Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0929-9971
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9994
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This study aims to deal with the relationship between terminological variation and ideology by examining the system of terminology and the defined individual terms in data protection legislation. With two self-compiled corpora incorporating data protection laws in the United States and the European Union respectively, we adopt a corpus-assisted approach as an effective toolkit to generate a general profile of the system of legal terminology on the one hand and identify the defined legal terms in the two corpora on the other. This study, based on Van Dijk’s (1998) multidisciplinary approach to ideology, seeks to unravel the underlying ideological configurations behind the variation of legal terminology. The findings show that one plausible – though certainly not definitive – interpretation of the variation in legal terminology in the data protection domain lies in the distinct ideological stances imposed by such discourse communities as lawmakers, judges as well as the president and the party in power. The ideological investigation of terminology is a significant aspect of the study of variation phenomena. It is argued that the ideologically variable slants and historical experiences, as the contextual constraints on the ideological beliefs, may contribute to accounting for the spatial and temporal variation of legal terminology.


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