International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 5, No 2 (1998)

Pragmatic contributions to the interpretation of a will

Jeffrey P. Kaplan
Issued Date: 9 Mar 2007


The ultimate meaning of a holographic will lacking all conventional indicia of sentence boundaries (capitalization, punctuation) was the subject of litigation. At the sentence level, the will was ambiguous, but syntactic and (especially) pragmatic analysis led to a clear construal of the text. The main evidence derived from an application of Grice's maxim of quantity, with support from the maxim of relevance. The linguistic analysis was echoed by the court's decision.

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DOI: 10.1558/sll.1998.5.2.107


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