Judge’s Persuasive Language in a Chinese Civil Case

A SFL Perspective


  • Wang Zhenhua Shanghai Jiao Tong University




elaboration, genre, interference, mediation, persuasion, register, suggestion


This paper looks into the linguistic forces of persuasion of the woman judge in a Chinese civil trial. The judge was mediating the conflicts of the two parties in a local court. The two parties were in strong disagreement over compensation and the price for purchasing the bungalow of the plaintiff. She was successful in solving the conflicts. This paper approaches the mediation of persuasion from the Systemic Functional model, and examines the generic features in the context of culture and register features in the context of situation. The analysis of genre finds that she uses the strategy of interference, elaboration and suggestion/proposal to fulfill her solution. The analysis of register finds that she employs proper linguistic tactics in the changing context of situation. Her proper tactics instantiates her strategy and the coupling of the two contribute to the successful mediation. One implication this paper draws is that one’s attitude changes the others’ attitude.

Author Biography

Wang Zhenhua, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Wang Zhenhua, got his MA degree from The University of Sydney, Australia, PhD degree from Henan University, China, and worked as a Post-doctoral fellow at Fudan University, China. Now he is working at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) as a professor, PhD and MA students supervisor, Executive director of Martin Centre for Appiable Linguistcs, head of English Department, director of The Post doctoral Program of Foreign Languages and Literature Studies, SJTU. He is currently vice chairman of China Association of Functional Linguistics, vice chairman of China Association of Forensic Linguistics, expertise consultant of Jinboda Law Firm (Shanghai Branch). He is on the editorial board of International Journal of Law, Language and Discourse, Contemporary Foreign Languages Studies, Studies in Functional Linguistics and Discourse Analysis, international advisor for International Journal for Semiotics of Law.


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How to Cite

Zhenhua, W. (2015). Judge’s Persuasive Language in a Chinese Civil Case: A SFL Perspective. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 10(3), 247–262. https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.v10i3.29300