Meaning and Power in the Language of Law

Meaning and Power in the Language of Law

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date of Publication:
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Product details:

No. of pages:344 pages
Size:229x152x18 mm
Weight:465 g
Illustrations: 22 b/w illus. 19 tables
Short description:

A new perspective on how far law's power derives from socially situated communication rather than from abstract rules.

Long description:
Legal practitioners, linguists, anthropologists, philosophers and others have all explored fundamental challenges presented by language in formulating, interpreting and applying laws. Building on centuries of interaction between legal practice and jurisprudence, the modern field of 'law and language', or 'forensic linguistics', brings insights in linguistics and related fields to bear on topics including legal drafting and translation, statutory interpretation, expert evidence on language use and dynamics of courtroom interaction. This volume presents an interlocking series of research studies engaged with different legal jurisdictions and socio-political contexts as well as with the more abstract notion of 'law'. Together the chapters, written by international leaders in their fields, highlight recent directions in research and investigate in particular how law expresses yet also conceals power relations in its crafted use of words and in the gaps and silence between those words.

'The editors of this book have put together a collection of articles discussing the unsaid in law, which is broad in scope and wide-ranging in theoretical backgrounds, making it a must for all those interested in the language of the law, and its implications.' Dennis Kurzon, University of Haifa, Israel
Table of Contents:
Editors' Introduction Janny H. C. Leung and Alan Durant; Part I. Sui generis or Socially Problematic: The Character of Legal Language: 1. The unspoken language of the law Laura Nader; 2. Seeing sense: the complexity of key words that tell us what law is Alan Durant; 3. Hiding in plain sight: the category of ordinary language and the case law domain of transgender marriage Christopher Hutton; Part II. Imperfect Fit between Legal Categories and Social Discourse: 4. Effects of translation on the invisible power wielded by language in the legal sphere: the case of Nepal Katsuo Nawa; 5. The language of film and the representation of legal subjectivity in Juno Mak's Rigor Mortis Marco Wan; Part III. Written in Silence: Hidden Social Meanings in Legal Discourse: 6. Let the fingers do the talking: language, gesture and power in closing argument Greg Matoesian and Kristin Enola Gilbert; 7. Questions about questioning: courtroom practice in China and the USA Meizhen Liao; 8. Law, language and community sentiment: behind hate speech doctrine in India Siddharth Narrain; Part IV. Conflict between Linguistic and Legal ideologies: 9. When voices fail to carry: voice projection and the case of the 'dumb' jury Chris Heffer; 10. Ideology and political meaning in legal translation Janny H. C. Leung; Part V. Demands of Law and Limits of Language: 11. Law and the grammar of judgment Janet Ainsworth; 12. Legal indeterminacy in the spoken word Lawrence M. Solan and Silvia Dahmen; Afterword: 13. The said of the unsaid Peter Goodrich.