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The Language of Law
A Stylistic Analysis with a Focus on
Lexical (Binomial) Expressions


Brno 2007

Supervisor: Written by:
Mgr. Olga Dontcheva-Navrtilov, Ph.D. Petra Dmov



I declare that I worked on the thesis on my own and that I consulted and used only the
sources listed in the bibliography.

I agree with depositing of this thesis at the library of the Faculty of Education of
Masaryk University in Brno for the purposes of study.

August 7, 2007


I would like to give special thanks to my supervisor, Mgr. Olga Dontcheva-Navrtilov,
Ph.D., for her kind help, valuable advice and willing comments on my thesis.


INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................................... 6
1. LINGUISTIC BACKGROUND............................................................................................................ 8
2. STYLISTIC BACKGROUND............................................................................................................ 11
2.1 THE NEED FOR STYLISTICS............................................................................................................... 11
2.2 WHAT IS STYLE? .............................................................................................................................. 13
2.3 STYLISTIC ANALYSIS........................................................................................................................ 14
2.3.1 Text and Context, Text and Discourse ..................................................................................... 14
2.3.2 Situation the Extra-linguistic Context................................................................................... 15
2.3.3 Levels of Stylistic Analysis....................................................................................................... 17
2.4 LEGAL DISCOURSE ........................................................................................................................... 18
2.4.1 The Domain of Legal Discourse .............................................................................................. 18
2.4.2 Linguistic Description of the Legal Register ........................................................................... 18
2.5 SUMMARY........................................................................................................................................ 24
3. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF LEGAL ENGLISH................................................................ 25
3.1 THE ANGLO-SAXON PERIOD ............................................................................................................ 25
3.2 THE NORMAN PERIOD...................................................................................................................... 26
3.3 TOWARDS MODERN LEGAL ENGLISH............................................................................................... 29
3.4 THE LANGUAGE OF SIMPLIFIED LEGAL DOCUMENTS ....................................................................... 30
3.5 SUMMARY........................................................................................................................................ 31
4. ON THE ISSUE OF BINOMIALS..................................................................................................... 32
4.1 TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS .................................................................................................... 32
4.2 THE ORIGIN AND USE OF BINOMIALS............................................................................................... 33
4.3 LINGUISTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF BINOMIALS................................................................................. 34
4.3.1. Syntactic Aspects .................................................................................................................... 34
4.3.2. Semantic Aspects .................................................................................................................... 36
4.3.3 Phonetic and Rhythmic Aspects............................................................................................... 37
4.4 SUMMARY........................................................................................................................................ 38
PRACTICAL PART................................................................................................................................ 39
1. STYLISTIC ANALYSIS ..................................................................................................................... 40
1.1. THE AIM.......................................................................................................................................... 40
1.2 GENERAL CHARACTERIZATION ........................................................................................................ 41
1.3 ANALYSIS......................................................................................................................................... 42
1.3.1 Graphological and Phonological Level................................................................................... 42
1.3.2 Lexical Level............................................................................................................................ 44
1.3.3 Grammatical Level .................................................................................................................. 48
1.3.4 Discourse and Textual Level.................................................................................................... 54
1.4 CONCLUSION.................................................................................................................................... 58
2. ANALYSES OF BINOMIALS............................................................................................................ 59
2.1. THEMATIC STRUCTURE ................................................................................................................... 59
2.1.1 Rheme ...................................................................................................................................... 61
2.1.2 Transition................................................................................................................................. 63
2.1.3 Theme ...................................................................................................................................... 65
2.1.4 Conclusion............................................................................................................................... 67
2.2 SEMANTIC STRUCTURE OF BINOMIALS............................................................................................. 68
2.2.1 Semantic Opposition................................................................................................................ 71
2.2.2 Semantic Homoeosemy ............................................................................................................ 75
2.2.3 Semantic Complementation ..................................................................................................... 77
2.2.4 Semantic Hyponymy................................................................................................................. 81
2.2.5 Miscellaneous Relations .......................................................................................................... 82
2.2.6 Conclusion............................................................................................................................... 85
CONCLUSION......................................................................................................................................... 86
BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................................................................................................... 90


