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Investigating Conflict Discourses in the Periodical Press


Edited By Giuliana Elena Garzone, Mara Logaldo and Francesca Santulli

The contributions collected in this book deal with the representation of conflict in the periodical press, which has often been an arena of adversarial stances, staged and enacted either within the same publication or enlarged to involve various newspapers and magazines in a series of provocations and replies. Underlying all the contributions is the awareness that the periodical press provides an ideal terrain for research on the discursive representation of conflict, having the prerogative to combine insight with a constant updating of the debate. The issue is approached in an interdisciplinary perspective, bringing linguistics and discourse analysis with Periodical Studies, hence highlighting the connection between language and ideology. The focus on lexical choices and rhetorical devices used to tackle current controversial issues such as Brexit, immigration, violence in sports, policies regarding health and food, women’s role and legal matters ultimately transcends national boundaries to become more widely representative of today’s discourses of conflict.

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Arenas of Linguistic Conflicts: The Legal Periodical Press in Belgium and Estonia


1 Introduction

In law, language plays a crucial role. Already in law school, students adopt a specific legal “jargon” indispensable to their future professional career. Each word, each sentence and each expression has a particularly significant impact in legal texts such as legislation and case law (Martyn 2005: 271–300). Thus, to understand and use law, one has to master specific words and idiomatic expressions since they have a direct specific juridical power. Legal language, i.e. the technical language of jurists, uses language in a specific and functional manner. Hence, it differs from general language used in everyday life in colloquial situations, with its vocabulary and phrasing derived from the purpose and peculiarities of usage. In comparison, technical language is more specific: its distinctive features are clarity and precision, its expressions are formal and standardised (Oksaar 1989; Otto 1981). Even though modern European legal systems, thinking and terminology find their roots in Roman Law, the meaning of legal terms may vary in the language usage depending on their legal culture (Mattila 2002). Legal language differs from language for other specific purposes in one significant aspect: it is culturally determined, associated with an individual society and its legal system.

Next to a means of communication, language is a cornerstone of a person’s identity (Hobsbawn 1995). Adopting the same kind of language makes one relate to specific professional, ethnic or national ←199 | 200→groups. National citizens identify themselves through a common language. Countries adopt mostly a...

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