"The Struggle for Civic Space between a Minority Legal Language and a Dominant Legal Language: The Case of Māori" and English." Legal Lexicography: A Comparative Perspective (2016): 289.

Chapter in: Legal Lexicography: A Comparative Perspective (2016): 289.

Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper

21 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2017  

Māmari Stephens

Victoria University of Wellington

Mary T. Boyce

University of Canterbury

Date Written: July 22, 2014

Abstract

Our experience in creating a bilingual Māori-English legal dictionary (He Papakupu Reo Ture – a dictionary of legal Māori terms LexisNexis 2013) has shown us that legal lexicography offers fascinating insights into the relationship between the legal language for special purposes (LSP) of a dominant language such as English, and the legal LSP3 of a minority language such as Māori.

This chapter demonstrates three particular insights.

A diachronic corpus comprising texts of a threatened indigenous language will yield rich and useful data, but may not provide true comparability between texts. Investigation into how borrowings from the dominant language can change in usage over time yields potentially useful insights into lexical change in a diachronic corpus. Finally, paying particular attention to customary legal terms will yield insights into how an indigenous language absorbs and expresses Western legal concepts.

Keywords: legal lexicography, Maori language, Language for Special Purposes, diachronic corpus, legal dictionary

Suggested Citation

Stephens, Māmari and Boyce, Mary T., "The Struggle for Civic Space between a Minority Legal Language and a Dominant Legal Language: The Case of Māori" and English." Legal Lexicography: A Comparative Perspective (2016): 289. (July 22, 2014). Chapter in: Legal Lexicography: A Comparative Perspective (2016): 289.; Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3007022

Māmari Stephens (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

Mary T. Boyce

University of Canterbury ( email )

Ilam Road
Christchurch 1
New Zealand

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