Edited By Barbara Kryk-Kastovsky
Communication gaps in seventeenth century Britain:Explaining legal Scots to English practitioners. Joanna Kopaczyk, Poznan
Communication gaps in seventeenth century Britain: Explaining legal Scots to English practitioners1 Joanna Kopaczyk, Pozna 1. Setting the historical background This paper identifies communication gaps in the legal domain in a seventeenth-century British setting. Can one talk about intercultural miscommunication here? The historical multicultural character of the British Isles has recently been addressed again by Edwards (2004) and Ronowicz and Yallop (2007). In both books, a short space is devoted to Scotland and its inclusion in the growing sphere of political and economic hegemony of England in the seventeenth-to-eighteenth centuries.2 Even though Britain towards the end of the seventeenth century could be broadly described as a linguistic continuum, it is justifiable to talk about intercultural communication between the two major geopolitical bodies within the island.3 Clearly, Scotland and England rose from different historical backgrounds; they had a long history of mutual conflicts and animosities; their land- scape and geography were different; their economy was different; their customs and laws were distinct; and the people practised their religion under different ideological convictions. All these aspects fall within the concept of culture, as the environment in which a given group functions becomes reflected in material and non-material culture (cf. the definition of culture in Johnson (ed.) 2000: 73-74). Hofstede and Hofstede (2005: 4) stress the fact that culture is learned and that it defines its members; it is “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others”. This recognition of collective distinctiveness...
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