LINGUIST List 26.5078

Thu Nov 12 2015

Calls: General Ling/Germany

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 12-Nov-2015
From: Isabelle Gauer <>
Subject: The Fabric of Law and Language
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Full Title: The Fabric of Law and Language

Date: 18-Mar-2016 - 19-Mar-2016
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Contact Person: Isabelle Gauer
Meeting Email:
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Call Deadline: 31-Dec-2015

Meeting Description:

What do law and language have in common? To the untrained eye, both may occasionally seem erratic or even chaotic, as both can be described as ''phenomena of the third kind'': Not growing entirely rank, but not constructed to plan either - neither autonomous agents nor artificial artifacts. Instead, law and language are emergent: they emerge from theory-based rules, but not by way of arithmetic or logic - but by collective habits giving rise to patterns of usage.
Further considering that law can only be conceived of through and in language, it even forms a second-order usage pattern: law is one manifestation of how we use rules and norms stated in language, and is per se our way of using semantic symbols in general. This understanding of law and language as an interwoven pattern-based fabric opens up exciting avenues for research: How does the practice of speaking and writing in and about law shape our view of justice? What can we learn from looking at large collections of legal texts through the lens of corpus linguistics? How do patterns (pre-)determine law, language and law-through-language? And once we recognize such patterns: how much chaos remains?

The conference addresses these and other questions through a systematic investigation of patterns in law and language, particularly through the lens of corpus linguistics as applied to textual mass data. It aims to bring together legal scholars, linguists, computational linguists, media and communication analysts and policy makers, but also welcomes interested members of other disciplines and faculties.

Keynote speakers:

- Lawrence Solan is Professor of Law and Director of Graduate Education at Brooklyn Law School in New York (USA). Solan holds both a law degree and a Ph.D. in linguistics. His scholarly works are largely devoted to exploring interdisciplinary issues related to law, language and psychology, especially in the areas of statutory and contractual interpretation, the attribution of liability and blame, and linguistic evidence.

- Tony McEnery is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the Lancaster University (GB) and Director of the ESRC's Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science. He has published several pioneering books and papers about the principles, methods and applications of Corpus Linguistics.

Organizers, contacts and registration
Dr. Hanjo Hamann (Max Planck Institute Bonn)
Prof. Dr. Friedemann Vogel (University of Freiburg) |

Call for Papers:

The conference will be followed up with a peer-reviewed journal issue on the same topic. Contributors are expected to submit an extended abstract with 800-1000 words by 31 of December 2015. The abstract should summarize the addressed research questions, the methodological background and the hypotheses.

Page Updated: 12-Nov-2015