Lexical Primings of Licensing Agreements: A Preliminary Investigation

  •  Wei-chen Chuang    


Legal texts such as licensing agreements have achieved a certain degree of notoriety because of their complexity. An analysis of English used in licensing agreements would provide teachers of English for specific purposes (ESP) valuable information for preparing appropriate course materials. Recent theories on the role of a lexicon in language and language acquisition have indicated the importance of the collocational patterns of the key lexicon of an ESP genre (Sinclair, 1991; Hoey, 2005). Based on Hoey's (2005) theory of lexical priming, the current study examined primary lexical priming patterns through identifying the essential key lexical priming patterns of licensing agreements in high-tech industries and exploring their semantic and pragmatic associations. For this study, 60 samples of licensing agreements were randomly selected according to Biber et al. (1990) for determining the linguistic variability required for a sample text to be included in a specialized corpus. The results showed that the lexical primings of the studied keywords substantially converged both semantically and pragmatically. These findings on lexical primings provide an approximate plot illustrating how the semantic and pragmatic associations of the keyword lexical primings combined with the lexical primings constitute the linguistic basics through which the purposes of granting a license are served. Implications for the pedagogical applications of the findings are discussed.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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