Based on a thematic area that examines empirical approaches in law and language studies, the present special section assembles three exemplary contributions outlining the possible dimensions of how empirical work can contribute to language and law. Some authors of these contributions explore cross-linguistic empirical work on communication between police and victims, witnesses and suspects, and the impact that linguistic and cultural differences can have; other authors utilise a corpus-based approach, which is combined with terminology studies to gain robust empirical data on terminological variation both within one language and inter-lingually; and yet other authors do experimental research, testing the claims of different theories on legal interpretation as to whether legal interpretation fundamentally differs from the ordinary understanding processes of language. These contributions thus illustrate the various ways in which all of these lines of research are able to complement existing research, open up new lines of inquiry and question or confirm existing assumptions.
Cite as: Smolka & Pirker, JLL 11 (2022), 98–103, DOI: 10.14762/jll.2022.098
empirical research, language and law, corpus linguistics, experiments, translation
- Berk-Seligson, Susan (2002). The Bilingual Courtroom: Court Interpreters in the Judicial Process. Chicago: University Press.
- Goldfarb, Neal (2021). The Use of Corpus Linguistics in Legal Interpretation. Annual Review of Linguistics, 7(1), 473–491. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-linguistics-050520-093942.
- Lee, Thomas R. & Mouritsen, Stephen C. (2018). Judging Ordinary Meaning. Yale Law Journal, 127(4): 788–879. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2937468.
- Mouritsen, Stephen C. (2010). The Dictionary is Not a Fortress: Definitional Fallacies and a Corpus-Based Approach to Plain Meaning. Brigham Young University Law Review, 35(5), 1915–1979. Available at: digitalcommons.law.byu.edu/lawreview/vol2010/iss5/10/ (accessed 21 December 2022).
- Phillips, James C. & Egbert, Jesse (2022). A Corpus Linguistic Analysis of “Foreign Tribunal”. Virginia Law Review Online, 108, 207–238. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.4052948.
- Pirker, Benedikt & Skoczen, Izabela (2022). Pragmatic Inferences and Moral Factors in Treaty Interpretation – Applying Experimental Linguistics to International Law. German Law Journal, 23(3), 314–332. DOI: 10.1017/glj.2022.22.
- Smolka, Jennifer & Pirker, Benedikt (2021). Pragmatics and the Interpretation of International Law – Two Relevance Theory-Based Approaches. Legal Meanings and Language Rights – International, Social and Philosophical Perspectives. In Giltrow, Olsen & Mancini (Eds.), Legal Meanings (pp. 131–161). New York/Boston: Mouton de Gruyter.
- Solan, Lawrence M. (2005). The New Textualists' New Text. Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, 38(5), 2027–2062. Available at: brooklynworks.brooklaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1281&context=faculty (accessed 21 December 2022).
- Solum, Lawrence B. (2014). The Positive Foundations of Formalism: False Necessity and American Legal Realism. Harvard Law Review, 127(8), 2464–2497. Available at: papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2457357 (accessed 21 December 2022).
- Solum, Lawrence B. (2017). Triangulating Public Meaning: Corpus Linguistics, Immersion, and the Constitutional Record. Brigham Young University Law Review, 2017(6), 1621–1682. Available at: digitalcommons.law.byu.edu/lawreview/vol2017/iss6/13/ (accessed 21 December 2022).
- Tobia, Kevin P. (2020). Testing Ordinary Meaning: An Experimental Assessment of What Dictionary Definitions and Linguistic Usage Data Tell Legal Interpreters. Harvard Law Review, 134(2), 726–806. Available at: harvardlawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/134-Harv.-L.-Rev.-726.pdf (accessed 21 December 2022).
- Tobia, Kevin P. (2022). Experimental Jurisprudence. The University of Chicago Law Review, 89(3), 735–802. Available at lawreview.uchicago.edu/publication/experimental-jurisprudence (accessed 21 December 2022).