Corpus-based Research on Variation in English Legal Discourse

| University of Santiago de Compostela
| University of Oviedo
ISBN 9789027202352 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027262837 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the research carried out over the past thirty years in the vast field of legal discourse. The focus is on how such research has been influenced and shaped by developments in corpus linguistics and register analysis, and by the emergence from the mid 1990s of historical pragmatics as a branch of pragmatics concerned with the scrutiny of historical texts in their context of writing. The five chapters in Part I (together with the introductory chapter) offer a wide spectrum of the latest approaches to the synchronic analysis of cross-genre and cross-linguistic variation in legal discourse. Part II addresses diachronic variation, illustrating how a diversity of methods, such as multi-dimensional analysis, move analysis, collocation analysis, and Darwinian models of language evolution can uncover new understandings of diachronic linguistic phenomena.

Recipient of the 2021 Book Award from the Spanish Association for Applied Linguistics (AESLA)

[Studies in Corpus Linguistics, 91]  2019.  vii, 294 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. “Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer?” English legal discourse past and present
Teresa Fanego and Paula Rodríguez-Puente
Part I. Cross-genre and cross-linguistic variation
Chapter 2. English and Italian land contracts: A cross-linguistic analysis
Giuliana Diani
Chapter 3. Conditionals in spoken courtroom and parliamentary discourse in English, French, and Spanish: A contrastive analysis
Cristina Lastres-López
Chapter 4. Part-of-speech patterns in legal genres: Text-internal dynamics from a corpus-based perspective
Ruth Breeze
Chapter 5. A comparison of lexical bundles in spoken courtroom language across time, registers, and varieties
Randi Reppen and Meishan Chen
Chapter 6. “It is not just a fact that the law requires this, but it is a reasonable fact” Using the Noun that-pattern to explore stance construction in legal writing
Stanisław Goźdź-Roszkowski
Part II. Diachronic variation
Chapter 7. Are law reports an ‘agile’ or an ‘uptight’ register? Tracking patterns of historical change in the use of colloquial and complexity features
Douglas Biber and Bethany Gray
Chapter 8. Interpersonality in legal written discourse: A diachronic analysis of personal pronouns in law reports, 1535 to present
Paula Rodríguez-Puente
Chapter 9. The evolution of a legal genre: Rhetorical moves in British patent specifications, 1711 to 1860
Nicholas Groom and Jack Grieve
Chapter 10. The representation of citizens and monarchy in Acts of Parliament in 1800 to 2000: Identifying social roles through collocations
Anu Lehto
Chapter 11. Drinking and crime: Negotiating intoxication in courtroom discourse, 1720 to 1913
Claudia Claridge
Name index
Subject index
“As the leitmotif of the current collection is variation in legal discourse, each chapter applies its own lens to specific linguistic items in a diverse spectrum of legal genres either cross-linguistically or diachronically. To this end, these endeavours not only successfully interpret the historicist dynamics of the individual legal genres, but also prompt social accountability towards law enforcement. In addition, the studies of temporal-spatial variations incorporate morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, representing a holistic landscape of language evolution. In this sense, how legal language evolves is compatible with the evolution of language in general and to some extent can be generalised to variations in other genres. Last but not least, the excellent introduction and application of ‘ever more sophisticated computational tools’ has transcended the ‘original scope to encompass a much broader range of topics and methodologies’ (p. 17). Throughout the book, a variety of auto-annotated corpus tools, language processers and statistical computer software are deployed to cater for the objectives of each study. Readability is enhanced with clearly illustrated tables, diagrams and figures, as well as with updates on technical innovations in corpus linguistics.”
“Although the book covers difficult topics, it is written in a clear and concise language which makes it easy to understand. The editors made an excellent selection of contributions so that the volume coheres, it is informative and at times even amusing, particularly in its vivid final chapter, with actual examples of the language used by intoxicated persons in courtrooms. The volume can be recommended to anybody interested in legal language, but particularly to those involved in legal language research, because it encourages future corpora-based research on similar lines and could give young researchers valuable ideas about which direction to go.”
“Teresa Fanego, and Paula Rodríguez-Puente’s edited volume Corpus-Based Research on Variation in English Legal Discourse appears to be a timely publication. It shows readers a number of data-driven studies pertaining to independent areas of language variation in legal English discourse.[...]The book helps researchers master data-analytic techniques which include descriptive analysis, predictive analysis, and prescriptive analytics. Descriptive analysis enables researchers to describe basic data features in descriptive statistics and visualization, such as mean score and standard deviation.[...]In addition, the book provides an excellent foundation for either in-class instruction or self-study with an extensive account of corpus linguistics. Focusing on legal discourse, the book introduces a wide range of corpus resources of legal texts and explains in detail the statistical and quantitative methods in dealing with language data. Well-crafted examples and case studies in the chapters would greatly help readers better understand the contents of the book, and even general linguistics researchers would find it easy to follow.”
“The volume is of much value for researchers, teachers and graduate students in the disciplines of applied linguistics, professional discourse studies and English for Specific Purposes.”
Cited by

Cited by 5 other publications

Anne, Wagner, Aleksandra Matulewska & Le Cheng
2020. Law as a culturally constituted sign-system – A space for interpretation. International Journal of Legal Discourse 5:2  pp. 239 ff. Crossref logo
Campos Pardillos, Miguel Ángel
2020. Sentencing remarks as a legal subgenre: 'R v Darren Osborne'. Estudios de Traducción 10  pp. 17 ff. Crossref logo
Goulart, Larissa, Bethany Gray, Shelley Staples, Amanda Black, Aisha Shelton, Douglas Biber, Jesse Egbert & Stacey Wizner
2020. Linguistic Perspectives on Register. Annual Review of Linguistics 6:1  pp. 435 ff. Crossref logo
Gozdz-Roszkowski, Stanislaw
2020. Move Analysis of Legal Justifications in Constitutional Tribunal Judgments in Poland: What They Share and What They Do Not. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique 33:3  pp. 581 ff. Crossref logo
Rodríguez-Puente, Paula
2020.  In The Routledge Handbook of Corpus Approaches to Discourse Analysis,  pp. 499 ff. Crossref logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 08 may 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.

BIC Subject: CFG – Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis
BISAC Subject: LAN009030 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Pragmatics