The Legal Language of Scottish Burghs: Standardization and Lexical Bundles (1380-1560)

ISBN : 9780199945153

Joanna Kopaczyk
368 Pages
183 x 241 mm
Pub date
Sep 2013
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This book offers an innovative, corpus-driven approach to historical legal discourse. It is the first monograph to examine textual standardization patterns in legal and administrative texts on the basis of lexical bundles, drawing on a comprehensive corpus of medieval and early modern legal texts. The book's focus is on legal language in Scotland, where law-with its own nomenclature and its own repertoire of discourse features-was shaped and marked by the concomitant standardizing of the vernacular language, Scots, a sister language to the English of the day. Joanna Kopaczyk's study is based on a unique combination of two methodological frameworks: a rigorous corpus-driven data analysis and a pragmaphilological, context-sensitive qualitative interpretation of the findings. Providing the reader with a rich socio-historical background of legal discourse in medieval and early modern Scottish burghs, Kopaczyk traces the links between orality, community, and law, which are reflected in discourse features and linguistic standardization of legal and administrative texts. In this context, the book also revisits important ingredients of legal language, such as binomials or performatives. Kopaczyk's study is grounded in the functional approach to language and pays particular attention to referential, interpersonal, and textual functions of lexical bundles in the texts. It also establishes a connection between the structure and function of the recurrent patterns, and paves the way for the employment of new methodologies in historical discourse analysis.


List of abbreviations
List of maps
List of figures
List of tables
Chapter 1. Introduction: Scots as the language of the law
Part One: The language
Chapter 2. The language of legal texts
Chapter 3. Exploring language of the past: Context, discourse and text
Chapter 4. Repetition, fixedness and lexical bundles
Part Two: The burghs
Chapter 5. Burghs in Scottish history
Chapter 6. Living in a burgh
Chapter 7. Law and the burgh
Part Three: The legal language of the burghs
Chapter 8. EdHeW corpus material and lexical bundles
Chapter 9. The grammar of lexical bundles in early legal Scots
Chapter 10. Binomials and multinomials in early legal Scots
Chapter 11. Short bundles: functional properties
Chapter 12. Long bundles: Functional properties and standardization

About the author: 

Joanna Kopaczyk (Ph.D. Poznan, Poland, 2002) studies historical texts in context. She combines corpus linguistics with historical discourse analysis, especially in the study of specialized discourse in Scotland and England. She has delivered invited talks at linguistic departments in Poland, Germany, Finland and the UK, and presented her research at over thirty international conferences in the USA, Europe, and Australia, as well as in numerous peer-reviewed publications, including a monograph on a Middle Scots dialect (2004).

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