Communication is a means of transmitting information and there are several ways of
how people can do so. One of them is language in its spoken and written forms.
Communication means giving and getting different amounts of information and various
characters and qualities of communicated messages at one time, which is conditioned by
many factors such as the time, place and subject matter of what is being transmitted
from the addressor to the addressee in a particular situation. The addressor
communicates because he intends not only to exchange information, but he also aims at
affecting the behaviour of the addressee. In perhaps more educated terms, it could be
pointed out that language is the core of communication. Language as an instrument of
communication presents a certain continuum of variations depending on numerous
contextual aspects, such as the function of the text (e.g. whether directive, expository or
narrative); the readership (experts, students, layman), and the role of the writer (expert,
educated layman), and so on. In this sense, numerous language styles and varieties have
come into existence. These are the grounds for the constant study of various domains of
languages, that of law being one of them.

The study of legal language has been affected by new theories introduced into
linguistics, in particular the sociolinguistic approaches and the movement for
simplification of legal discourse. Due to the active research of legal discourse since the
mid-seventies, many linguistic properties of legal English are fairly well understood
today. Even in this domain, there are two alternatives of discourse to be examined: oral
and written. In the first case, for example, the lawyer-client interaction and courtroom
interaction together with their linguistic strategies are investigated. The latter, though, is
more frequently the object of study because it represents a referential norm and a point
of comparison for most treatises. The active research in the field of law has shown how
different the two media, the spoken and written, are. Spoken legal English is not just a
spoken variant of the written text. It is a different genre at the same time because there
is a very tight connection between what is said, how it is said and why, and the situation
in which the speech is uttered. On the other hand, written legal English seems to be the
other extreme it is constant, stable and almost context-free.
The language of law is the study object of this thesis. The theoretical part of this thesis
is divided into four main chapters, each of which deals with different issues relating to
the domain of law language. The aim of the chapters is to provide some basics in terms
of some essential linguistic elements (Chapter One), stylistic background and the
description of the legal register (Chapter Two), history of legal English (Chapter Three),
and linguistic/stylistic description of binomials (Chapter Four). The character of the
practical part stems from the theoretical base. There are two major objectives. The first
one is aimed at a stylistic analysis of the sample documents under examination in this
thesis. The other major objective includes two analyses, both of which are focused on
binomials. More detailed descriptions of each objective and analysis are available in the
respective chapters.

Linguistics, part of which is stylistics, is a very complex field dealing with the study of
language and its related issues. A vigorous comeback of rationalism into the scientific
study of language in the sixties of the twentieth century resulted in the fact that linguists
have (Hiltunen 1990:11)

increasingly turned away from idealized, intuition-based approaches to examining the
actual use of language to find evidence for generalization, e.g. by studying speech and
conversation as concrete data of verbal communication. In the case of written language, the
study of texts has come into the foreground, especially from the point of view of the
interaction between function and structure. It is largely due to this reassessment of
linguistic methodology that the importances of such branches of language study as
sociolinguistics, pragmatics and discourse analysis are almost taken for granted today.

Hiltunen further comments that languages are very intricate entities and linguists have
been looking at them at different levels and from different angles. They have studied
authentic speech, authentic speech situations and other related contexts and have come
to the conclusion that there is an enormous range of variation in them. Thus it is not
realistic to expect any one theory or approach to explain all their complexities (ibid.).

Not surprisingly, approaches to the domain of linguistics have varied throughout
decades, perhaps even centuries. Scholars, and linguists later on, have been bringing out
their views on the subject matter, altering ways of their studies of this area, and coining
new terms. Proof can be found earlier than the twentieth century - in particular in the
histories of synchronic and diachronic linguistics. An outline of these is to be found in
e.g. Hladk (1995). Out of the number of issues and linguists that he discusses, it may
seem important to mention the term inner speech form introduced by Wilhelm von
Humboldt (1767-1835). He describes it as in part common to all men as part of their
intellectual equipment, and in part specific to every language community something
like de Saussures parole (ibid:16). Humboldt considered this the organizing principle
of language, pointing to a variety in a language structure.

