A CORPUS-BASED PROPOSAL FOR THE GRADING OF VOCABULARY TEACHING MATERIALS FOR THE LEGAL ENGLISH CLASS

María José Marín Perez, Camino Rea Rizzo

Abstract


The introduction of legal English as a compulsory subject in the curriculum of the Law Degrees taught at Spanish universities due to the implementation of the Bologna Reform has led to the design of syllabuses which are intended to enable students to become proficient users of this English variety with both academic and professional purposes. This paper presents a corpus-based proposal for the grading of materials for the teaching of legal vocabulary which can be extrapolated to other varieties of English for Specific and Academic Purposes (ESAP). In order to exemplify it, a sample list of 33 crime nouns (obtained from the legal English textbooks consulted) has been examined in terms of their frequency, keyness and text range values in an ad hoc legal corpus of 2.6 million words, UKSCC. After doing so, Chung’s (2003) automatic term recognition (ATR) method has been applied so as to establish their level of specialisation. Our proposal relies on the assumption that the information obtained after taking these different parameters into consideration might be helpful for the ESAP instructor to rank the vocabulary inventories obtained from specialised corpora so that the materials derived from them can be graded according to the students’ needs.


Keywords


Legal English; specialised corpora; ESAP; ATR methods

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ISSN 2045-4031. University of Central Lancashire 2010-2013.