A NOTE ON THE LINGUISTIC (IN)DETERMINACY IN THE LEGAL CONTEXT
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This paper discusses linguistic vagueness in the context of a semantically restricted domain of legal language. It comments on selected aspects of vagueness found in contemporary English normative legal texts and on terminological problems related to vagueness and indeterminacy both in the legal domain and language in general. The discussion is illustrated with selected corpus examples of vagueness in English legal language and attempts to show problems of the relation between vagueness and ambiguity in the context of legal institutionalised systems. The discussion also evokes theoretical issues which pertain to the relation between legal texts and their contexts, the problem of how linguistic forms acquire their contextual meaning and how linguistic expressions are disambiguated. These issues are further related to the post-Gricean theory of relevance, its inferential model of communication, and the interplay between the linguistic code and inferential processes in (specialised) communication.
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