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Patterns of Linguistic Variation in American Legal English

A Corpus-Based Study


Stanislaw Gozdz-Roszkowski

Translators, law students or legal professionals who begin to deal with legal language face a bewildering variety of legal writings. Even though legal language has been examined from a multitude of perspectives, there are virtually no studies explicitly addressing variation in legal English in terms of recurrent linguistic patterns. This book is a first step towards filling this gap. It provides a corpus-based linguistic description of variation among several selected legal genres, including vocabulary distribution and use (keywords), extended lexical expressions (lexical bundles), and lexico-syntactic co-occurrence patterns (multidimensional analysis). The findings are interpreted in functional terms in an attempt to provide an overall characterization of the most commonly encountered types of legal language.


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7 Chapter 6: Multi-Dimensional Patterns of Variation Across Legal Genres 183 6.1. Introduction 183 6.2. Interpretation of the Legal (ALC) Dimensions of Variation 183 6.2.1. Dimension 1: Narrative, Stance-Focused vs. Informational and Normative Discourse 183 6.2.2. Dimension 2: Instructive and Advisory Discourse 205 6.2.3. Dimension 3: (Abstract, Elaborated and Operative vs. Content- Focused Lexically Specific Discourse) 216 6.3. Conclusions 224 Chapter 7: Synthesis and Final Conclusions 227 References 235 Appendix A 249 Appendix B 261 Index 275

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