Language is particularly significant in law because it is through it that law finds expression. From formulation to interpretation and enforcement, law exclusively depends on language. Legal contract is notorious for formalities and unchanging nature, especially with the use of archaic words and formulaic expressions is an important genre of legal English. Although the formalities afford lawyers opportunity to achieve “precision”, they constitute a serious challenge for the layman. This study examined the frequency, structure, and meaning of archaisms to argue that the elements are operational tools in legal contracts. The data for the study were derived from ten purposively sampled legal contracts (scanned and converted to electronic-version) of about 7116 words of the Akure Judicial Division of Ondo State Nigeria. With corpus linguistics methodologies, using register analysis within the purview of Systemic Functional Grammar, the study adopted the content analysis methodology to identify archaisms in the legal contracts, and to quantitatively and qualitatively analysis the data. The study found 20 archaisms of 4 categories occurring 187 times (2.6%) of the total number of words to justify the claim that archaisms, which are no more found in general English usage, are still very much in use in legal documents, especially contracts. This study concluded that archaisms which according to lawyers, are used to lend a touch of formality and precision to legal language, should give way to modern words which can serve both lawyers’ and non-lawyers’ needs.
Deixis (the use of this, that and other pointing devices) in English has its discursive and referential values which are determined by the context of situation. In this study, I examined the use of the (English) deixis, as a discourse pointing device, to argue that the language situation in operation, could determine deictic usage. Using corpus linguistics methodologies, the study purposively sampled three consecutive months’ editions (January 1– March 31, 2017) of four online newspaper editorials from: Canada, Jamaica, Nigeria and the UK, where different language situations exist. In analysing the data, the newspaper editorials corpus was subjected to AntConc Concordance Tool, to identify and classify the deictic markers into types and through simple statistics determined the frequency of use on paper and country bases to show variation (if any). The major significance of the study is to help in understanding the working of language in its environment of operation and in presupposing the usage of language in the different contexts of situations.