L2) proficiency

Author Biographies

Aneta Pavlenko, University of Oslo

Aneta Pavlenko is Research Professor of Applied Linguistcis at the Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan at the University of Oslo. Her research examines the relationship between multilingualism, cognition, and emotions, including in forensic contexts. She has testified in court as an expert in forensic linguistics, has lectured widely in North America, Europe and Asia and has authored more than a hundred articles and ten books, the most recent of which is The bilingual mind and what it tells us about language and thought (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Elizabeth Hepford

Elizabeth Hepford is Assistant Professor of the Practice of TESOL at Wesleyan University. Her research interests include complexity, accuracy and fluency development, Complex Dynamic Systems theory and bilingual language policies. She has published research in the area of language policy related to business practices.

References

ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) (2012) ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. Retrieved on 19 November 2018 from https://www.actfl.org/publications/guidelines-and-manuals/actfl-proficiency-guidelines-2012

Ainsworth, J. (2008) ‘You have the right to remain silent … but only if you ask for it just so’: The role of linguistic ideology in American police interrogation law. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 15(1): 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.v15i1.1

Ainsworth, J. (2010) Miranda rights: curtailing coercion in police interrogation: the failed promise of Miranda v. Arizona. In M. Coulthard and A. Johnson (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics 111–125. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203855607.ch8

Atkins, E. L. and Weiss, K. J. (2011) Competency to waive Miranda rights. In E. Drogin, F. Dattilio, R. Sadoff and T. Gutheil (eds) Handbook of Forensic Assessment: Psychological and Psychiatric Perspectives 25–48. New York: John Wiley & Sons. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118093399.ch2

Berk-Seligson, S. (2009) Coerced Confessions: The Discourse of Bilingual Police Interrogations. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Blackwood, H. L., Rogers, R., Steadham, J. A. and Fiduccia, C. E. (2015) Investigating Miranda waiver decisions: an examination of rational consequences. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 42–43: 11–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlp.2015.08.002

Chaulk, S., Eastwood, J. and Snook, B. (2014) Measuring and predicting police caution comprehension in adult offenders. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 56(3): 323–340. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjccj.2013.e02

Cloud, M., Shepherd, G., Barkoff, A. and Shur, J. (2002) Words without meaning: the constitution, confessions, and mentally retarded suspects. The University of Chicago Law Review 69(2): 495–624. https://doi.org/10.2307/1600500

CoE (Council of Europe) (2018) Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Companion Volume with New Descriptors. Retrieved on 19 November 2018 from https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-languages/level-descriptions

Cooper, V. and Zapf, P. (2008) Psychiatric patients’ comprehension of Miranda rights. Law and Human Behavior 32(5): 390–405. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10979-007-9099-3

CoRG (Communication of Rights Group) (2015) Guidelines for Communicating Rights to Non-native Speakers of English in Australia, England and Wales, and the USA. Retrieved on 19 November 2018 from https://www.aaal.org/guidelines-for-communication-rights

Domanico, A., Cicchini, M. and White, L. (2012) Overcoming Miranda: a content analysis of the Miranda portion of the police interrogations. Idaho Law Review 49(1): 1–22.

Eades, D. (2010) Sociolinguistics and the Legal Process. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Eades, D. (2018) Communicating the right to silence to Aboriginal suspects: lessons from Western Australia v Gibson. Journal of Judicial Administration 28: 4–21.

Eggington, W. and Cox, T. (2013) Using elicited oral response testing to determine the need for an interpreter. Harvard Latino Law Review 16: 127–146.

Einesman, F. (2010) Cultural issues in motions to suppress statements. In L. Friedman Ramirez (ed.) Cultural Issues in Criminal Defense 559–628. Huntington, NY: Juris Publishing.

English, F. (2010) Non-native speakers in detention: assessing non-native speaking detainees’ English language proficiency. In M. Coulthard and A. Johnson (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Forensic Linguistics 423–439. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203855607.ch28

Feld, B. (2006) Juveniles’ competence to exercise Miranda rights: an empirical study of policy and practice. Minnesota Law Review 91(1): 26-100.

Feld, B. (2013) Real interrogation: what actually happens when cops question kids Law & Society Review 47(1): 1–36. https://doi.org/10.1111/lasr.12000

Fenner, S., Gudjonsson, G. H. and Clare, I. C. H. (2002) Understanding of the current police caution (England and Wales) among suspects in police detention. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 12(2): 83–93. https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.658

Goldstein, A. and Sevin Goldstein, N. E. (2010) Evaluating Capacity to Waive Miranda Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/med/9780195366174.001.0001

Goldstein, A., Zelle, H. and Grisso, T. (2012) Miranda Rights Comprehension Instruments: MRCI. New York: Professional Resource Press.

Grisso, T. (1981) Juveniles’ Waiver of Rights: Legal and Psychological Competence. New York: Plenum.

Grisso, T. (1998) Instruments for Assessing Understanding and Appreciation of Miranda Rights. New York: Professional Resource Press.

