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Lectures on Legal Linguistics

Marcus Galdia

This book describes law from the perspective of its language. It expands, reformulates and reshapes the author’s previous book «Legal Linguistics». The recomposed text corresponds to lectures held for students of legal linguistics and scholars interested in the fundamental legal-linguistic research. The author focuses on legal-linguistic operations such as legal argumentation and legal interpretation that steer the legal discourse. He also explains the processes in which the meaning of law emerges in discursive practices. Furthermore, he scrutinizes problems of textuality of law. This book is also an introduction into the law of linguistic communication and into legal futurology that comprises linguistic aspects of legal globalization.

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Part 3: Linguistic Operations in Law


Part 3: Linguistic Operations in Law

While characterizing the language use in the preceding chapter we found out that legal terminology, although as such interesting and of practical importance, is nevertheless not the essential topic in pragmatically oriented legal linguistics. Therefore, in the following chapter I will introduce another, more relevant concept of a linguistic operation in law. Subsequently, I will analyze some legal-linguistic operations such as argumentation, interpretation, and translation, mostly from the perspective of the speech act theory and the discourse theory. Finally, I will clarify why legal-linguistic operations are essential to legal discourses. After having studied this chapter the reader will master the legal-linguistic method and she will be able to work as a legal linguist. In order to work professionally on legal-linguistic problems some experience is needed. This experience can be acquired from Notes and Commented Materials that form the last part of this book. In any case, studying cases should be taken seriously because purely theoretical knowledge that is acquired from the scrutiny of legal-linguistic methodology remains sterile. I may recall at this point that legal linguistics aims at the transformation of the legal science in accordance with the legal-linguistic method that is called here briefly ‘linguistic turn’. The linguistic turn in law cannot be achieved solely through reflection upon the problems of contemporary legal science. Practical work on cases and materials is therefore a methodological necessity in legal linguistics.

3.1 Overcoming Terminological Boundaries

In the foregoing chapter we...

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