Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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Law language is a cover-term for different genres of legal texts. The genre of law is characterized as being written, legislative and formal. Quantitative studies on the textual and linguistic structure of Old English () law-codes are lacking so far, but both aspects are analysed in this paper on the basis of a corpus of about 20,000 words. The results of the quantitative-qualitative analysis are compared to wills on the one hand, and to Early Modern English (od) and Present-Day English () statutes on the other. The synchronic comparison of law-codes and wills reveals that the text structure and the linguistic profile of the genres are very similar. The conclusion to be drawn from this result is that genre properties largely determine the textual and linguistic profile of texts in a given period. The diachronic comparisons show marked differences in the linguistic profile of law-codes and statutes of later periods.


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