2012 | 47 | 2-3 | 3-25
Article title

Long Lexical Bundles and Standardisation in Historical Legal Texts

Title variants
Languages of publication
Standardisation on the level of text is visible in the employment of stable and fixed expressions for a specific textual purpose. When gauging the extent of standardisation in texts, one of the parameters which should be taken into consideration is the length of such stable patterns. Since it is more difficult, and therefore rarer, to reproduce long chunks of text in an unchanged form, such a practice points towards greater standardisation. To explore the textual behaviour of long fixed strings in legal texts, this paper concentrates on long lexical bundles built out of eight consecutive elements (8-grams) and their frequency and function in historical legal texts. The database for this pilot paper comprises two collections of legal and administrative texts written in Scots between the fourteenth and the sixteenth century. The research results point to a considerable degree of textual standardisation throughout the corpus and to the most prominent functions of long repetitive chunks in historical legal discourse.
Physical description
  • Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
  • Meurman-Solin, Anneli (ed.) 1995 The Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots [HCOS]. Helsinki: University of Helsinki.
  • Williamson, Keith 2008 The Edinburgh Corpus of Older Scots [ECOS]. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.
  • Ari, Omer 2006 “Review of three software programs designed to identify lexical bundles”, LanguageLearning and Technology 10/1: 30-37.
  • Baron, Alistair - Paul Rayson 2008 “VARD 2: A tool for dealing with spelling variation in historical corpora”, Proceedingsof the Postgraduate Conference in Corpus Linguistics, Aston University, Birmingham, 22 May 2008. <>
  • Bianchi, Francesca - Roberto Pazzaglia 2007 “Student writing of research articles in a foreign language: metacognition and corpora”, in: Roberta Facchinetti (ed.), 259-287.
  • Biber, Douglas 1997 “Lexical bundles in spoken and written discourse: What the grammar books don’t tell you”, in: S.B. Gerome (ed.), 4-8.
  • Biber, Douglas 2004 “Lexical bundles in academic speech and writing”, in: Barbara Lewandowska- Tomaszczyk (ed.), 165-178.
  • Biber, Douglas 2009 “Corpus-based and corpus-driven analyses of language variation and use”, in: Bernd Heine - Heiko Narrog (eds.), 159-191.
  • Biber, Douglas - Francesca Barbieri 2007 “Lexical bundles in university spoken and written registers”, English for SpecificPurposes 26: 263-286.
  • Biber, Douglas - Susan Conrad - Viviana Cortes 2003 “Lexical bundles in speech and writing: An initial taxonomy”, in: Andrew Wilson et al. (eds.) 71-92.
  • Biber, Douglas - Susan Conrad - Viviana Cortes 2004 “If you look at... Lexical bundles in university teaching and textbooks”, AppliedLinguistics 25/3: 371-405.
  • Biber, Douglas - Stig Johansson - Geoffrey Leech - Susan Conrad - Edward Finegan 1999 Longman grammar of spoken and written English. London: Longman.
  • Bishop, Wendy - Hans Ostrum (eds.) 1997 Genre and writing. Portsmouth: Boynton / Cook.
  • Bugaj [Kopaczyk], Joanna 2004 “Middle Scots as an emerging standard and why it did not make it”, Scottish Language 23: 19-34.
  • Claridge, Claudia 2008 “Historical corpora”, in: Anke Lüdeling - Merja Kytö (eds.), 242-258.
  • Conrad, Susan - Douglas Biber 2004 “The frequency and use of lexical bundles in conversation and academic prose”, Lexicographica: International Annual for Lexicography 20: 56-71.
  • Cortes, Viviana 2002 “Lexical bundles in freshman compositions”, in: Randi Reppen et al. (eds.), 131-146.
  • Cortes, Viviana 2004 “Lexical bundles in published and student writing in history and biology”, English forSpecific Purposes 23/4: 397-423.
  • Culpeper, Jonathan - Merja Kytö 2010 Early Modern English dialogues: Spoken interaction as writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Deumert, Ana - Wim Vandenbussche (eds.) 2003 Germanic standardizations. Past to present. Amsterdam - Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Devitt, Amy 1989 Standardising Written English. Diffusion in the Case of Scotland 1520-1659. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Devitt, Amy 1997 “Genre as a language standard”, in: Wendy Bishop - Hans Ostrum (eds.), 45-55.
  • Devitt, Amy 2004 Writing genres. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Dossena, Marina 2003 “Scots”, in: Ana Deumert - Wim Vandenbussche (eds.), 383-404. Dictionary of the Scots Language [DSL] <> Facchinetti, Roberta (ed.) 2007 Corpus linguistics 25 years on. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Gerome, S.B. (ed.) 1997 An update on grammar: How it is learnt - How it is taught (1996 Colloquium Proceedings). Paris: TESOL France.
