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Interpersonality in Legal Genres


Ruth Breeze, Maurizio Gotti and Carmen Sancho Guinda

Few concepts in Discourse Studies are so versatile and intricate and have been so frequently contested as interpersonality. This construct offers ample terrain for new research, since it can be viewed using a range of diverse theoretical frameworks, employing a variety of analytical tools and social perspectives.
Studies on the relationship between writer/reader and speaker/audience in the legal field are still scarce, dispersed, and limited to a narrow range of genres and a restricted notion of interpersonality, since they are most often confined to modality and the Gricean cooperative principles.
This volume is meant to help bridge this gap. Its chapters show the realisation and distribution of interpersonal features in specific legal genres. The aim is to achieve an expansion of the concept of interpersonality, which besides modality, Grice’s maxims and other traditionally interpersonal features, might comprise or relate to ideational and textual issues like narrative disclosure, typography, rhetorical variation, or Plain English, among others.
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Contractual Commitment or Obligation? The Linguistic Interactions in Charter Parties


In the words of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the history of the world is one of “conquest, trade and exploration by sea”.1 Nevertheless, and despite the importance of shipping trade in the present-day globalized world – it is calculated that 90% of global trade is carried out by sea, and this volume is on the increase −, few studies have been carried out on the linguistic meaning and the wording of the documents which regulate such trade and its control, such as bills of lading, insurance policies and charter parties (Orts 2006: 170). Specifically the latter, which constitute the focus of this chapter, have also attracted little critical analysis, with some exceptions (Van Hooydonk 2003; Bhatia 2010). These studies have been carried out from the point of view of legal interpretation and understanding, and not from any linguistic perspective. With the present analysis of the genre constituted by charter parties, I intend to shed some light on the mechanics that articulate this particular form of contract as a genre and on the interactions that take place between the dramatis personae involved in them. ← 87 | 88 →

1. Charter parties in context

Chartering, and particularly voyage chartering, is the oldest way of exploitation of commercial ships. Indeed, maritime law − a normative body which consists of rules and regulations related to the shipping industry − has its roots in ancient times, when trade and commerce through sea routes became a flourishing business. Within maritime law, contracts of affreightment...

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