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Legal Englishes: The discourse of statutory texts
DIANA YANKOVA, Ph.D., is currently Associate Professor at the English Studies Department, New Bulgarian University, Sofia. She has been involved in legal language research for over 15 years now focusing on the culture-bound, genre-specific, and comparative aspects of prescriptive legal texts in common law, continental law and supranational law.
What follows is an endeavor to delineate, classify and characterize statutory texts in English contingent on the various legal contexts they originate in. It is an interdisciplinary applied linguistics study straddling the border of language and comparative law that requires expertise in both fields and calls for the taxing task of applying both legal and linguistic methods of analysis. The stimulus for researching this topic was engendered by the fact that the language of statutory instruments in English is commonly considered a monolithic genre without taking stock of the numerous contextual and textual variables that leave their imprint on the end product - an act written in the English language.
This book can be regarded as a modest contribution to the field of legal linguistics that has fairly recently become established. Although various aspects of legal language have been in the focus of research by linguists and legal scholars and practitioners for years, it is only recently that legal linguistics (lingüistica legal in Spain Jurilinguistique in Canada, linguistique juridique in France, Rechtslinguistik in Germany) began to be considered a part of linguistics which examines the characteristic features, the evolution and development, and the use of legal language. It is a fusion of legal science and applied linguistics, closely linked to semantics and syntax, to rhetoric and legal semiotics.