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The nature of legal language

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Abstract

Legal languages are inevitably products of the history of the nation or state in which they are used, as well as the peculiar developments of the legal system in question. In terms of features, they tend to be characterized by minor differences in spelling, pronunciation, and orthography; long and complex sentences, often containing conjoined phrases or lists, as well as passive and nominal constructions; and a large and distinct lexicon. The profession has developed distinct traditions on how its language should be interpreted. In terms of style, the language of the law is often archaic, formal, impersonal, and wordy or redundant. And it can be relatively precise, or quite general or vague, depending on the strategic objectives of the drafter.

References

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