Words from Bononia Legal Corpus

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The analysis of special multilingual corpora is still in its infancy, but it may serve a particularly important role for the directions it offers both in cross-linguistic investigation and in the selection of the most typical features of text types and genres. To exemplify the information which can be obtained from corpus evidence, the paper reports on an on-going corpus-driven research project, named Bononia Legal Corpus (BOLC). The main aim of BOLC is to build multilingual machine readable law corpora. Data are at present limited to English and Italian, but an extension is envisaged to include other languages. Before the first sample, a preliminary pilot corpus was constructed to consider European legislation and create a conceptual framework to be used as a first-level experience. In the paper, Sections 2 and 3 describe the corpus design and formatting as well as the corpus access tools. Sections 4 and 5 discuss two case studies and analyse two semantic areas which can be seen as two ends of the same variational continuum. At one end, we consider the words <i>contratto</i> and <i>contract</i>, which through the extension of international transactions and circulation may be supposed to have acquired transnational traits. At the other, we focus on a semantic area which may be expected to present translation problems for the differences existing in the two socio-institutional systems. Reference is made to the English words <i>tax </i>and <i>duty</i> and to the Italian words <i>tassa</i> and <i>imposta</i>.


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