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Language, Corpora and Cognition


Piotr Pęzik and Jacek Tadeusz Waliński

This book focuses on matching theoretical predictions about language and cognition against empirical language data. The contributions use corpus linguistics methodology for their analysis. The contributors evaluate a variety of themes from combining syntax, semantics, discourse, terminology, to cognitive linguistics with the techniques and quantitative methods related to linguistic data processing.

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“Justice with an attitude?” – towards a corpus-based description of evaluative phraseology in judicial discourse (Stanisław Goźdź-Roszkowski)


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Stanisław Goźdź-Roszkowski

University of Łódź

“Justice with an attitude?” – towards a corpus-based description of evaluative phraseology in judicial discourse

Abstract: This study discusses the role of grammar patterns (v-link + ADJ + that, v-link + ADJ + to-infinitive and N that) to express evaluative meanings in a corpus of US Supreme Court opinions. It is argued that insights from corpus linguistics and the concept of Local Grammar can be accommodated to identify the systematic ways in which judges signal their attitudes and assess the arguments of other legal interactants in their written opinions. The article outlines various ways in which the concept of evaluation is understood and it discusses its role in legal argumentation. Using a substantial corpus of over 1.3 million words of legal opinions, it is shown that judges tend to rely on both overt and covert linguistic clues to evaluate arguments put forward in court. The first two patterns the v-link + ADJ + that pattern and the v-link + ADJ + to-inf turn out to be a good diagnostic to identify evaluative adjectives. Apart from locating instances of evaluative acts, they help to indicate the positioning of interactants in the evaluation process. The nouns identified in the third pattern (N+that) tend to be associated with mostly negative evaluation of propositions in legal argumentation.

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