This paper presents a pragmatic study of modal verbs in a corpus of present-day British law statutes: they are analysed for socio-pragmatic occurrence and pragmalinguistic realization of potential speech acts. The study suggests a classification in which modal verbs are employed for the purpose of realizing a category of regulative acts, directive speech acts (Searle 1976), the illocutionary point of which is the speaker’s intention to regulate society. The analysis reveals that in legal texts there is a predominance of direct strategies (statements of obligation and prohibition), when compared the observed directives to directive observed in everyday conversation. It was argued that this difference could be ascribed to the external factors of the social situation, rather than to a difference in medium (written vs spoken). Furthermore, it is not just a matter of the English language of the law being more direct than conversational English; it is a question of selecting strategies to express a specific communicative function in a particular sender / receiver relationship condition of the act in question and within the socio-pragmatic requirements of the situation.
|Data di pubblicazione:||2001|
|Titolo:||Modality and speech acts in English Acts of Parliament|
|Nome del convegno:||1° CERLIS Conference. Modality in Specialized Texts|
|Luogo del convegno:||Bergamo|
|Data del convegno:||5-6 May 2000|
|Tipologia||Relazione in Atti di Convegno|
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