International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 22, No 1 (2015)


doi : 10.1558/ijsll.v22i1.27071

Book announcements

Philipp Sebastian Angermeyer (2015) Speak English or What? Codeswitching and Interpreter Use in New York City Courts

This book presents a study of interpreter-mediated interaction in New York City small claims courts, drawing on audio-recorded arbitration hearings and ethnographic fieldwork. Focusing on the language use of speakers of Haitian Creole, Polish, Russian or Spanish, the study explores how these litigants make use of their limited proficiency in English, in addition to communicating with the help of professional court interpreters. Drawing on research on courtroom interaction, legal interpreting, and conversational codeswitching, the study explores how the ability of immigrant litigants to participate in these hearings is impacted by institutional language practices and underlying language ideologies, as well as by the approaches of individual arbitrators and interpreters who vary in their willingness to accommodate to litigants and share the burden of communication with them. The study raises questions about the relationship between linguistic diversity and inequality, arguing that the legal system inherently privileges speakers of English. (from publisher’s website)

Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199337569 (264pp.)

Máirtín Mac Aodha, ed. (2014) Legal Lexicography: A Comparative Perspective

Legal lexicography or jurilexicography is the most neglected aspect of the discipline of jurilinguistics, despite its great relevance for translators, academics and comparative lawyers. This volume seeks to bridge this gap in legal literature by bringing together contributions from ten jurisdictions from leading experts in the field. The work addresses aspects of legal lexicography, both monolingual and bilingual, in its various manifestations in both civilian and common law systems. It thus compares epistemic approaches in a subject that is inextricably bound up with specific legal systems and specific languages. Topics covered include the history of French legal lexicography, ordinary language as defined by the courts, the use of law dictionaries by the judiciary, legal lexicography and translation, and a proposed multilingual dictionary for the EU citizen. The volume includes three contributions written in French. (from publisher’s website)

Ashgate. ISBN 9781409454410 (320pp.)

Le Cheng, King Kui Sin and Anne Wagner, eds (2014) The Ashgate Handbook of Legal Translation

This volume investigates advances in the field of legal translation both from a theoretical and practical perspective, with professional and academic insights from leading experts in the field. Part I of the collection focuses on the exploration of legal translatability from a theoretical angle. Covering fundamental issues such as equivalence in legal translation, approaches to legal translation and the interaction between judicial interpretation and legal translation, the authors offer contributions from philosophical, rhetorical, terminological and lexicographical perspectives. Part II focuses on the analysis of legal translation from a practical perspective among different jurisdictions such as China, the EU and Japan, offering multiple and pluralistic viewpoints. The collection provides an invaluable reference for researchers, practitioners, academics and students specialising in law and legal translation, philosophy, sociology, linguistics and semiotics. (from publisher’s website)

Ashgate. ISBN 9781409469667 (325pp.)

Christopher Hutton (2014) Word Meaning and Legal Interpretation: An Introductory Guide

This textbook offers a concise introduction to key concepts in the study of meaning and interpretation taken from linguistics, philosophy and the law. A range of actual cases that involve ordinary words, commonsense categories and problems of classification are explored and clearly explained for readers who want to learn more but lack the legal background. Word Meaning and Legal Interpretation provides a strong sense of the texture of legal problems, includes detailed summaries and analyses of cases from common law jurisdictions, and equips the reader for more advanced studies in language and the law, legal theory and legal interpretation. (from publisher’s website)

Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137016140 (260pp.)

Samuel Larner (2014) Forensic Authorship Analysis and the World Wide Web

Implementing a novel method for identifying idiolectal co-selections and taking the UNABOM investigation as a case study, this book evaluates the effectiveness and reliability of using the web for forensic purposes, since forensic linguists often use the web as a tool in forensic authorship analysis cases. A notable example includes the American trial of the Unabomber, in which the web was searched for idiolectal co-selections, and claims made about their distinctiveness based on the number of search results. In order to assess whether the web can reliably be used in this way, two experiments are described in which the web is used to attribute documents to their authors, both when texts produced by candidate authors are, and are not, available for comparison. With considerable unreliability in the results – both between different search engines and over time – this book argues that more caution is required in using the web as a corpus for forensic purposes. (from publisher’s website)

Palgrave Pivot. ISBN 9781137413741 (112pp.)

Benjamin N. Lawrance and Galya Ruffer, eds (2015) Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony

In this book, legal, biomedical, psychosocial, and social science scholars and practitioners offer the first comparative account of the increasing dependence on expertise in the asylum and refugee status determination process. This volume presents a comprehensive study of the relevance of experts, as mediators of culture, who are called upon to corroborate, substantiate credibility, and serve as translators in the face of confusing legal standards that require proof of new forms and reasons for persecution around the globe. The authors provide insights into the evidentiary burdens on asylum seekers and the expanding role of expertise in the forms of country-conditions reports, biomedical and psychiatric evaluations, and the emerging field of forensic linguistic analysis in response to emerging forms of persecution, such as gender-based or sexuality-based persecution. (from publisher’s website)

Cambridge University Press ISBN 9781107069060 (280pp.)

Laura Felton Rosulek (2015) Dueling Discourses: The Construction of Reality in Closing Arguments

Dueling Discourses offers qualitative and quantitative analyses of the linguistic and discursive forms utilized by opposing lawyers in their closing arguments during criminal trials. The author analyses how these arguments construct contrasting representations of the same realities, applying the insights and methodologies of critical discourse analysis and systemic functional linguistics to a corpus of arguments from seventeen trials. Her analysis suggests that silencing (omitting relevant information), de-emphasising (giving information comparatively less attention and focus), and emphasising (giving information comparatively more attention and focus) are the key communicative devices that lawyers rely on to create their summations. Through these processes, lawyers’ lexical, syntactic, thematic and discursive patterns, both within individual narratives and across whole arguments, function together to create versions of reality that reflect each individual lawyer’s goals and biases. The first detailed analysis of closing arguments, this book will significantly improve our understanding of courtroom discourse. (from publisher’s website).

Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199337613 (248pp.)


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