Towards a Conceptualization of Legal English as a Lingua Franca?


  •  Patrizia Anesa    

Abstract

English is de facto reinforcing its role as the language of international legal communication. Indeed, while different national languages continue to play a crucial role in the definition, the execution, and the application of the law, English is increasingly employed by non-native legal professionals worldwide. Thus, this study focuses on the use of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in legal settings and aims to offer considerations towards the conceptualization of Legal English as a Lingua Franca (LELF).

As English is considered a global asset in legal communication, it is argued that a finer problematization of LELF is imperative. In this respect, the study also discusses whether it is possible to apply the concept of a lingua franca to legal language tout court or whether the distinctive features of legal discourse across systems make the definition of LELF inapplicable from a conceptual perspective.

This article also offers a reflection on the main concerns which arise regarding the widespread use of English in legal settings, especially in the light of the specificities of different legal systems, legal cultures and communities of practice. Thus, all stakeholders involved should adopt a more reflexive approach in order to go beyond the unproblematic acceptance of LELF across legal settings and to be more aware of the implications and consequences that its usage entails.



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