Legal and Academic Discourse in English

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Il corso si pone in prospettiva propedeutica rispetto all'uso dell'inglese in campo accademico prima, e professionale in seguito, con riferimento specifico al campo delle relazioni internazionali, soprattutto in area giuridica.

Gli obiettivi sono dunque di natura sia teorica, sia applicativa. Si vuole anzitutto fornire agli studenti una panoramica ragionata degli strumenti linguistici tipici dell'inglese accademico, al fine di promuovere una maggiore consapevolezza sia di tipo strettamente lessico-grammaticale, sia di tipo testuale e discorsivo; secondariamente, si intende affrontare il tema dell'inglese giuridico, esaminandone le caratteristiche e operando una ricognizione ragionata delle maggiori difficoltà e peculiarità riscontrabili in vari tipi di documenti. Lo scopo ultimo è l'acquisizione da parte degli studenti di strumenti e strategie che consentano loro un uso ottimale della lingua inglese nelle situazioni di ordine accademico e professionale di loro pertinenza.

Il corso ha uno spiccato fuoco pratico, e prevede il consolidamento delle capacità di comprensione di testi scritti complessi (anche di argomento giuridico) in inglese, nonché l'acquisizione delle competenze necessarie alla redazione di saggi accademici in tale lingua.
Expected learning outcomes
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
In case of a health emergency, the course will be taught online live, through MS Teams, and the recorded sessions will be uploaded on Ariel.
Exams will maintain the same format but shall be administered onlnie, through MS Teams and Moodle + SEB or proctoring.
Course syllabus
The course has a two-pronged focus - legal English, and academic English.
The legal English component will take up about a third of the course. This part of the course aims to foster the acquisition of the linguistic competences required to read legal texts in English, as well as to discuss topics in international law fluently and with lexical and grammatical propriety. Starting from a general introduction to legal English, the course will then focus on international law. The course will deal with the following topics:
- introduction to legal discourse in common law systems: lexical, textual and discursive aspects;
- English usage and textual and discursive practices in international relations;
- analysis of legal texts, with special regard to international contracts;
- discussion of case studies.
The academic discourse component includes the revision, further exploration and consolidation of the lexico-syntactical and phraseological features of academic English. These competences will be combined with the acquisition of essay writing skills. In this part, the focus will be on academic essay writing in English. In particular, besides grammatical and lexical correctness, the course will teach principles of textual organization in essay writing, and on argumentative writing.
Prerequisites for admission
The minimum requirement for students to profitably attend the course is a level of English language competence matching the B2 level in the CEFR. The exit level is set at B2 plus of the CEFR.
You can find a description of the competences associated with the B2 level of the CEFR here:…
Among the most common B2 level international certifications are Cambridge First Certificate (grade A or B) and IELTS (with a minimum score of 6). Please bear in mind that no international certifications are required; however, you must have the required level.
Students whose comptences do not meet the minimum entry requirements must autonomously fill any gaps in their preliminary knowledge of English. To this end, the following book is recommended:
Murphy, Raymond 2012. English Grammar in Use. 4th edition. CUP. ISBN: 978-0-521-18906-4 (edition with answers)
Teaching methods
The course is lecture-based, but students are expected to actively participate in the lessons. The development of skills and competences is crucial; because of this, students will be required to work assiduosuly on the development and consolidation of academic and legal English skills through constant critical practice. he teaching methods used will draw from applied functional linguistics, especially from the English-speaking tradition. Classes will be taught in English.
Teaching Resources
Legal English:
Giuliana Garzone, Rita Salvi Legal English. Milano, EGEA, 2007, chapters 1,2,3,10,12, 14, 15, 16.
Students are also required to study all texts and materials provided in class. These materials will be made available on the course website.
Academic English:
Edward de Chazal, Sam McCarter, Louis Rogers, Julie Moore, Paul Dummett, Jon Hird, John Hughes. 2013. Oxford EAP Advanced/C1 Student's Book and DVD-ROM Pack. Oxford: OUP. ISBN: 978-0-19-400179-3. You are kindly requested to purchase this book before the beginning of the course.
All further materials used in class are also part of the required reading. They will be made available on the course website.
Course website:
Assessment methods and Criteria
Evaluation is exam based. The exam is in written form and aims to ascertain students' competences - both theoretical and in applied forms - in respect of the topics and language varieties discussed during the course. In particular, students will have to prove their competence in using the structures of academic English (B2 plus level), and to be familiar with the key linguistic and discursive structures of legal English.
The exams comprises the following parts:
1. closed-question test on legal English (30 minutes); no dictionary allowed. The test is composed of 35 items and the final mark is expressed out of 30 points.;
2. essay writing on an academic topic (90 minutes, 250-350 words); monolingual dictionary allowed. The essay is evaluated on the basis of lexical appropriateness, grammatical correctness, structural cohesion, validity of argumentation structure, in line with the academic writing strandards taught during the course. The essay will be evaluated with a mark out of 30 points. The topic assigned will be chosen from a range of topical issues broadly discussed during the course and relevant to the students' degree course.
The final mark is the average of the marks obtained in the two parts and is expressed out of 30 points.
L-LIN/12 - LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATION - ENGLISH - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Professors: Fabbris Matteo Giovanni, Grego Kim Serena
Mon. 21 Sep., 11 a.m., on Teams or in Via Conservatorio.
Please book an appointment by clicking on the link below.