Language in legal contexts: The 'why' question
Keywords:sociolinguistics, language behaviour, legal language
AbstractIt may be useful to indicate briefly the manner in which this particular conference helped to shape the nature of these papers, and the particular underlying issue that they all, in very different ways, address. Many years ago, Fishman (1965) asked the fundamental question that still underpins much work in macro-sociolinguistics and in style and register analysis: 'who speaks what language to whom, and when?' But this leaves unasked, and therefore unanswered, the critical question 'why?' The reasons and motives for language behaviour, and the factors which cause language in legal contexts to differ from everyday conversational language, can largely be found in attitudes, beliefs, ideologies, and in culture in general. The papers collected here look at language in a wide range of legal contexts, but all of them examine the world view and patterns of thought that lie behind the language.
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