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国际知名法律语言学学者Peter Tiersma 教授来华师外院讲学

来源: 责编:liaomz 作者:佚名 时间:2011-06-16 浏览:
 

The Role of Language in American Trials

Prof. Peter Tiersma

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, USA

 

        An American trial involves both oral and written language, as well ordinary language (usually by the parties and witnesses) and legal language (by the lawyers and judges).  The use of these different varieties of language makes the courtroom a very interesting focus of study.

        In this presentation I will discuss three major areas in which language plays an important role, or creates issues that need to be resolved, in the context of American criminal trials.  We will first examine questioning of witnesses, which involves a heavily controlled series of question-and-answer sequences that is quite unusual for the average witness, who is typically more used to relating events as a narrative.  Next we will discuss linguistic strategies used by lawyers to persuade the jury, drawing on examples from the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson.  The final topic will be jury instructions, which refers to the process by which the judge, at the end of a trial, explains the law to the jurors.  Here the problem is that the law is originally expressed in legal language, and traditionally judges have found it difficult to explain the law to jurors in ordinary language.  We will examine California's new jury instructions, which were written in language that jurors can more easily understand.  Although it is not easy to translate legal concepts into ordinary language, it is essential to do so if we are to have any confidence in the jury system.

 

 

 

Bio of Prof. Peter Tiersma

 

Peter Tiersma is the Hon. William Matthew Byrne Professor of Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.  Following graduation from Stanford University, he received a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of California, San Diego.  Subsequently, he obtained a J.D. degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California in Berkeley.  After graduating from law school, he clerked for Justice Stanley Mosk of the California Supreme Court and practiced for three years in San Francisco and Santa Barbara.  He has been teaching at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, since 1990. 

 

Tiersma has written extensively on language and law and is the author of the books Legal Language (University of Chicago Press, 1999) and Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2005; coauthored with Lawrence Solan).  His latest book is Parchment, Paper, Pixels: Law and the Technologies of Communication (University of Chicago Press, 2010).  Further information is available at www.languageandlaw.org.