Another marking point may be viewed in the work of structuralists. Whereas the
diachronic and the synchronic studies of language addressed the same subject from two
angles, structuralists aimed at making a synthesis of the positive features of both
approaches. It is apparent in the activities of the Prague Linguistic Society that was
founded in the late twenties of the 20
century. The teachings of the Prague linguists
can be - as Hladk indicates (ibid: 21) - characterised by two attributes structural (the
system and the end product of a sound change could be a different phonological
system) and functional (the communicative function of language and the
communicative needs are responsible for the systematic organization of the formal
means and for changes in this systematic organization). Above that, they introduced
the distinction between the periphery and the centre of vocabulary distinction based
on frequency. That means the most frequent lexical items are central, though very often
irregular (e.g. the verbs to be, to have, names of the main parts of the body, pronouns),
and peripheral are those items that are rarely used, such as nescience, a formal word for
ignorance. A typical example of a peripheral grammatical unit in English is the
subjunctive. Another distinct contribution to the linguistic field is those of Satzthema
and Satzaussage by Vilm Mathesius, later on elaborated by Firbas and Dane. The
terms in present-day use are theme (topic) and rheme (comment) (Firbas 1992).

Attempts to describe, explain and categorize the use of languages have found their way
to project also into the field of stylistics, and as Hiltunen (1990:12) states, the more
concrete approaches had always been better represented there than in some other areas,
for natural reasons. New terms such as register, special language, sublanguage and
languages of the professions were introduced into discussions of style. He continues
explaining that languages do not function in a vacuum, so the term of context and
other intra- and extralinguistic ties need to be taken into account as they create a
continuum. This continuum represents a scale in which the relationship between
language and context is relatively tight (e.g. British Acts of Parliament) at one end, but
on the other end it is relatively loose (legal textbooks, journals, documents). As a result,
there are several text type continua (ibid: 12).

It was in 1882 that the word stylistic was first recorded in English. However, it is a little
older. It appeared in 1860 and was modelled on the German terms stilistisch, Stilistik. It
proves that it was the second half of the 19
century that stylistics as a theoretical study
of style was established. Rhetoric (ME), dialogic (1601) and poetic (1727) are regarded
the predecessors of stylistics.

2.1 The Need for Stylistics
No language should be regarded as a readily identifiable object in reality which we can
isolate and examine (Crystal, Davy 1997:3). It is not a single homogeneous entity, but
rather a huge complex of many different varieties that millions of people in dozens of
countries in the world speak. In a very general viewpoint, all these people represent
hundreds of varieties (or styles or registers as some other linguists may prefer to call
them). A variety as such means a difference. In this sense it can be educed that all the
varieties are distinct from one another and they vary to great extents, but on the other
hand, they all have much more in common than one can think of they are all varieties
of one language in this case of English. One of the greatest differences can be seen in
the written and spoken forms of the language, and other in the range of Englishes that
are distinguished as regional dialects.

It may be a difficult task to define what a style or variety is, what types exist, how
many there are or whether they are all clearly distinguishable these are things a
stylistic theory should tell us (ibid: 4). Fortunately, speakers (at least the native ones)
are aware of the differences and the rules to some extent they use one variety at home,
another at work, and a third, for example, at the doctors. They are able to tell one from
the other because they know the rules.

People communicate to transmit information, ideas, opinions and they want their
communication to be successful. Definitely, by communication people get integrated
into society. However, if one chooses to disregard the rules of language, or fail,
through ignorance, to obey them, then language can become instead a barrier to
successful communication and integration (ibid.). That is why people should acquire a
sharpened consciousness of the form and function of language, its place in society, and
its power (ibid: 5). Native speakers of a particular language always have an advantage
they are born and brought up in the particular linguistic and cultural environment, so
they acquire the language and the rules of its appropriate use unconsciously. Making
mistakes (spelling, grammatical, inappropriate choice of vocabulary) is a rather rare
phenomenon. Crystal and Davy (ibid.) confirm.

The native speaker of English of course has a great deal of intuitive knowledge about
linguistic appropriateness and correctness when to use one variety of language rather than
another which he has amassed over the years. He will probably have little difficulty in
using and responding to the most ordinary uses of language, such as the everyday
conversation which occupies most of our speaking and writing lifetime. Normally, in such a
context, mistakes, if they occur, pass by unnoticed or are discounted as unimportant. It is
with the relatively infrequently occurring, more specialised uses of language that the
average English user may find difficulty.

