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ERIC Number: ED318247
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Legal Language: What Is It and What Can We Do about It?
Charrow, Veda R.; Crandall, JoAnn
Legal language is discussed in the context of concern about the comprehensibility of consumer documents and the trend toward simplification of the language used in these documents. Specific features of legal language and its functions within the legal community and society are identified. As a primary tool of the legal profession, legal language is viewed as carrying a substantial social and linguistic burden. In addition, it is seen as serving separating, unifying, and prestige functions. It is proposed that these two factors explain why attempts at simplification are likely to be resisted. Legal language appears to have some features of a changing, living dialect, and while traditional scholars have focused only on legal vocabulary, research has demonstrated an evolution of legal terms through litigation and appeal that is analogous to the historical development of ordinary English. Recent research suggests that there is more to legal language than lexicon. Some of the attempts to simplify legal language and some research studies on the comprehension of non-legal language are examined for the insights they provide into linguistic barriers to comprehension of legal language. Areas of research are identified. (Author/MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A