Friday, August 30, 2013

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

New from Oxford University Press: The Legal Language of Scottish Burghs Standardization and Lexical Bundles (1380-1560) by Joanna Kopaczyk (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland).

From the publisher: 
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.

A blurb:
"This study is impressive in its scope, ranging from a detailed description of the social organization and the practice of law in medieval Scottish burghs, to reporting the results of sophisticated corpus-driven linguistic investigations of Scottish legal documents. The study is especially innovative in its application of corpus analysis to identify lexical bundles, phraseological chunks of language that are used to structure texts, tracing textual standardization patterns in Scots legal and administrative texts based on the use of lexical bundles. As such, the book will become required reading for scholars from many subfields, including the study of legal discourse, historical discourse analysis, literacy and standardization, and the application of corpus-driven methods in historical textual analysis." --Douglas Biber, Northern Arizona University