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Rethinking Law and Language

The Flagship ‘Speech’

Jan M. Broekman

The ‘law-language-law’ theme is deeply engraved in Occidental culture, more so than contemporary studies on the subject currently illustrate. This insightful book creates awareness of these cultural roots and shows how language and themes in law can be richer than studying a simple mutuality of motives. Rethinking Law and Language unveils today’s problems with the two faces of language: the analogue and the digital, on the basis of which our smart phones and Artificial Intelligence create modern life.
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Chapter 7: What language, what law?

Jan M. Broekman


Critical questions arise: conventional words, anchors in grammar or syntax, such as the “I,” “You,” “Self,” or “Person,” were in legal language absorbed by solely two semi-pronouns: the legal subject and the legal object. Not only words but also pronouns and persons are “lost in law,” one could say. The question is repeated in the history of the legal person and in particular the old European concept of law’s persona ficta. The fictitious character is researched, the unity and unifying power of law’s language unveiled, and the major consideration concerning the power and importance of law’s eyes and ears brought to the fore. Those issues are fundamental for the law–language theme: what features constitute law and law’s influence on human existence?

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