Is One Semester of Legal English Enough?

Aurelija Daukšaite

Abstract


The paper aims to research whether second year law students who are non-native speakers of English and study legal English (C1/C2) at Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) acquire enough knowledge of legal English during their one-semester-long studies in order to pursue their future studies in English, since later they have to take certain law subjects in which legal English is used as a language of instruction. This may seem to be very complicated if not enough knowledge of legal English is acquired before taking such subjects in English. Therefore, in the small scale research that used an online questionnaire consisting of open and closed questions, 19 research participants were asked about their class attendance, usefulness of legal English, the most challenging areas in studying legal English, the amount of time the students had spent on their studies of legal English outside the class, and whether they felt they had enough knowledge of legal English to be able to listen to other law subjects of their study programme in English after taking the course of Legal English. They were also asked to provide suggestions of what should be changed in teaching and learning of legal English in order to satisfy their present and future needs. The research showed that even though they had attended the classes and found the course useful, they (59.7 %) evaluated their knowledge of legal English as insufficient for following other law subjects with legal English as a language of instruction and 84.2 % of them would like it to be taught for a longer period of time. However, the study also showed that the students did not use their self-study time effectively, and it seems as a possible reason why they had not acquired enough knowledge in the course of Legal English in the spring semester of 2012 at VMU.

Keywords


llegal English, teaching legal English to non-native speakers of English, teaching and learning English for specific purposes, legal vocabulary, VMU.

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Print ISSN: 1648-2824
Online ISSN: 2029-7203