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A Stylistic Approach To Legal English Texts

Posted on:2010-01-30Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:S C LiuFull Text:PDF
GTID:2166360278958575Subject:English Language and Literature
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Legal English is the carrier and manifestation of the laws of countries or organizations whose official language is English. In the highly-legalized modern society, it plays a more and more important role in international communications. However, as a language variety, legal English is highly situation-tied and is of a frozen style. It is such a style that makes legal English texts so difficult and laborious to read and understand that ordinary readers may shrink back at the sight of them. So, it is significant to make a relatively systematic and objective study of the stylistic features of legal English.In this thesis, using a stylistic approach, I have explored the style markers and their stylistic effects of legal English texts at the lexical, syntactical and semantic levels, in the hope that such a study may enhance the readers or translators'sense of style and sensitivity to legal English texts so as to understand and translate these texts in a more efficient way.The variables of legal English's context of situation (the authoritative, serious and professional field, the extreme formal tenor and the written form) determine the frozen style of legal English and its three general linguistic features: accuracy and preciseness, professionalism and standardization, and consistency and identity. So, legal English texts prefer linguistic items of high formality: lexically, they are mainly characterized by archaic words and phrases, technical terms and borrowed words; syntactically, they are fond of longer and complex sentences, restricted premodifiers and heavy postmodifiers, passive constructions, simple present tense and several modal verbs (shall, may, must and will); semantically, they prefer some cohesive ties (lexical reiteration, coordinators and subordinators, thematic cohesion) and meticulous way of expression. These typical style markers of legal English texts fully reveal the frozen style of legal English variety. Getting familiar with these markers is undoubtedly helpful to understand or translate legal English texts.
Keywords/Search Tags:legal English, language variety, style markers, stylistic features, stylistic effects
PDF Full Text Request
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