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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 6: Law of Linguistic Communication


Part 6: Law of Linguistic Communication

Human communication takes place in processes of creation and interpretation of interconnected signs. In the area of law the most interesting signs are legal signs, yet other signs accompany them. They enable the emergence of meaning in law and are constitutive of the legal discourse. More often than not these legal and non-legal signs are not strictly linguistic (e.g. gestures such as handshakes or design of courts of law or design of courtrooms). Meanwhile, they may also be perceived as a background to linguistic communication in law as the understanding of legal discourses is exhaustive only toward the background and within the interplay of legal and non-legal verbal and non-verbal sign systems. However, the importance of strictly linguistic communication in law cannot be put aside; speaking, reading, and writing are activities that technically dominate professional and non-professional activities in the area of law. Legal linguistics researches the way legislators and other jurists influence communication processes through legislative acts. It asks whether law structures linguistic communication in line with our knowledge about the functioning of linguistic processes. When jurists’ approaches to communication correspond to linguistic insights the legal linguist can withdraw from the field as his further involvement would be obsolete. When however the legal linguist discovers a discrepancy between the linguistic and the legal understanding of communication, he has to get involved in the best interest of speakers. Law as a discursive practice cannot work differently from other productive discourses in our...

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