Analysing hedging in legal discourse using small-scale and large-scale corpora.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Post-graduate law students are expected to handle a variety of legal and academic written genres. In these genres, meaning can be nuanced through a variety of means, including hedging. However, international law students often find decoding instances of hedging challenging, with interpretation of the writer’s true meaning suffering as a result. The aim of this paper is to compare hedging in two written legal genres which are frequently used by post-graduate law students to underpin their own academic essays: Law review articles and Supreme Court decisions. To that end, two analyses were undertaken. The first was qualitative in nature and involved the identification of hedges in a small corpus of just under 50,000 words based on introspection and intuition as per Salager-Meyer (2000). The second analysis served to verify conclusions drawn by using WordSmith Tools 6.0 (Scott 2013) and a much larger corpus of nearly eight million words. Correlation was found between the results of the two analyses, indicating that qualitative results could be extrapolated to larger samples to some degree.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Corpus Linguistics
Volume3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Hedging
Legal Discourse
International Law
Decoding
Hedge
Introspection
Supreme Court
Writer
Intuition

Keywords

  • hedging
  • legal genres
  • Supreme Court
  • epistemic modality
  • law review
  • pragmatic competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Analysing hedging in legal discourse using small-scale and large-scale corpora. / Vass, Holly.

In: Research in Corpus Linguistics, Vol. 3, 2015, p. 27-35.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{26822e1ba113461cb74de1bdb0023dc5,
title = "Analysing hedging in legal discourse using small-scale and large-scale corpora.",
abstract = "Post-graduate law students are expected to handle a variety of legal and academic written genres. In these genres, meaning can be nuanced through a variety of means, including hedging. However, international law students often find decoding instances of hedging challenging, with interpretation of the writer’s true meaning suffering as a result. The aim of this paper is to compare hedging in two written legal genres which are frequently used by post-graduate law students to underpin their own academic essays: Law review articles and Supreme Court decisions. To that end, two analyses were undertaken. The first was qualitative in nature and involved the identification of hedges in a small corpus of just under 50,000 words based on introspection and intuition as per Salager-Meyer (2000). The second analysis served to verify conclusions drawn by using WordSmith Tools 6.0 (Scott 2013) and a much larger corpus of nearly eight million words. Correlation was found between the results of the two analyses, indicating that qualitative results could be extrapolated to larger samples to some degree.",
keywords = "hedging, legal genres, Supreme Court, epistemic modality, law review, pragmatic competence",
author = "Holly Vass",
year = "2015",
language = "English",
volume = "3",
pages = "27--35",
journal = "Research in Corpus Linguistics",
issn = "2243-4712",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Analysing hedging in legal discourse using small-scale and large-scale corpora.

AU - Vass, Holly

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Post-graduate law students are expected to handle a variety of legal and academic written genres. In these genres, meaning can be nuanced through a variety of means, including hedging. However, international law students often find decoding instances of hedging challenging, with interpretation of the writer’s true meaning suffering as a result. The aim of this paper is to compare hedging in two written legal genres which are frequently used by post-graduate law students to underpin their own academic essays: Law review articles and Supreme Court decisions. To that end, two analyses were undertaken. The first was qualitative in nature and involved the identification of hedges in a small corpus of just under 50,000 words based on introspection and intuition as per Salager-Meyer (2000). The second analysis served to verify conclusions drawn by using WordSmith Tools 6.0 (Scott 2013) and a much larger corpus of nearly eight million words. Correlation was found between the results of the two analyses, indicating that qualitative results could be extrapolated to larger samples to some degree.

AB - Post-graduate law students are expected to handle a variety of legal and academic written genres. In these genres, meaning can be nuanced through a variety of means, including hedging. However, international law students often find decoding instances of hedging challenging, with interpretation of the writer’s true meaning suffering as a result. The aim of this paper is to compare hedging in two written legal genres which are frequently used by post-graduate law students to underpin their own academic essays: Law review articles and Supreme Court decisions. To that end, two analyses were undertaken. The first was qualitative in nature and involved the identification of hedges in a small corpus of just under 50,000 words based on introspection and intuition as per Salager-Meyer (2000). The second analysis served to verify conclusions drawn by using WordSmith Tools 6.0 (Scott 2013) and a much larger corpus of nearly eight million words. Correlation was found between the results of the two analyses, indicating that qualitative results could be extrapolated to larger samples to some degree.

KW - hedging

KW - legal genres

KW - Supreme Court

KW - epistemic modality

KW - law review

KW - pragmatic competence

M3 - Article

VL - 3

SP - 27

EP - 35

JO - Research in Corpus Linguistics

JF - Research in Corpus Linguistics

SN - 2243-4712

ER -