Corpus Linguistics and the Dream of Objectivity
48 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2019 Last revised: 3 Feb 2020
Date Written: November 15, 2019
A growing number of scholars and judges have embraced corpus linguistics as a way to interpret legal texts. Their stated goal—to make legal interpretation more objective—is an admirable one. But, is their claim that corpus linguistics can reduce the subjectivity associated with judicial intuition and biased data more than just a dream? This Article analyzes the use of corpus linguistics for statutory interpretation and concludes that this novel practice does not live up to its promise to make legal interpretation more objective. Instead, the use of corpus linguistics relies on judicial intuition and biased data, disrupting its proponents’ dream of objectivity.
Keywords: Corpus Linguistics, Statutory Interpretation, Ordinary Meaning, Legislative Process
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