Analysis of an accused murderer's narrative and the identification of "discourse peaks" within it

Rakefet Dilmon, Uri Timor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents and demonstrates theories that enable parts of a narrative to be isolated for the purpose of examining hidden meanings in a wide-ranging discourse: Longacre's theory of "discourse peaks", the author's method of identifying unmistakable linguistic characterizations of deceit in Hebrew, and narrative criminology. Many narratives that are produced under circumstances of criminal investigation or in therapeutic situations include details that have no investigative or therapeutic importance. These details, however, frequently contain information whose content is critical for the investigator or the therapist. By identifying "discourse peaks" in the narrative (digressions from the habitual language in the discourse that attest to a shift in the thinking or in the intentions of the person producing the discourse), the segments in the discourse that incorporate this important information can be isolated. The article exemplifies this theory by analyzing the narrative of a murderer who denied his guilt: it first presents an analysis of the accused's narrative and then goes on to demonstrate the efficacy of the discourse peak method in evaluating segments that contain information of greater importance within the entire text in relation to the homogeneity of the text.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-53
Number of pages28
Journalעיונים בשפה וחברה
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

IHP Publications

  • ihp
  • Crime
  • Criminal investigation
  • Discourse analysis
  • Guilt
  • Narration (Rhetoric)
  • אשמה
  • חקירה פלילית
  • חקר השיח
  • נרטיב
  • פשיעה


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