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The Legal Language of Scottish BurghsStandardization and Lexical Bundles (1380-1560)$
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Joanna Kopaczyk

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945153

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945153.001.0001

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Repetition, Fixedness, and Lexical Bundles

Repetition, Fixedness, and Lexical Bundles

(p.51) 4 Repetition, Fixedness, and Lexical Bundles
The Legal Language of Scottish Burghs

Joanna Kopaczyk

Oxford University Press

The realization that communication is largely built of recurrent fixed elements was captured in Sinclair’s idiom principle at the beginning of 1990s. Exploring the processes of fixedness and prefabrication in language, this chapter makes a link between frequency-driven phenomena and their function in communication, especially in the context of specialized discourse. The problems encountered in defining fixedness are discussed, for example, the question of semantic opacity, frequency as a measure of fixedness, the structural nature of prefabs, and the semantic and pragmatic forces which are conducive to fixing specific lexico-syntactic strings. In this context, the lexical bundles are introduced as a novelty in historical corpus linguistics and as a tool to provide data for the analytical part of the project. The chapter closes with focus on binomials and multinomials which belong to the traditional toolkit of legal discourse, and which recur among the lexical bundles drawn from the Scottish corpus.

Keywords:   idiom principle, frequency, pragmaticalization, lexicalization, prefabrication, multi-word units, lexical bundles, repetition, binomials, multinomials

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