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A Pragmatic Study Of Vagueness In Legal English

Posted on:2007-06-14Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:Y N QuanFull Text:PDF
GTID:2166360182977651Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
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The concept of vagueness was first proposed by the American professor Zadeh in his article entitled Fuzzy Sets, in which Zadeh pointed out that objects in the real world usually do not have sharply defined boundaries. Since its introduction, the theory of vagueness has aroused attention from many areas and is applied to many disciplines such as artificial intelligence, computer science, psychology and linguistics. In China, professor Wu Tieping is the first scholar who studies the vague theories systematically. However, researches on the vagueness combined with other variety of language like legal language and advertising language are still limited.The language of legal English is a kind of customary language, which includes some words, phrases and mode of expression with its unique style. One of the most important characteristics of legal English is precise in its usage. But in some situations, vague expressions are found in legal English. This thesis, based on the previous study, explores the vagueness in legal English from a pragmatic perspective by using the Cooperative Principle, Politeness Principle and Relevance Theory, and thus points out that vague expressions play an important role in legal English.This thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter I begins by introducing the development of vague language and the definitions and features of some important vague concepts such as semantic vagueness and pragmatic vagueness. Hedge is an important component of vague language and hence is introduced in this chapter. In chapter II the attention is paid to legal language. It gives a brief introduction to legal linguistics and addresses the characteristics of legal English. This chapter also presents the present studies of vagueness in legal language. Finally, the reasons for vagueness in legal language are dealt with. Chapter III is an introduction to some pragmatic principles including Cooperative Principle, Politeness Principle and Relevance Theory. Since vagueness is both intrinsic and important in the language system, then these pragmatic principles can be considered as a tool to explain the vague phenomena of language. Chapter IV discusses the vagueness in legal language within the framework of Cooperative Principle, Politeness Principle and Relevance Theory and sums up the functions of vagueness in legal English. Chapter V summaries the thesis and gives the implications and limitations of the study.
Keywords/Search Tags:vague language, legal English, precision, pragmatic principles
PDF Full Text Request
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