Publication details [#3457]

Chiu, Sheng-hsiu and Wen-Yu Chiang. 2008. WAR metaphors in legal discourse: A reminder of their perils.
Publication type
Unpublished manuscript
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Taipeh, Taiwan


Studies on metaphor in legal discourse have received growing scholarly attention in the past decade. Most of the studies undertaken so far have focused on the power that legal metaphors have to enhance our awareness of the nature of the law. While metaphors are indispensable tools for helping people in comprehending abstract concepts and abstruse legal doctrines, they may also limit understanding by selectively highlighting certain features of an issue while suppressing or marginalizing others. Therefore, this paper seeks to explore the effects of metaphor as applied to statutes and judicial opinions in the Republic of China (Taiwan). WAR metaphors and its negative effects in particular are examined as an adversary system lies at the heart of Taiwan's legal system, and because court procedures in Taiwan have been labeled in such a way to imply fights or confrontations since the 2003 revision of the ROC Code of Criminal Procedure. We propose that by taking into account the fact that WAR metaphors in legal discourse have their own attractions and dangers both positive and negative, the legal profession should be more reflective and careful in its linguistic behavior, whether oral or written. With this paper, we also urge people to reconsider how WAR metaphors affect legal culture and by extension, our lives as part of society. (Sheng-hsiu Chiu and Wen-yu Chiang)