Lexical bundles across four legal genres
Legal language is often said to be formulaic, but little research is available on the nature of frequently occurring sequences of words in different legal genres. This article investigates the lexical bundles found in four legal corpora: academic law, case law, legislation, and documents. Major differences are brought to light between the type of bundles that are found, and the roles they have in the text. Academic legal writing uses relatively little formulaic language. Case law uses noun phrase bundles relating to agents, documents and actions, as well as many extended prepositional phrases. Legislation and documents contain many noun phrase bundles, and verb phrase bundles with a deontic or referential function. The function of these different types of bundle as parts of a schematic frame or as slot-fillers is discussed.
Keywords: legal English, lexical bundles, 4-grams, prepositional phrases
Published online: 27 September 2013
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