Can You Talk Like a Lawyer and Still Think Like a Human Being?: Mertz’s the Language of Law School
68 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 14, 2009
The last thirty years in anthropology, as well as in linguistics and many of the other social sciences, has been characterized by a shift in theoretical focus from structure to practice. In The Language of Law School: Learning to "Think Like a Lawyer" (2007), the linguistic anthropologist and law professor Elizabeth Mertz has brought this practice perspective to bear on the extraordinary linguistic and cultural venue that is the first-year law school classroom. In revealing the linguistic realities of teaching new students to "think like a lawyer", she raises fascinating questions about the relationship between language and thought, the subtle effects of legal education, and the nature of law itself.
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