Law & Corpus Linguistics — Background
Corpus linguistics is an approach to language research that utilizes a principled collection of texts (i.e., a corpus) in order to better understand patterns of language use. Analysis of these patterns can produce insight into, among other things, the meaning of words and phrases. Linguists (and lexicographers) have long understood that corpora are a vastly superior guide to interpretation than native speaker intuition or even dictionaries. With advances in computer technology, the use of corpus linguistics for research has expanded dramatically. Legal scholars and judges have only recently begun to tap the potential of this method because most are unaware of its possibilities.