Corpus use has revolutionised the teaching of languages for specific purposes. In this article, I review some of the ways in which corpus studies can enhance our understanding of the regularities in legal language, looking particularly at formulaic language in four different areas of legal language: academic law articles, case law (judgments and opinions), documents (contracts, merger agreements, etc.) and legislation. After a brief overview of lexical issues in legal language, I look in greater detail at 4- to 8-word bundles in legal texts. After some consideration of legal modality and recurring syntactic structures, I show how these aspects come together with the phenomenon of bundles and formulaicity. I then provide some examples of how the kind of information provided here by specialised corpora can be exploited for teaching purposes.
Cite as: Breeze, JLL 6 (2017), 1–17, DOI: 10.14762/jll.2017.001
Legal English, corpus linguistics, multimodality, formulaic language, bundles, modal verbs
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