Legal Language in the Age of Globalization: Prospects and Dilemmas

To appreciate the significance of the preceding articles, it is necessary to consider their implications in a broad context. As territorial borders become more and more permeable to the movements of capital, and as advanced technology joins even the most remote geographical areas, people throughout the world face new provocations and opportunities. Fears of cultural obliteration are being met with revitalized expressions of resistance. In the new global landscape, language plays a paramount role. The putative universality of English, for example, parallels the multiplication of vernacular idioms evolving as part of attempts to preserve cultural integrity. Yet, the counterpoint between cultural homogenization and differentiation also heightens the need for impartial systems of communication. It is in this respect that the language of law and legal scholarship becomes an indispensable resource. As the contributions in this Symposium make resoundingly clear, legal language, with its pauses, sounds, elisions, and pronouncements, is critical to the maintenance of social divisions. Its reconstitution should be equally central to the building of connections between disparate cultures.