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Current Trends in LSP Research

Aims and Methods

Series:

Margrethe Petersen and Jan Engberg

This volume offers an overview of new perspectives and ongoing developments in research on Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) and specialised discourse. Traditionally investigated on the basis of terminology and genre studies, the area now also draws on such diverse fields as sociolinguistics, sociology, psychology and communication studies. This widening range of perspectives increases the need for insights into and knowledge about current developments in research on LSP and specialised discourse.
The chapters included here have been selected to address this need. Based on papers presented at the XVII European LSP Symposium, they reflect its focus: aims and methods in current research on LSP and specialised discourse. Two chapters present the research history of the area, its current status, and emergent issues. Nine chapters exemplify methods currently applied, new aims pursued, or new aims supported by innovative methods. The methods include discourse analysis, use of specialist informants, study of multimedia texts, sociological observation, interviews, etc. The aims vary from unveiling politicians’ linguistic representation of the 2008 financial meltdown over inclusion of visual representations in LSP research to clarifying the limits of lay understanding of specialised knowledge. In sum, the volume offers the reader a holistic, yet multi-faceted overview of state-of-the-art research in this area.

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Section 2: Aims

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Section II: Aims AZIRAH HASHIM / RICHARD POWELL Exploring Language Choice in Malaysian Trials and Arbitrations: Common Aims, Complementary Methods 1. Aims and scope Institutionalised dispute resolution in Malaysian society is not only multicultural and multilingual but also multijurisdictional. Much of the customary adat law long practised by Malays and indigenous Aus- tronesian communities was superseded by syariah after the spread of Islam from the 15th century and this in turn was encroached upon un- der British colonialism by common law. All three systems still retain jurisdiction over certain matters in certain communities. Additionally, a recent increase in popularity of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the form of formal arbitration and mediation can be said to consti- tute a fourth jurisdiction. The current study is part of an attempt to expand current research into Malaysian legal discourse into a comparison between the common law courtrooms and the arbitral tribunals. For this pilot exploration it was decided primarily to target language-contact phenomena previously found in courtroom discourse. The admissibility of Malay, English, or both languages in Malaysian common law allows for various patterns of bilingualism, and several studies (e.g. David, 1993, 2003, Powell, 2008) have reported on lexical code-mixing, intra- and intersentential code- switching, interlocutor-related code-shifting and code-differential dia- logue. Despite informal pre-observation interviews suggesting that Ma- laysian arbitrations proceed entirely in English, it was hypothesised that the relative flexibility of arbitral rules would leave room for at least some of these bilingual patterns, given that few professional Malaysians 130 Azirah...

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