Language Strategies in Legal Reasoning of Judgments: an Engagement-Adaptation Model

Wenxiu Song


Legal reasoning, as the core of the judgment, has always been the focus of legal community. While in fact, the reasoning of judgment is not only related to knowledge of jurisprudence but also associates closely with the use of language strategies and thus deserves the attention of linguistic scholars. This study attempts to explore the language strategies underlying the legal reasoning of judgment based on engagement system of appraisal theory and adaptation theory. Through analyzing the legal reasoning of ten American judgments, it is found that substantial engagement resources are employed in the reasoning, among which Attribute occurs most frequently, followed by Deny, Entertain, Counter, Endorse, and Pronounce is the least favored resource in the legal reasoning of judgments, which is the result of the adaptation to the social role of the judges, the relationship between power and equality in court, as well as the expected psychology of the audience of the judgments.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Wenxiu Song

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International Journal of English Language Education    E-mail:    Copyright © Macrothink Institute    ISSN 2325-0887

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