Confs: Pragmatics, Forensic Linguistics/Belgium

Legal Pragmatics

Date: 26-Jul-2015 – 31-Jul-2015
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Contact: Dennis Kurzon
Contact Email:

Linguistic Field(s): Forensic Linguistics; Pragmatics

Meeting Description:

Legal pragmatics may be said to have been created with the publication of John Austin’s Harvard lectures How to Do Things With Words in 1962, in which he illustrates the concept of performative by legal and quasi-legal utterances such as “I do” as in “I do take this woman to be my lawful wedded wife”, or “I give and bequeath my watch to my brother”. The concept of speech acts – without the modern terminology – has of course been understood by jurists and others for a long time, e.g. John Austin 1832, Olivecrona 1939 (1971), Hart 1961.

Much water has flown under the bridge since Austin’s work and the work of his successor John Searle became known to philosophers of language and to linguists in the 1960s and 1970s. Later, Grice’s Cooperative Principle and his analysis of the distinction between literal and non-literal meaning have come into the picture. The panel on legal pragmatics will reflect not only various pragmatic approaches to legal discourse but also the analysis of legal discourse as a source of evidence for pragmatic turns.

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-3189