Corpus Linguistics and the Dream of Objectivity

48 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2019 Last revised: 3 Feb 2020

See all articles by Evan C. Zoldan

Evan C. Zoldan

University of Toledo College of Law

Date Written: November 15, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Zoldan, Evan Craig, Corpus Linguistics and the Dream of Objectivity (November 15, 2019). 50 Seton Hall Law Review 401 (2019), University of Toledo Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3444247

Evan Craig Zoldan (Contact Author)

University of Toledo College of Law ( email )

2801 W. Bancroft Street
Toledo, OH 43606
United States

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