Ascertaining the Juridical Basis of International Law by Analyzing the Move-structures of Treaties: A Possible Linguistics-oriented Exploration?

  •  Hongwu Yin    
  •  Hao Sheng    


Treaties (conventions), international custom and the general principles of law generally constitute the formal sources of international law. The present linguistics-oriented study of exploring the juridical basis of international law specifically focuses on analyzing that of treaties. An empirical study of the linguistic expressions and forms of the treaties is supposed to probe into what the contracting parties really think when adopting the treaty texts. It applies the move structure approach of English linguistics for the purpose of ascertaining the juridical basis of treaties. After the generalization of a prototypical six-move-structure existing in treaties, this article specially makes a focal study on the second and third moves of the treaties, managing to find out the linguistic evidence of ascertaining the juridical basis of the treaties. “The Contracting Parties’ Shared Conviction in Common Good as opinio juris” in Step 1 of “Move 2 Establishing Contextual Foundations for the Present Legislation” is ascertained as the juridical basis of international law from the linguistics-oriented perspective.

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