Formulaic metadiscursive signalling devices in judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union: a new corpus-based model for studying discourse relations of texts

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  • University of Vienna


This article investigates how paragraph-initial metadiscursive lexical items serve as signalling devices in text organisation of judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ). Building on established work in the field of linguistics that claims that legal reasoning can be understood from the utterances used in a text (Crystal and Davy 1969), the authors also consider the context in which judgments of the ECJ are produced and applied. The findings of the linguistic analysis carried out are contextualised within the unique multilingual setting of the ECJ, using Koestler’s theory of creativity and cognitive theories of text processing as the basis of analysis. That analysis leads to the conclusion that not only do language patterns found in ECJ judgments shape the method of reasoning used by that Court, but also that those judgments are made up of ‘almost wholly automised’ sub-codes of grammar and syntax.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21–55
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Speech Language and the Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2019


  • law and language, legilinguistics, legallinguistics, linguistics, law and linguistics, ECJ, CJEU, Court of Justice of the European Union, EU Law