Argumentation

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 21–38

The Construction of Argumentation in Judicial Texts: Combining a Genre and a Corpus Perspective

Article

Abstract

Research on legal discourse has developed according to a variety of perspectives. As for descriptive accounts, two approaches are noteworthy. Firstly, Anglophone scholars have dealt with legal language from a genre-based viewpoint. Secondly, French studies have focused on argumentation in judicial texts, by considering the forms of reasoning involved in it and, albeit more rarely, its linguistic constituents. This paper aims at reinforcing the linguistic component of the analysis of legal discourse, by carrying out a corpus-based genre analysis on a sample of 40 judgments. First of all, the results of the investigation of the genre structure of judgments will be presented. The comparative approach adopted will show that the differences between European and English/Irish judgments mainly concern the generic move Arguing the case. Secondly, analysis will concentrate in more detail on one of the most frequent tools used in the discursive construction of argumentation within the aforementioned move, i.e. the widely spread reporting verb HOLD. A study of its concordances suggests that it is used in all types of judgments as a meta-argumentative operator signalling either an authoritative stance taken by the Court or an equally authoritative reported argumentation of another judge or court.

Keywords

corpus genre judicial argumentation proponent’s argumentation reported argumentation reporting verbs 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bhatia V.: 1993 Analysing Genre. Language Use in Professional Settings. Longman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Biber D., S. Conrad, R. Reppen: 1998 Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  3. Bobbio N.: 1988 Reason in Law. In: N. MacCormick, A. Aarnio (eds.), Legal Reasoning. Vol. I, Dartmouth, Aldershot, pp. 3–14Google Scholar
  4. Bondi M. 1998 Libri di Testo e Argomentazione Riportata. Esempi di Metapragmatica nell’Inglese degli Economisti. In: M. Bondi (ed.), Forms of Argumentative Discourse. Per un’analisi linguistica dell’argomentare. CLUEB, Bologna, pp. 85–107Google Scholar
  5. Bondi M.: 1999 English Across Genres. Language Variation in the Discourse of Economics, Modena: Il FiorinoGoogle Scholar
  6. Bourcier D., S. Bruxelles: 1995 Une Approche Sémantique de l’Argumentation Juridique. Dire et C’est-à-dire. Revue Française de Sociologie 36:35–57Google Scholar
  7. Goffman E.: 1987 Forme del Parlare. Il Mulino, BolognaGoogle Scholar
  8. Hunston S.: 2002 Corpora in Applied Linguistics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. MacCormick N.: 1978 The Motivation of Judgments in the Common Law. In: C. Perelman, P. Foriers (eds.), La Motivation des Décisions de Justice. établissements émile Bruylant, Bruxelles, pp. 167–194Google Scholar
  10. MacCormick N., R. S. Summers (eds.): 1997 Interpreting Precedents. A Comparative Study. Dartmouth, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  11. Maley Y.: 1994 The Language of the Law. In: J. Gibbons (ed.), Language and the Law. Longman, London, pp. 11–50Google Scholar
  12. Mathieu-Izorche M.-L.: 2001 Le Raisonnement Juridique. Initiation à la Logique et à l’Argumentation. PUF, ParisGoogle Scholar
  13. Mazzi D.: 2005 Grounds and Reasons: Argumentative Signals in Judicial Texts. Linguistica e Filologia 20:157–178Google Scholar
  14. Mazzi D.: 2006 “This is an Attractive Argument, but...”: Argumentative Conflicts as an Interpretive Key to the Discourse of Judges. In: V. Bhatia, M. Gotti (eds.), Explorations in Specialised Genres. Peter Lang, Bern, pp. 271–290Google Scholar
  15. Mazzi, D.: Forthcoming a, ‚The Rhetoric of Judicial Texts: The Interplay of Reported Argumentation and the Judge’s Argumentative Voice’, in S. Sarangi and G. Garzone (eds.), Ideology and Ethics. A Discourse Perspective. Peter Lang, BernGoogle Scholar
  16. Mazzi, D.: Forthcoming b, ‚Reporting Verbs: A Tool for a Polyphonic Analysis of Judgments’, in K. Ehlich and D. Heller (eds.), Studien zur Rechtskommunikation. Peter Lang, BernGoogle Scholar
  17. Nivelle, N., W. Van Belle: 2006, “The Argumentative Use of Counterfactual Conditionals in Judicial Discourse’, Paper presented at the 6th ISSA Conference, Amsterdam, June 27–30, 2006Google Scholar
  18. Plantin C.: 1996 L’Argumentation. Seuil, ParisGoogle Scholar
  19. Plantin C.: 1999 La Interacciòn Argumentativa. Escritos 17–18:23–49Google Scholar
  20. Plantin C.: 2005 L’Argumentation. Histoire, Théorie et Perspectives. PUF, ParisGoogle Scholar
  21. Rega L.: 1997 La Sentenza Italiana e Tedesca nell’Ottica della Traduzione. In: L. Schena (ed.), La Lingua del Diritto. Difficoltà Traduttive. Applicazioni Didattiche. CISU, Roma, pp. 117–126Google Scholar
  22. Scott M.: 1998 Wordsmith Tools 3.0. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  23. Simpson J., E. Weiner (eds.): 1999 The Oxford English Dictionary. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  24. Sinclair J.: 1991 Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  25. Sinclair J.: 2004 Reading Concordances. Longman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Swales J.: 1990 Genre Analysis. English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Thompson G.: 1996 Voices in the Text: Discourse Perspectives on Language Reports. Applied Linguistics 17:501–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thompson G.: 2001 Interaction in Academic Writing: Learning to Argue with the Reader. Applied Linguistics 22:58–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thompson G., Y. Yiyun: 1991 Evaluation in the Reporting Verbs Used in Academic Papers. Applied Linguistics 12:365–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Vannier G.: 2001 Argumentation et Droit. Introduction à la Nouvelle Rhétorique de Perelman. PUF, ParisGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly

Personalised recommendations