The Representations of ‘Offenders’ in Legal Inscription on Thief’s Characters
Keywords:representation, offender, legal discourse, legal inscription on thief’s characters, Sukhothai Stone Inscription XXXVIII
This article aims to investigate the relationship between language and the representations of offenders in Thai law. The data elicited is from the legal inscription on thief’s characters (Sukhothai Stone Inscription XXXVIII), inclusive of eight sections. The results show that the content structure of the Legal inscription on thief’s characters is divided into two sections: preamble and principle provisions. The analysis of principle provisions reveals the two cases of the law, which are offences relating to religion (equanimity) and offences against property (theft). To convey the meaning, the creator of the legal inscription has used two language strategies, which are word choice and sentences. According to the “linguistic devices” analysis, the representations of offenders in the legal inscription on thief’s characters can be divided into four types: 1) an offender as an individual who is unafraid of the monarchy, 2) an offender as an individual who is unafraid of laws, 3) an offender as a dangerous individual, and 4) an offender as an accessory. Finally, there are several social and cultural factors influencing the language used to represent an offender in Thai law, especially religion, and the political models during the Sukhothai period.
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