Language, Meaning and the Law


Language, Meaning, and the Law clearly covers debates concerning linguistic meaning and interpretation in relation to legal language. Law is an ideal domain for studying fundamental questions relating to how we assign meanings to words, understand and comment on texts, and deal with socially and ideologically significant questions of interpretation. This book argues that theoretical issues of concern to linguists, philosophers, literary theorists, and others are made vivid by the demands of the legal context, since law is driven by the need for practical solutions and for determinate outcomes based on explicit reasoning. Topics covered include: the relationship between linguistics and legal theory, indeterminacy and statutory interpretation, the theory and practice of using dictionaries in law, defamation and language in the public sphere, and the distinction between perjury and deception.

The book is designed as a self-contained, advanced introduction to a fascinating area of study, and the reader will gain an overall insight into issues and debates about meaning and interpretation as well as an understanding of how the legal context shapes these questions.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Edinburgh
Publication year:
  • 2009


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