It is the foreign learner of English who is definitely one of those most at a loss in this
matter (ibid: 6). The learner does not absorb the language naturally, unconsciously or
intuitively. Necessarily, he/she too needs to be made aware of the differences between
common and rare types of language behaviour, and of the alternatives available in
particular situations; he/she too needs to react appropriately to language, if he/she wants
to be accepted (ibid.). The reason why it is not so is apparent the learner learns only
what he/she is presented with in English courses he/she attends most commonly it is
vocabulary and grammar, occasionally some information on the proper manners of
expressing in certain situations (e.g. opening and closing lines in a letter). The learners
lack of the intuitive sense of linguistic appropriateness makes the problem even more
complicated. It is not only grammatical correctness and fluency as such that are the
measures of the learners ability and success to use the language. Crystal and Davy
(ibid: 7) give their view:

If a foreigner hopes to come to an English-speaking culture, then, he should not be in the
position of having to make use of one variety of English in all situations, as so often
happens. He needs to be fluent, and fluency should be here measured by his ability to
conform in the approved manner to many disparate sociolinguistic situations. He needs to
develop a sense of style, as it is often called - a semi-instinctive knowledge of linguistic
appropriateness and (more important) taboo, which corresponds as closely as possible to
the fluent native speakers. But his ability does not come easily, and in many language-
teaching institutions there is insufficient training for it ever to be gained at all.

Therefore, approaches to learning and teaching languages seem clear the varieties of
language need to be studied and taught in as much detail as it is possible, so that
learners can understand the rules of their use. However, to reach this target, it is
necessary that the process of study is accompanied with gaining the knowledge of
relationships that exist between a particular language and its culture.
2.2 What is Style?
Generally speaking, style is the study object (but not the only one) of stylistics. What
style is has always been open to dispute. The word style may be known to many human
beings and they may be able to describe fairly easily what it means. Nevertheless, the
multiplicity and complexity goes far beyond the word itself. The following are
examples of some renowned linguists and their definitions and concepts.
Crystal and Davy (ibid: 9, 10) distinguish at least four commonly occurring senses of
the term:

1. Style may refer to some or all of the language habits of one person- as when we talk of
Shakespeares style (or styles), or the style of James Joyce, or when we discuss questions of
disputed authorshipmore often, it refers in this way to a selection of language habits, the
occasional linguistic idiosyncrasies which characterise an individuals uniqueness.
2. In a similar way, style may refer to some or all of the habits shared by a group of people
at one time, or over a period of time, as when we talk about the style of Augustan poets, the
style of Old English heroic poetry, the style in which civil service forms are written, or
styles of public-speaking.
3. Style is given a more restricted meaning when it is used in an evaluative sense, referring
to the effectiveness of a mode of expression. This is implied by such popular definitions of
style as saying the right thing in the most effective way or as good manners.
4. Partly overlapping with the three senses just outlined is the wide spread use of the word
style to refer solely to literary language. Style has long been associated primarily or
exclusively with literature, as a characteristic of good, effective, or beautiful

After giving such an account of what the term style may mean, Crystal and Davy
(ibid:10) sum up that of the above four senses, the first and second come nearest to
what we ourselves mean by style.

Leech and Short (1981:10, 11) present their own concepts as well:

it refers to the way in which language is used in a given context, by a person, for a given
purpose and so on. To clarify this, we may adopt the Swiss linguist Saussures distinction
between langue and parole, langue the code or system of rules common to the speakers
or writers of a language (such as English), and parole being the particular uses of the
system, or selection from this system, that speakers or writers make on this or that occasion.
One may say, for example, that certain English expressions belong to the official style of
weather forecasting (bright intervals, scattered showers, etc.), while other expressions
(lovely day, a bit chilly, etc.) belong to the style of everyday conversational remarks
about the weather. Style, then, pertains to parole: it is selection from a total linguistic
repertoire that constitutes a style.

Another interesting theory appears in Leech, Deuchar and Hoogenraad (1982:9). It may
seem the closest to what the term of style denotes.

language also varies according to the use to which it is put. While the term dialect is
convenient to refer to language variation according to the user, REGISTER can be used to
refer to variation according to use (sometimes also known as style). Register can be
subdivided into three categories of language use, each of which affects the language
variety. These are TENOR, MODE and DOMAIN.

