Authors
Sol Azuelos-Atias
University of Haifa
Abstract
I will suggest, in this article, a possible explanation of the fact that legal language appears incoherent to the general public. I will present one legal text (an indictment), explaining why it appears incoherent to legal laypersons. I will argue that the traits making this particular text appear incoherent are, first, that a specialized legal meaning is conveyed implicitly and, second, that there are no key-words that could direct laypersons to the knowledge making this meaning obvious to legalists. I will conclude that any legal text having these traits is likely to appear incoherent to the general public and suggest that the traits making my example appear incoherent might be rather common among the various texts of the various legal systems. On this suggestion there is no need to assume any causal relation between lawyers’ social interests and the apparent incoherence of legal language as it entails that this incoherence is inevitable. (I will argue that it is a result of the facts that legal language is ordinary language used, in the ordinary way, in the special context of the legal discourse.)
Keywords Speaker’s meaning  Relevance theory  Logical form  Semiotic group  Legal discourse  Court interpretation  Circumstantial evidence  Key-word
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DOI 10.1007/s11196-010-9176-7
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References found in this work BETA

Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.
Relevance Theory.Deirdre Wilson & Dan Sperber - 2002 - In L. Horn & G. Ward (eds.), The Handbook of Pragmatics. Blackwell. pp. 607-632.
Symbolic Logic.Irving M. Copi - 1965 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 32 (2):252-255.

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Citations of this work BETA

Getting Into Mischief: On What It Means to Appeal to the U.S. Constitution.Daniel Frost - 2015 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 28 (2):267-287.
Manipulation by Deliberate Failure of Communication.Sol Azuelos-Atias - 2015 - Pragmatics and Society 6 (4):502-516.

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