Interactions between/among investigation agencies/agents and suspects, offenders, the accused as well as ‘criminals’ have attracted scholarly attention, particularly from fields of study such as Law, Sociology and Psychology. More often than not, scholarly works in these fields have focused on the use of physical force by law-enforcement agents in dealing with suspects, offenders, the accused and ‘criminals’, a practice that sometimes ultimately culminates in the violation of their fundamental human rights, following the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948. However, in recent times, linguists interested in investigative interactions and crime-related discourses have observed the issue of human rights violation in such interactions has gone beyond the use of physical force by law-enforcement agents. Such linguists have noted that law enforcement agents, apart from effectively deploying linguistic and paralinguistic tools in seeking confessions from suspects, offenders, the accused and ‘criminals in crime-related encounters, often subtly violate their fundamental rights in such encounters with the use of language. In some other instances, suspects, offenders, the accused and ‘criminals’ too have been observed to craftily deploy (non)linguistic resources as a tool to negotiate their rights, innocence and non-culpability during crime-related interactions. Given the relative newness of forensic linguistics in the Nigerian and African contexts, these phenomena and other intrinsic linguistic dimensions to the criminal, adjudication and justice system in Nigeria and by extension in Africa, have not been extensively explored, creating a great lacuna in the scholarship around the nexus between/among language, crime and legalese in the Nigerian/African space. In view of this, PRAGMATICS OF CRIME-RELATED DISCOURSES IN AFRICA (a special issue in Research in Pragmatics) calls for scholarly contributions to examine the dynamics of language use in investigative and crime-related discourses in the African context, particularly within the humanistic scholarship. In particular, this special edition welcomes contributions on, but not limited to the following sub-themes:

  • Discourse (acts) in crime investigation interactions
  • Ideologies in crime-related discourses/interactions
  • (A)symmetrical power relations and language use in crime-related discourses/interactions
  • Power negotiation in crime-related discourses/interactions
  • Linguistic representation of suspects and police officers in crime-related newspaper reports
  • Language and style in cybercrime discourse

Articles (with abstracts not more than 250 words) should not exceed 7000 words. The APA reference style (6th edition) is recommended. In line with the practice of Research in Pragmatics, articles will be subjected to blind peer-review process and contributors will be contacted for necessary actions. All submissions should be forwarded to not later than 31 March, 2021.

Guest Editors:

Adegbite, Adewale, PhD (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria)

Ajayi, Temitope Michael, PhD (University of Ibadan, Nigeria),

Akinrinlola, Temidayo, PhD (McPherson University, Nigeria),