DISTRIBUTION OF SEMI-CLAUSE CONSTRUCTIONS IN ACTS OF PARLIAMENT VS. APPELLATE JUDGMENTS

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Zuzana NAD’OVÁ

Abstract

The paper presents the findings obtained by comparative syntactic analysis of four typesof semi-clause constructions (present participial, gerundial, infinitival and past participial) in twocorpora of British legal English, i.e. Acts of Parliament and appellate judgments. The analysisfocuses on differences in the employment of the respective types of semi-clauses across the twocorpora (both quantitative differences and differences in their syntactic functions) and on theirfunctional interpretation. The quantitative findings of analysis revealed that the mean number ofsemi-clauses per sentence is significantly higher in the corpus of Acts of Parliament as compared tothe corpus of appellate judgments (2,97 and 1,58 respectively), which contributes to a higher levelof sentence condensation of the genre of Acts of Parliament. Comparison of syntactic functionsconveyed by the respective types of semi-clauses across the two corpora confirmed a significantpredominance of semi-clauses with nominal syntactic functions in the corpus of Acts of Parliament.Corpus findings also suggest that the employment of the analyzed constructions contributes tostylistic qualities of the legal genres under analysis, such as a higher level of precision andunambiguity of meaning in the corpus of Acts of Parliament and a less rigid and formal style ofappellate judgments.

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How to Cite
NAD’OVÁ, Z. (2014). DISTRIBUTION OF SEMI-CLAUSE CONSTRUCTIONS IN ACTS OF PARLIAMENT VS. APPELLATE JUDGMENTS. Comparative Legilinguistics, 18, 8-22. https://doi.org/10.14746/cl.2014.18.1
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