Show Less

Legal Discourse across Languages and Cultures


Edited By Maurizio Gotti and Christopher John Williams

The chapters constituting this volume focus on legal language seen from cross-cultural perspectives, a topic which brings together two areas of research that have burgeoned in recent years, i.e. legal linguistics and intercultural studies, reflecting the rapidly changing, multifaceted world in which legal institutions and cultural/national identities interact. Within the broad thematic leitmotif of this volume, it has been possible to identify two major strands: legal discourse across languages on the one hand, and legal discourse across cultures on the other. Of course, labels of this kind are adopted partly as a matter of convenience, and it could be argued that any paper dealing with legal discourse across languages inevitably has to do with legal discourse across cultures. But a closer inspection of the papers comprising each of these two strands reveals that there is a coherent logic behind the choice of labels. All seven chapters in the first section are concerned with legal topics where more than one language is at stake, whereas all seven chapters in the second section are concerned with legal topics where cultural differences are brought to the fore.


Show Summary Details
Restricted access



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...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.