2014 | 24 | 2 | 269-280
Article title

Dry or picturesque? The use of figurative language in Israeli supreme court verdicts

Title variants
Languages of publication
The legal language of lawyers and judges is generally dry and factual but an examination of the rulings of Israeli Supreme Court justices shows that at least some of them use very picturesque speech to support their positions. This paper describes the use of figurative language as employed by Israeli Supreme Court justices in their writing of verdicts. Examples of the use of metaphors, metonymy, word play, imagery, oxymorons, parables and allegory are cited and discussed.
Physical description
  • Zinman College at the Wingate Institute
  • [1] Aristotle (1932). The rhetoric. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall.
  • [2] Aristotle (1954). Rhetoric and poetics (Vol. XI). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • [3] Brooks, C., & Warren, R. (1970). Modern rhetoric. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.
  • [4] Cicero (1986). Selected writings. In M. Barash (Ed.). Jerusalem: Massad Bialik Press.
  • [5] Clark, H.H., & Gerrig, R. (1984). On the pretense theory of irony. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 113, 121–126.[Crossref]
  • [6] Copi, I. M. (1982). Introduction to logic (6th edition). New York: Macmillan.
  • [7] Even-Shoshan, A. (1988). The new dictionary [Hebrew]. Jerusalem: Kiryat Sefer.
  • [8] Gitay, Y. (1991). Isaiah and his audience. Assen/Maastricht: van Gorcum.
  • [9] Gitay, Y. (1996). Rhetoric and its importance in the media. Lecture at the 23rd annual conference of the Israeli Association for Applied Linguistics, Technion, Haifa.
  • [10] Goodrich, P. (1984). Law and language: An historical and critical introduction. Journal of Law and society 11, 173.[Crossref]
  • [11] Gray, B. (1977). The grammatical foundations of rhetoric. The Hague: Mouton.
  • [12] Greenbaum, S. (1970). Verb-intensifier collocations in English. The Hague: Mouton.[Crossref]
  • [13] Grice, H. P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In P. Cole & J.L. Morgan (Eds.), Syntax & Semantics (Vol. 3, pp.41–58). New York: Academic Press.
  • [14] Hudson, K. (1978). The language of modern politics. London: The Macmillan Press.
  • [15] Hughes, R. E., & Duhamel, P. A. (1962). Rhetoric. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall.
  • [16] Kayam. O., & and Galily, Y. (2012). Rhetoric reflected in Semitic languages in written sport commentary: A Comparative Study. Qualitative Sociology Review, 4(2).
  • [17] Kayam, O. & Galily, Y. (2012a). Freedom of speech? - Israeli Supreme Court ruling 606/93 - Kidum Initiative Inc. versus the Israel Broadcasting Authority - a rhetorical language analysis. Psychology of Language and Communication, 16(1), 67–78.
  • [18] Kayam, O. (2011). Rhetoric on the scales of justice. [In Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Assif.
  • [19] Kayam, O., & Livnat, Z. (2004). Quotation as a rhetorical device in Israeli court judgment. [In Hebrew]. Hebrew Linguistics, 54, 37–53.
  • [20] Landau, D. (1979). From metaphor to symbol. [In Hebrew]. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University.
  • [21] Landau, R. (1988). The Rhetoric of Political Speech in Israel. [In Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Akad Press.
  • [22] Maadia, M. (1985). Modern political speech - personal style or register? (Masters thesis). Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University. [Hebrew].
  • [23] Nir, R. (1978). The semantics of the new Hebrew. [Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Amichai Press.
  • [24] Ochmani, A. (1976). Lexicon of literary terms. Tel Aviv: Sifriyat Hapoalim. [WoS]
  • [25] Ornan, U. (1971). Hebrew Grammar Syntax. Encyclopedia Judaica, 8, 140–175.
  • [26] Perelman, H. (1984). The kingdom of rhetoric. Hebrew University Jerusalem: Magnus Press.
  • [27] Quirk, R. (1976). A comprehensive grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.
  • [28] Shilo, G. (1996). Characteristics of Hebrew theoretical writing. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University.
  • [29] Speigel, N. (1973). Art of persuasion - The speaker and his audience. Jerusalem: Magnes Press.
  • [30] Spreber, D. & Wilson, D. (1981). Irony and the use-mention distinction. In P. Cole (Ed.), Radical pragmatics (pp. 295–318). New York: Academic Press.
  • [31] Tzarfati, G. (1978). Hebrew semantics Jerusalem: Rubenstein Press.
  • [32] Weddle, P. (1978). Argument - A guide to critical thinking. California: Mcgraw-Hill.
  • [33] Weizman, E. (2000). Irony in news discourse [in Hebrew]. In O. Rodrigue-Schwarzwald, S. Blum-Kulka, & E. Olshtain (Eds.), Rafael Nir jubilee book: Studies in communication, linguistics and language teaching (pp. 237–248). Jerusalem: Carmel Press.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.