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Language and Law

Based on my training in law and frame semantics I am currently working on discovering the principles that underlie the lexical organization of words in the semantic domain of crime in English and German legal texts. A second project investigates how the legal concept of separation of church and state is expressed in the constitutions of the United States and Germany and how it is interpreted differently in the two countries. Over the last four years, I have traced the linguistic, legal, and educational effects of the reform of German orthography that took place in 1998. In particular, I am investigating whether the educational advantages predicted by proponents of the controversial reform have materialized. In addition, I am in the process of determining the linguistic and cultural effects that the English-only laws passed during and after WW I had on Texas German.