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LIGN 105: Law & Language (Winter 2017): How to approach this assignment

Linguistics 105

Tips for LIGN 105

There are a few ways to approach this assignment

Option 1: Search for a case that deals with a topic that interests you and then analyze it linguistically.

Option 2: The most difficult way to approach the assignment is to choose a linguistics concept and then try to find a case that fits to it. However, you can try searching on some of the themes you've discussed in class:

  • Ambiguity (extremely broad--add another search term)
  • Syntactic ambiguity
  • Legal vocabulary
  • Metaphor
  • Legal fictions
  • Hearsay
  • Speech acts
  • Illocutionary [classification]
  • Contracts (extremely broad--add another search term)
  • Infelicitous [speech acts]
  • Legalese
  • Trademarks
  • Etc.

Likewise, you can search for cases that use vocabulary often associated with a particular linguistic element, for example:

  • "mitigating circumstance"
  • "persona ficta"
  • "leading questions"
  • "consensus ad idem"
  • perjury

Option 3: Find a more recent case that cites a case you've discussed in class, for example:

  • Search Westlaw for 3 Wn. App. 53 (this is the citation for Betts v Betts - and make sure the dropdown next to the search button is set to All State & Federal)
  • Click the Citing References tab and then choose Cases
    • cases with more green bars in the "depth" column discuss points of law in your case more thoroughly