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Researching Language and the Law

Textual Features and Translation Issues

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Edited By Davide Simone Giannoni and Celina Frade

This volume reflects the latest work of scholars specialising in the linguistic and legal aspects of normative texts across languages (English, Danish, French, Italian, Spanish) and law systems. Like other domains of specialised language use, legal discourse is subject to the converging pressures of internationalisation and of emerging practices that destabilise well-established norms and routines. In an integrated, interdependent context, supranational laws, rules and procedures are gradually developed and harmonised to regulate issues that can no longer be dealt with by national laws alone, as in the case of the European Union. The contributors discuss the impact of such developments on the construction, evolution and hybridisation of legal texts, analysed both linguistically and from the practitioner’s standpoint.

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D.S. GIANNONI / CELINA FRADE Introduction 7

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D.S. GIANNONI / CELINA FRADE Introduction 1. Legal discourse and its analysis Like other domains of specialised language use, legal discourse is subject to the converging pressures of internationalisation and of emerging practices that destabilise well-established norms and routines. For this reason, the metaphor of globalisation can be fruitfully applied also to the law and its textual embodiment. Although viewed primarily as a feature of international commercial transactions, globalisation has rapidly spread to areas of human activity such as politics, education and the law. In broad terms, it implies an interdependence among organisations, institutions and individuals belonging to different national contexts as they attempt “to promote global coordination of activities in (but not necessarily across) different functional subsystems” (Jessop 2000: 203). To mediate relations among these actors across national borders, globalisation relies on two symbolic communicative resources: law and language. It is law-driven in its overall effort to cover all relations within a global society and is discourse-driven insofar as it creates new language resources for conveying its ideas, constructing its practices and constituting its identities. It is plausible, therefore, to adopt the term ‘legal globalisation’ for the process that creates the legal conditions for such interchange on a global scale (Frade 2008). Although clearly influenced by the common law tradition primarily rooted in English, legal globalisation asserts its operational autonomy vis-à-vis national laws by not excluding the possibility of reciprocal influence or resistance to “attempts to brake or guide it through various forms of strategic coordination” (Jessop 2000:...

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