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Tradition and Change in Legal English

Verbal Constructions in Prescriptive Texts


Christopher Williams

In this volume the author examines verbal constructions in prescriptive legal texts written in English. Modal auxiliaries such as shall, may and must are analysed, as well as indicative tenses such as the present simple, and also non-finite constructions such as the -ing form and -ed participles. Results are based on specially compiled corpora of prescriptive texts coming from a wide range of English-speaking countries and also international organizations such as the European Union and the UN. The author also analyses the nature, extent and impact of the calls for change in legal language coming from the Plain Language Movement. Although legal language tends to be depicted as being highly conservative and unchanging, the author shows that in certain parts of the English-speaking world a minor revolution would appear to be taking place, while in other parts there is greater resistance to change.


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IV. The ‘World Data’ Corpus 95


IV. The ‘World Data’ Corpus In this Chapter we shall look at some of the main features of the ‘World data’, i.e. the corpus of prescriptive texts specially compiled for this volume. The texts are as follows: United Kingdom Employee Shares Scheme Act 2002 (1547 words) Robin Rigg Offshore Wind Farm (Navigation and Fishing) (Scotland) Act 2003 (1719 words) The Local Health Boards (Constitution, Membership and Procedures) (Wales) Regulations 2003 (6030 words) Children (Leaving Care) Act (Northern Ireland) 2002 (3711 words) Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Act 2003 (1148 words) Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 (4878 words) Nottingham City Council Act 2003 (6072 words) Hereford Markets Act 2003 (866 words) Transas Group Act 2003 (1714 words) Subtotal: 27,685 words European Union Consolidated Version of the Treaty on European Union 2002 (9397 words) Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to collective redundancies (1848 words) Council Decision 2003/170/JHA on the common use of liaison officers posted abroad by the law enforcement agencies of the Member States (2029 words) Commission Decision of 23 December 2002 implementing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 as regards the clearance of vacancies and applications for employment (1939 words) Commission Regulation No 1999/2002 of 8 November 2002 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council Regulation (EC) No 95 2019/93 as regards the specific aid arrangements for the smaller Aegean Islands in respect of vineyards (669 words) Council Decision of 29 June 2000 on...

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