LINGUISTIC FEATURES OF LEGAL LANGUAGE

LINGUISTIC FEATURES OF LEGAL LANGUAGE

ABSTRACT

Legal language is a peculiar language used by law professionals designed for the sole objective of achieving justice through its normative and performative functions. In other words, it is used to impose rights and obligations, and equally regulate human behaviour and human relations. The irony is that the language that performs these essential roles in the lives of every individual sounds strange to the majority of non-professionals as a result of its uniqueness as regards the register. The concern of this research work is to investigate the distinct features of the language of acts, wills and deeds of assignment with a view to pointing out the relationship as well as the differences between them and the general syntactic structures and semantics of the English language. To achieve these objectives, six documents were randomly selected from the nine documents chosen for the study. As regards the method of data collection, there is direct lifting of sentences from the selected documents. For data analysis, a descriptive survey is employed. The syntactic as well as the semantic features of the selected documents were investigated. The summary of the result of the findings are as follows: legal language has a peculiar sentence structure. The peculiarity is as a result of the use of sentences that are characterized by embedded structures most of which are in form of phrases and clause adverbials. There is also preponderant use of adjectival, lexical repetition and unusual constructions. At the realm of semantics, the result shows that legal lexemes are made of mostly technical vocabulary. Doublets also characterize legal language. This is a situation where synonymous words are used at a time in one environment. Other semantic discoveries include the use of foreign words/expressions and local terms. Finally, there is evidence of improper use of punctuation marks.   In view of the above, a conclusion was made and vital recommendations were made.