Hulstijn, J. (2011) Language proficiency in native and nonnative speakers: an agenda for research and suggestions for second-language assessment. Language Assessment Quarterly 8(3): 229–249. https://doi.org/10.1080/15434303.2011.565844

Hulstijn, J. (2015) Language Proficiency in Native and Non-native Speakers: Theory and Research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/lllt.41

Innes, B. and Erlam, R. (2018) Did he understand his rights? Assessing the comprehensibility of police cautions in New Zealand. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 25(1): 21–51. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.32748

Kassin, S. M., Leo, R. A., Meissner, C. A., Richman, K. D., Colwell, L. H., Leach, A.-M. and La Fon, D. (2007) Police interviewing and interrogation: a self-report survey of police practices and beliefs. Law and Human Behavior 31(4): 381–400. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10979-006-9073-5

Larson-Hall, J. (2010) A Guide to Doing Statistics in Second Language Research Using SPSS. New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203875964

Leo, R. (2008) Police Interrogation and American Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lu, X. (2010) Automatic analysis of syntactic complexity in second language writing. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 15(4): 474–496. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.15.4.02lu

MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) (2017) Linking the Common European Framework of Reference and the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery. Technical report. Retrieved on 19 November 2018 from https://michiganassessment.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/MELAB-CEFR-Linking-Technical-Report.pdf

Papageorgiou, S., Tannenbaum, R., Bridgeman, B. and Cho, Y. (2015) The Association between TOEFL iBT Test Scores and the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) Levels. Retrieved on 19 November 2018 from https://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/RM-15-06.pdf

Pavlenko, A. (2008) ‘I’m very not about the law part’: nonnative speakers of English and the Miranda warnings. TESOL Quarterly 42(1): 1–30. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1545-7249.2008.tb00205.x

Rock, F. (2007) Communicating Rights: The Language of Arrest and Detention. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rogers, R., Correa, A. A., Hazelwood, L. L., Shuman, D. W., Hoersting, R. C. and Blackwood, H. L. (2009) Spanish translations of Miranda Warnings and the totality of the circumstances. Law and Human Behavior 33(1): 61–69. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10979-008-9129-9

Rogers, R. and Drogin, E. (2015) Miranda rights and wrongs: matters of justice. Court Review 51: 150–156.

Rogers, R., Fiduccia, C. E., Drogin, E. Y, Steadham, J. A., Clark III, J. W. and Cramer, R. J. (2013) General knowledge and misknowledge of Miranda rights: are effective Miranda advisements still necessary? Psychology, Public Policy and Law 19(4): 432–442. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033964

Rogers, R., Harrison, K. S., Hazelwood, L. L. and Sewell, K. W. (2007) Knowing and intelligent: a study of Miranda warnings in mentally disordered defendants. Law and Human Behavior 31(4): 401–418. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10979-006-9070-8

Rogers, R., Harrison, K. S., Shuman, D. W., Sewell, K. W. and Hazelwood, L. L. (2007) An analysis of Miranda warnings and waivers: comprehension and coverage. Law and Human Behavior 31(2): 177–192. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10979-006-9054-8

Rogers, R., Rogstad, J. E., Gillard, N. D., Drogin, E. Y., Blackwood, H. L. and Shuman. D. W. (2010) ‘Everyone knows their Miranda rights’: implicit assumptions and countervailing evidence. Psychology, Public Policy and Law 16(3): 300–318. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019316

Rogers, R., Rogstad, J. E., Steadham, J. A. and Drogin, E. Y. (2011) In plain English: avoiding recognized problems with Miranda miscomprehension. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 17(2): 264–285. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0022508

Rogers, R., Sewell, K., Drogin, E. and Fiduccia, C. (2012) Standardized Assessment of Miranda Abilities (SAMA). New York: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Scherr, K. C. and Madon. S. (2013) ‘Go ahead and sign’: an experimental examination of Miranda waivers and comprehension. Law and Human Behavior 37(3): 208–218. https://doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000026

Sevin Goldstein, N. E., Riggs Romaine, C., Zelle, H., Kalbeitzer, R., Mesiarik, C. and Wolbransky, M. (2011) Psychometric properties of the Miranda Rights Comprehension Instruments with a juvenile justice sample. Assessment 18(4): 428–441. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191111400280

Shuy, R. W. (1997) Ten unanswered language questions about Miranda. Forensic Linguistics 4(2): 175–196. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.v4i2.175

Snook, B., Eastwood, J. and McDonald. S. (2010) A descriptive analysis of how Canadian police officers administer the right-to-silence and right-to-legal-counsel cautions. Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 52(5): 545–560. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjccj.52.5.545

US Census Bureau (2018) 2017 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. Retrieved on 19 November 2018 from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_17_1YR_S0501&prodType=table

Wrightsman, L. and Pitman, M. (2010) The Miranda Ruling: Its Past, Present and Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cases cited

Colorado v. Spring, 479 U.S. 157 (1986).

Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428 (2000).

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

Published

2020-03-02

How to Cite

Pavlenko, A., Hepford, E., & Jarvis, S. (2020). An illusion of understanding: how native and non-native speakers of English understand (and misunderstand) their Miranda rights. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 26(2), 181–207. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.39163

Issue

Section

Articles