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Words! Words! Words!: Teaching the Language of Tax

5 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2006  

Stephen B. Cohen

Georgetown University Law Center

Abstract

Experienced tax lawyers deal easily with the ambiguous and imprecise terms that pervade tax law and discourse because they understand the intended meaning of a word from context. For students, however, the subtle ways in which meaning depends on context are far from obvious. A teacher of tax therefore must also be a teacher of language. The tax teacher can warn students about confusing terms and suggest alternative words that are more precise. The ultimate goal should be to impart fluency not only in these more precise words but also paradoxically in the ambiguous and imprecise terms that are the source of confusion but with which tax lawyers (for better or worse) continue to write and speak.

JEL Classification: A20, H20

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Stephen B., Words! Words! Words!: Teaching the Language of Tax. Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 55, No. 4, 2006; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 887404; Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 887404. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=887404

Stephen B. Cohen (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9068 (Phone)
202-662-9444 (Fax)

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