  • Gotti, Maurizio - Davide Giannoni (eds.) 2006 New Trends in Specialized Discourse Analysis. Frankfurt a/Main: Peter Lang.
  • Goźdź-Roszkowski, Stanisław 2006 “Frequent phraseology in contractual instruments: A corpus-based study”, in: Maurizio Gotti - Davide Giannoni (eds.), 147-162.
  • Heine, Bernd - Heiko Narrog (eds.) 2009 The Oxford handbook of linguistic analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Innes, Cosmo 1868 “Preface”, in: Cosmo Innes (ed.), xx-l.
  • Innes, Cosmo (ed.) 1868 Ancient laws and customs of the burghs of Scotland. Vol. 1. A.D.1124-1424. Edinburgh: Scottish Burgh Records Society.
  • Halliday, M.A.K. 1973 Explorations in the functions of language. London: Edward Arnold. 1978 Language as a social semiotic. London: Edward Arnold
  • Kopaczyk, Joanna 2011 “Standaryzacja tekstów w perspektywie historycznej. Analiza zbitek leksykalnych” [Text-type standardisation in a historical perspective. Analysing lexical bundles], in: Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), 155-174. 2012a “Applications of the lexical bundles method in historical corpus research”, in: Piotr Pęzik (ed.). 2012b “Repetitive and therefore fixed? Lemmatic bundles and text-type standardisation in fifteenth-century administrative Scots”, in: Hans Sauer - Gaby Waxenberger (eds.) Forthcoming Standardising legal discourse. The language of Scottish burghs 1380-1560. (Language and the law 1. Series Editor: Roger W. Shuy). Oxford University Press.
  • Leith, David 1997 A social history of English (2nd edition). London: Routledge.
  • Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, Barbara (ed.) 2004 Practical applications in language corpora (PALC 2003). Hamburg: Peter Lang.
  • Levinson, Stephen C. 1983 Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Locher, Miriam A. - Jürg Strässler 2008 “Introduction: Standards and norms”, in: Miriam A. Locher - Jürg Strässler (eds.), 1-20.
  • Locher, Miriam A. - Jürg Strässler (eds.) 2008 Standards and norms in the English language. Berlin - New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Lüdeling, Anke - Merja Kytö (eds.) 2008 Corpus linguistics. An international handbook (vol.1). Berlin - New York: Walter de Gruyter.
  • MacQueen, Hector L. 1986 “Pleadable brieves, pleading and the development of Scots law”, Law and HistoryReview 4/2: 403-422.
  • Mellinkoff, David 1963 The language of the law. Boston, Toronto: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Meurman-Solin, Anneli 2000 “Change from above or from below? Mapping the loci of linguistic change in the history of Scottish English”, in: Laura Wright (ed.), 155-170.
  • Millar, Robert McColl 2005 Language, nation and power. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Moon, Rosamund 1998 Fixed expressions and idioms in English. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Parodi, G.iovanni (ed.) 2007 Working with Spanish corpora. London: Continuum.
  • Pęzik, Piotr (ed.) 2012 PALC Proceedings. Frankfurt a/Main: Peter Lang.
  • Reppen, Randi - Susan M. Fitzmaurice - Douglas Biber (eds.) 2002 Using corpora to explore linguistic variation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Rissanen, Matti 2000 “Standardisation and the language of early statutes”, in: Laura Wright (ed.), 117-130.
  • Sauer, Hans - Gaby Waxenberger (eds.) 2012 Papers from the 15 ICEHL. Frankfurt a/Main: Peter Lang.
  • Stalmaszczyk, Piotr (ed.) 2011 Metodologie językoznawstwa. Od ontologii do pragmatyki [Linguistic methodology. From ontology to pragmatics]. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego.
  • Stubbs, Michael - Isabel Barth 2003 “Using recurrent phrases as text-type discriminators: A quantitative method and some findings”, Functions of Language 10/1: 61-104.
  • Swales, John M. 2004 Research genres. Exploration and application. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Tannen, Deborah 1987 “Repetition in conversation as spontaneous formulaicity”, Text 7: 215-243.
  • Taavitsainen, Irma - Gunnel Melchers - Päivi Pahta (eds.) 1999 Writing in Nonstandard English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, Tracy-Ventura, Nicole - Douglas Biber - Viviana Cortes 2007 “Lexical bundles in Spanish speech and writing”, in: Giovanni Parodi (ed.), 217-231.
  • Wilson, Andrew - Paul Rayson - Tony McEnery (eds.) 2003 Corpus linguistics by the Lune. A Festschrift for Geoffrey Leech. Frankfurt a/ Main - New York: Peter Lang.
  • Wright, Laura (ed.) 2000 The development of Standard English, 1300-1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.