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Is it ""just words"" when a lawyer cross-examines a rape victim in the hopes of getting her to admit an interest in her attacker? Is it ""just words"" when the Supreme Court hands down a decision or when business people draw-up a contract? In tackling the question of how an abstract entity exerts concrete power, this text focuses on what has become a central issue in law and language research: what language reveals about the nature of legal power.;The authors show how the microdynamics of the legal process and the largest questions of justice can be fruitfully explored through the field of linguistics. Each chapter covers a language-based approach to a different area of the law, from the cross-examinations of victims and witnesses to the inequities of divorce mediation.;Combining analysis of common legal events with a broad range of scholarship on language and law, this volume seeks the reality of power in the everyday practice and application of the law.