About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5535-5541
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

METHODOLOGICAL PROPOSAL FOR THE TEACHING OF SYNTAX AND LEXICON IN LEGAL DISCOURSE

E. González Hernández, A. Hernando García-Cervigón

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (SPAIN)
The purpose of this paper is to offer an efficient methodological approach to the teaching of syntax and lexicon in legal discourse based on the cooperative method. We shall structure the analysis of this matter in three parts:

1. Analysis of the state of legal discourse, pausing to examine certain linguistic, syntactic and lexical phenomena, characteristic to this type of discourse, as well as describing the traditional method of teaching legal language in Law Degrees.

2. A description of the latest educational requirements derived from The European Area of Higher Education.

3. Explaining our proposal for a cooperative mode of legal discourse teaching/learning, which enables the suitable development of linguistic skills and oratory by Law and Communication professionals.

We must point out that the need to simplify legal terms, and Administrative terms on the whole, has been discussed for several decades. Society, as well as certain institutions and movements are demanding that jurists apply a style of writing that is more easily understood by the ordinary citizen. The cultured and formal nature of legal discourse is not incompatible with the intelligibility of its writings. For example, the Plain English Movement or the Comité de Simplification du Langage Administratif [COSLA], on 2002. As proof of this trend, in 2009, the latest reforms to the Spanish Law of Civil Procedure, have added two new paragraphs to Article 209, which include certain demands to make legal texts more comprehensible.

However, and in spite of these proposals, legal discourse still retains its unique style, forged throughout centuries, and which could be classified as baroque. It has a specific terminology and its own particular syntactic characteristics, and it is, therefore, difficult for students to learn and master. Legal vocabulary has a great many terms originating from standard vocabulary that have specific meaning in legal texts, such as: risk, holder or predatory. Added to this, there is the need to memorize and internalize unfamiliar terms, Latinisms, and also acronyms referring to unknown legal regulations.

Students, particularly those in the first stages of their degree, need to get gradually used to using and understanding the specific terminology and jargon, in order to grasp legal literature and, in particular, jurisprudence.The teaching method we propose adapts better to the necessary development of a Law Graduate’s oratory skills. Instead of the classical rote-learning system, we propose combining the expositive lecture with the progressive introduction of efficient cooperative techniques. Theoretical lectures, therefore, must be seen as yet another part of a larger search process, as its cooperation with other multiple formative activities allows the university student to gain complete educational development.

We believe in its applicability to other Degrees such as: Audiovisual communications and Journalism. One of the skills that Audiovisual Communication and Journalism graduates must develop is the ability to analyse and interpret texts and specialized documents, on any relevant topic, and be able to reformulate them using lexical and grammatical structures that are comprehensible to the public as a whole.
@InProceedings{GONZALEZHERNANDEZ2011MET,
author = {Gonz{\'{a}}lez Hern{\'{a}}ndez, E. and Hernando Garc{\'{i}}a-Cervig{\'{o}}n, A.},
title = {METHODOLOGICAL PROPOSAL FOR THE TEACHING OF SYNTAX AND LEXICON IN LEGAL DISCOURSE},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {5535-5541}}
TY - CONF
AU - E. González Hernández AU - A. Hernando García-Cervigón
TI - METHODOLOGICAL PROPOSAL FOR THE TEACHING OF SYNTAX AND LEXICON IN LEGAL DISCOURSE
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 5535
EP - 5541
ER -
E. González Hernández, A. Hernando García-Cervigón (2011) METHODOLOGICAL PROPOSAL FOR THE TEACHING OF SYNTAX AND LEXICON IN LEGAL DISCOURSE, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 5535-5541.
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