Long Lexical Bundles and Standardisation in Historical Legal Texts

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Abstract

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.

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Studia Anglica Posnaniensia

The Journal of Adam Mickiewicz University

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