Issue 4 (22) 2013

Kovkel_BASIC ELEMENTS of the Legal Language Structure

BASIC ELEMENTS of the Legal Language Structure

N.Ph. Kovkel

The Belarusian State Economic University
26, Partizanskiy pr-t, Minsk, Republic of Belarus, 220070
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Abstract: The article deals with various approaches to the problem of structuring of legal language. Legal language is proved to be a dependent language in the sense of «langue». Therefore the term «legal texts» is to be used instead of the term «legal language». The language occurrences in the field of law, i.e. the set of speech acts in law communication, are to be termed as “legal speech”.

Using the range of legal, linguistic and logic criteria we distinguish the following elements of legal language structure: 1) the texts of the law sources; 2) applied legal texts; 3) applied legal speech; 4) scientific legal texts; 5) educational legal texts; 6) scientific legal speech; 7) legal speech of educational process. The above mentioned elements of legal language structure are non-uniform and can be classified according various criteria. The texts of the law sources are divided into the following groups: regulatory legal acts, judicial and administrative precedents, regulatory legal contracts, doctrinal and canonical texts. The groups of the law sources are non-uniform. They are linguistically specific: their lexical, syntactical, punctuative, stylistic, semantic, pragmatic and other peculiarities are to become subject to research. There are specific logics of operation in each group of the law sources: the logics of correspondence between the context of the law sources and the objective reality; the logics of internal transformations, that is the logics of the interrelationship of the language signs in the law sources; the logics of the law sources application. This kind of logics changes the effect they have in the process of their application.

Applied legal texts are divided into law enforcement and law realization texts, the latter can be further subdivided according various legal criteria. Applied legal speech falls into professional and ordinary speech, the latter can be subdivided according to sociolinguistic and other criteria. Scientific and educational legal texts, scientific legal speech and legal speech of educational process are more homogeneous, though they can be subject to further classification.

 Keywords: legal language structure; the texts of the law sources; applied legal texts and speech; scientific legal texts and speech; educational legal texts; legal speech of educational process


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