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Fighting over WordsLanguage and Civil Law Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328837

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328837.001.0001

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“Or” in a Group Insurance Policy

“Or” in a Group Insurance Policy

Peter Koehn v. Continental Casualty Company

(p.15) CHAPTER 1 “Or” in a Group Insurance Policy
Fighting over Words

Roger W. Shuy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the case of a university professor who lost vision in one eye after a surgical procedure. His insurance company refused payment based on its interpretation of the words in the exclusion section of the university's group insurance policy. Semantic, pragmatic, and discourse analyses show that the policy's use of “or” conveyed to the reader that this conjunction referred to two different things rather than one, favoring the policyholder, not the insurance company.

Keywords:   semantic, pragmatic, discourse analysis, insurance policy

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