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Researching Language and the Law

Textual Features and Translation Issues


Edited By Davide Simone Giannoni and Celina Frade

This volume reflects the latest work of scholars specialising in the linguistic and legal aspects of normative texts across languages (English, Danish, French, Italian, Spanish) and law systems. Like other domains of specialised language use, legal discourse is subject to the converging pressures of internationalisation and of emerging practices that destabilise well-established norms and routines. In an integrated, interdependent context, supranational laws, rules and procedures are gradually developed and harmonised to regulate issues that can no longer be dealt with by national laws alone, as in the case of the European Union. The contributors discuss the impact of such developments on the construction, evolution and hybridisation of legal texts, analysed both linguistically and from the practitioner’s standpoint.


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Textual Features 17


Textual Features ESTRELLA MONTOLÍO DURÁN Discourse, Grammar and Professional Discourse Analysis: The Function of Conditional Structures in Legal Writing 1. Introduction The aim of this chapter1 is to describe and account for the functional importance of a specific linguistic structure within Spanish legal documents [if p, then q]. This is an essential feature of legal and legislative texts, as other specialists have already pointed out,2 especially for English legal discourse. I shall try to demonstrate here that the relevance of this construction can be seen in present-day legal documents as well as in the earliest known legal records. For this purpose I will analyse the discourse-textual functions of the frame [if p, q] and those of the construction [q if p], while the last section extends the analysis to other varieties of conditional constructions, in particular those introduced by particles which in previous studies (Montolío 1991, 1999, 2000a) I refer to as complex conditional connectors: siempre que [provided that], salvo que [unless] and a no ser que [unless]. I shall also note the significant presence in texts drawn from the legal world of constructions such as en caso de (que) [in case of], as well as elliptical conditionals such as de (no) ser así 1 This work belongs to the project Linguistic and Pragmatic Analysis of Expert Recommendation in Professional Documents (Reference: FFI2008-00823), financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. I am greatly indebted to my erudite colleague Dr Joaquín Sanmartín, Professor...

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