As it is apparent from the above stated explanations, many linguists and other scholars
have given their views, concepts and theories, but there is hardly any simple or unique
definition of the term style. Taking into account all the aspects of language variations, it
cannot be else.

2.3 Stylistic Analysis
2.3.1 Text and Context, Text and Discourse
The object of stylistic analysis is undoubtedly a particular piece of language, and that is
a text. Halliday (1989:47) expresses his view on the term.

It is a cohesive and coherent stretch of language in use which has a certain function in the
context of situation. Thus, a text is a semantic unit taking part in a social exchange of
meanings and may be regarded as a product in the sense that it is an entity that has a certain
organization and can be recorded, and as a process, i.e. it is a continuous process of
semantic choice dependent on previous choices and conditioning the subsequent ones.

Further on, Halliday explains that context can be defined as the total environment both
linguistic (also referred to as co-text) and extra-linguistic (social and physical) in
which a particular texts unfolds and creates discourse. The extra-linguistic context is
also referred to as the context of situation and it is described in terms of three concepts
DOMAIN (FIELD), TENOR and MODE of discourse (in Crystal and Davy these are called
PROVINCE, STATUS and MODALITY). In other words, text is very often understood as text
without/out of context - it is a product and it is stative, whereas discourse is viewed as
language in use/in interaction or as text in context thus it is a process and it is
2.3.2 Situation the Extra-linguistic Context
As it has already been said in the previous chapter (1.4), languages do not exist in a
vacuum. They function in connection with a situation in which, for example a
conversation, takes place. The same applies for a text (a particular piece of language). A
situation has a conditioning influence on the text and its linguistic/stylistic features that
makes the text different from other texts. According to Crystal and Davy (1997:64)
the notion of situation can be broken down into dimensions of situational constraints
(or situational variables) and they have their own specific features. The following is the
classification of the situational constraints outlined by Crystal and Davy (ibid: 66).

1. Dimensions of situational constraint according to the USER
Individuality relatively permanent features of the speech or writing habits which
identify someone as a specific person, distinguish him from other users of the same
language, or the same variety of the language (ibid.); usually they do not change over
quite long periods of time; the specific features constitute e.g. the quality of a persons
voice, handwriting, pet words, phrases with a very high frequency of occurrence, etc.
Dialect it indicates a persons place of geographical origin (regional dialect); these
features are relatively constant. As Crystal and Davy suggest they change only in
humorous situations, or in cases of intense social pressure which cause someone to
conform to dialect patterns other than his own (ibid: 67). These features are
represented e.g. in the choice of vocabulary or in the use of vowels.
Time it means the temporal provenance of a piece of language (ibid.), in other
words - the period in which the text is produced or the age of the producer. It is
important not only from the point of historical study of (the English) language, but also
in the sense of the development of a persons speaking habits. The features are fairly
Sociolect it constitutes a persons location on a non-linguistically based social
scale (ibid.), in other words his/her social background or social class that he/she was
born, brought up or educated in. In this sense, we talk about a social or class dialect.
Again relatively, it does not alter.
Singularity represents personal, occasional features that cannot (in contrast with the
previous dimensions) be related to any systematic framework amongst the community
to which the user belongs. These idiosyncratic linguistic features are such as e.g.
introducing a linguistic originality into a poem, which has a specific effect. They are
regarded as deviations from a persons normal linguistic behaviour of any kind in any
situation (Crystal and Davy 1997:76).

