International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 7, No 1 (2000)

Forensic Semantics: the meaning of murder, manslaughter and homicide

Ian Langford
Issued Date: 9 Mar 2007


The purpose of this paper is to show how the meaning of an expression referring to a crime can be stated in simple words that anyone can understand. Judges need to explain to juries the meaning of the crime that the accused is charged with, the accused needs to understand it, interpreter and translator need to understand it, and of course, lawyers need to understand the charge when advising clients and when preparing for trial. This paper shows how the forensic linguist can help people involved in the criminal justice system to understand the meaning of expressions referring to crimes. This can be done by a method of analysis which represents meaning through about sixty basic English words and a simple syntax known to all speakers of English.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsll.v7i1.72


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