29.3043, Confs: Forensic Linguistics/China

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LINGUIST List: Vol-29-3043. Mon Jul 30 2018. ISSN: 1069 - 4875.

Subject: 29.3043, Confs: Forensic Linguistics/China

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Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2018 14:20:27
From: Dieter Stein [stein at phil.hhu.de]
Subject: Pragmatics in the Legal Domain

Pragmatics in the Legal Domain 

Date: 09-Jun-2019 - 14-Jun-2019 
Location: Hong Kong, China 
Contact: Dieter Stein 
Contact Email: stein at phil.hhu.de 
Meeting URL: https://pragmatics.international/general/custom.asp?page=HongKong 

Linguistic Field(s): Forensic Linguistics 

Meeting Description: 

Pragmatics in the Legal Domain


Meizhen Liao (CCNU Wuhan, China)
Dieter Stein (HHU Düsseldorf, Germany)
Luping Zhang (CUPL Beijing, China)

The domain of law is not foremost in the minds of scholars dealing with
pragmatics. As the experience in practical work with courts and lawyers shows,
when legal scholars hear the term „pragmatics“, very likely two issues come to
their mind. What comes to mind in law is pragmatism in legal theory, and, at
best, speech acts: especially, the high-end performatives which Austin found
at hand in courts and in legally sanctioned ceremonies.  The first concern is
internal to legal theory and at best raises the issue what legal theory and
linguistic pragmatics share, the second picks out just one aspect of
linguistic pragmatics and uses it to explicate an aspect of legal theory.
Current work in both pragmatics and in law suggests that there are many more
areas where “meaning making” in the law can be illuminated by a
broadly-conceived concept of pragmatics beyond, but including, speech act
theory and its account of indirect speech acts. Even as there are many
traditions of legal interpretation which share principles with linguistic
pragmatics, pragmatics is the discipline that still appears underexploited
when it comes to contributions to the toolkit of legal scholars and to the
applied science of forensics as the use of linguistic evidence in resolving
crime. And even as common ground in these traditional areas of interpretation
goes underdeveloped, further areas are waiting to be explored, across the
range of legal genres and their pragmatic rules of interpretation, not only
written but especially spoken and digital, and their discourse rules. 
The focus of the workshop will be further narrowed by including a  contrastive
perspective, such as suggested by, e.g., intercultural pragmatics.
Sociopragmatics-based difficulties in communication between people from
different languages and cultures occur with a vengeance when the legal domain
is involved, and differences in legal cultures add to complications. For
instance, intercultural communication in the legal setting becomes difficult
when participants in the interaction have divergent linguistic, social and
pragmatic repertoires and speak different varieties of English. Different
legal cultures not only imply different pragmatic ground rules in the conduct
of legal processes, such as in oral legal genres, but, for instance,
conceptualize different “negative” speech acts as actionable crimes, with the
indirectness or literalness of these acts a major issue for actionability.


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