Contract language in Spain and the United States. Reflections on legal interpretation, culture and thought.


  • María Ángeles Orts Llopis University of Murcia


legal language, legal interpretation, legal culture, contract language, contract interpretation


The purpose of the present article is to deal with the cultural differences rooted in the drafting and interpretation of legal contractual texts, in both Spanish and American English. To illustrate the way in which lawyers interpret language in the Spanish and the American contexts further and in more depth, I will start considering the different traditions of thought, which the legal cultures belong to and where their language is rooted. I will argue that Spain is part of the Franco-rationalistic approach based on deduction, abstract idealism, and spiritualism, while America is part of the inductive Anglo-Empiricist approach from naturalistic pragmatism and materialism. In doing so, the aim will ultimately be to discuss how the different cultural approaches of these two countries have very much to do with the way in which their legal traditions articulate contract law and its interpretation. This discussion, I hope, will shed some light on the terrain of English for Legal Purposes in Spain, its teaching and learning.