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The rhetorical functions of semi-technical language in post-graduate academic legal writing

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dc.contributor.advisor Farr, Fiona
dc.contributor.advisor McCarthy, Michael A. Maher, Paschal Daniel Gerard 2013-07-31T14:28:36Z 2013-07-31T14:28:36Z 2013
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract This study, set in the field of English for academic legal purposes (EALP), sets out to first identify a semi-technical word list in post-graduate academic legal written texts and then to examine the rhetorical functions such a wordlist enables as an indicator of the epistemology of the disciplinary community. This field was chosen because access to student assignments is hindered by the fact that they are not in published form; yet numerically, they most likely outnumber published academic material. In a post-graduate context, where in the field of law there is an influx of non-native speakers who have had their legal education in systems other than the English language dominated Common Law, the need to quickly understand how information is to be organised and communicated in student academic texts is a very pressing one indeed. The thesis adopts a corpus linguistics approach to the identification of semi-technical language. The corpus is comprised of texts written by post-graduate students studying Masters in Law (LLM) courses at three universities in Ireland; the corpus is just under one million words. The approach relies on quantitative methods to arrive at a vocabulary list and beyond the initial setting of parameters for data organisation and filtering, the researcher only becomes more active in the role of interpreter of the list’s rhetorical functions. The rhetorical functions themselves illustrate the positioning of post-graduate student writing between observing academic conventions, such as citation, and professional conventions, such as the use of binomial or multinomial constructions. However, a clear line dividing academic from professional practices does not exist and elements of both can be found to varying degrees in the three main rhetorical fields addressed by semi-technical language: citation, the use of bi- and multinomial constructions and finally, the reliance on nominal forms. The study, which is based on texts that were deemed successful by the disciplinary community gatekeepers (course lecturers), effectively sheds light on what fundamental legal discourse principles have to be adhered to by students whenever they write in their Master level courses. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject academic legal writing en_US
dc.subject EALP en_US
dc.subject semi-technical language en_US
dc.title The rhetorical functions of semi-technical language in post-graduate academic legal writing en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/masterThesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US

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