MAURIZIO GOTTI / CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS Introduction 7
MAURIZIO GOTTI / CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS Introduction 1. Legal discourse across languages and cultures The starting point for this volume was the International Conference hosted by CERLIS University of Bergamo between 18 and 20 June 2009 on ‘Researching Language and the Law: Intercultural Perspec- tives’. The conference had aroused considerable curiosity, and a live- ly, fruitful debate had emerged among scholars from a variety of aca- demic backgrounds whose interests converged on themes relating to intercultural legal linguistics. Legal language seen from cross-cultural perspectives brings together two areas of research that have burgeoned in recent years, i.e. legal linguistics and intercultural studies. It is almost half a century since the American scholar David Mellinkoff published his ground- breaking work The Language of the Law (1963), which was to prove so influential in stigmatizing the vagaries of English legal language. Since then – and especially over the last 15 years or so – a large num- ber of publications have been devoted to analysing various aspects of legal language: for example, within the space of a single decade seve- ral volumes in the Peter Lang Linguistic Insights series have been devoted to legal language alone. Besides works dealing with legal lan- guage in more general terms (e.g. Tiersma 1999) there are now flou- rishing areas of expertise in specialized fields of legal linguistics, such as forensic linguistics (e.g. Olsson 2008), legal translation (e.g. Šare- vi 2000), comparative legal linguistics (e.g. Mattila 2006), or plain legal language (e.g. Asprey 2010). There has also been a...
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