2. Dimensions of situational constraint according to the USE
Province features that identify an utterance with those variables in an extra-
linguistic context which are defined with reference to the kind of occupational or
professional activity being engaged in (ibid: 71). These features do not provide us with
any information about the people involved in the particular situation, because they relate
only to the field of the use. Some examples of province are the language of law,
advertising, science, sport, etc.
Status it implies the systematic variations which correspond with variations in the
relative social standing of the participants in any act of communication, regardless of
their exact locality (ibid: 73). Crystal and Davy further explain that status is far more
complex because it involves a whole range of factors related to contacts between
people from different positions on a social scale factors intuitively associated with
such notions as formality, informality, respect, politeness, deference, intimacy, kinship
relations, business relations, and hierarchical relations in general (ibid:74).
Modality it comprises such specific features which are chosen deliberately to
produce an overall, conventionalised spoken or written format of the language (ibid.).
Again, there are also more complex ties and more variations within this dimension as
the participants of the discourse may, e.g. in the province of conversation, choose to
exchange the same information via the telephone or they may write an email or a
business letter. Many linguists may use the term of genre, i.e. the genre of public
speech, the genre of a poem, letter, anecdote, telephone call, etc.
Discourse under this notion Crystal and Davy (ibid: 68) subsume two types of
variability of language the first one being that of medium (the difference between
speech and writing), and the other one resulting from the participation in the language
event, i.e. the difference between monologue and dialogue. Consequently, speech needs
to be handled initially at the phonological/phonetic level, whereas writing is treated
initially from the graphitic/graphological angle. Furthermore, other differences have to
be taken into account speech passes by, writing is relatively permanent; speech
usually needs personal contact, whereas writing (usually) does not; no spoken varieties
can be transcribed in traditional orthography to reflect all contrasts present in speech, on
the other hand, there are many written pieces of text that cannot be spoken or read
without having the original graphitic coherence destroyed. For example, a piece of a
legal text is punctuationless, but when it is meant to be read aloud, it needs to be broken
into units (though the units do not exist in the written form).

2.3.3 Levels of Stylistic Analysis
The following is the levels that stylists/linguists investigate when they aim at analysing
a piece of text, either written or spoken.
1. PHONETICS - an examination of sounds; the study of the characteristics and potential
utility of human vocal noise
GRAPHETICS the study of written or printed shapes (visual analogue of phonetics)
2. PHONOLOGY (PHONEMICS) - the study of the sound system of a given language; the
formalised rules of pronunciation
GRAPHOLOGY (GRAPHEMICS) the analogous study of a languages writing system;
the formalised rules of spelling
3. GRAMMAR both the syntactic and morphological levels need to be discussed; the
aim is to analyse the internal structure of sentences in a language and the way they
function in sequences; in other words, clauses, phrases, words, nouns, verbs, etc. need
to be distinguished and put through an analysis to find out what is the norm
(foregrounding) and what is somehow deviant (against the norm)
4. VOCABULARY on the lexical level it is the study of the way in which individual
words and idioms tend to pattern in different linguistic context; on the semantic level
in terms of stylistics, it is the study of the meaning of stretches longer than the single
lexical item (in linguistics, it is the study of the meaning of a single lexical item)
5. DISCOURSAL/TEXTUAL LEVEL in this area, for instance, the interest lies in
information processing (theme rheme), and to what extent a text is coherent and what
cohesive devices were used to achieve the particular level of coherence of the text

2.4 Legal Discourse
2.4.1 The Domain of Legal Discourse
The term legal simply refers to anything related to law, lawyers and court. The first
question coming to the mind is What is, in terms of both stylistics and linguistics, the
study object of the legal register? The answers may be miscellaneous, but they have
one idea in common the nature, functions and consequences of language use in the
negotiation of social order (Danet 1985:273). Law has two primary functions. They are
ordering human relations and restoring social order in cases it breaks down.
Furthermore, by law people are told which activities are permitted and which are not,
and it helps create relations where none existed before. The second question posed by
many professionals is which of the terms of dialect, register or sublanguage is the most
relevant. Danet (ibid: 275) puts forward her view and believes that legal language is so
distinct and differentiated that it is possible to call it a separate dialect or sublanguage.
However, she prefers to label it a register due to her conviction that register is mainly a
matter of formality (ibid).
2.4.2 Linguistic Description of the Legal Register
On a basis of systematic studies on the legal register, an outline [based on Danet
(1985:279-286) and Hiltunen (1990:81-87)] of the linguistic/stylistic features typical of
legal language may be given as follows.

Technical Terms every profession and occupation is typical of its special technical
vocabulary, or terms of art as warranty deed, criminal proceedings, Procurator
Fiscal, grantee, devisee.
Common Terms with Uncommon Meanings the legal register uses familiar words
but with uncommon meanings, e.g. one of the most frequent instances is the term
assignment it does not mean a task or duty, or something assigned, but it means
the transference of a right, interest or title; also the use of shall refers very frequently
not to the future but to an obligation or duty.
Archaic Expressions typically, legal documents are abundant in items such as
hereinafter, hereto, hereby, hereof, aforesaid, whosoever, thereof, therein, etc. These
originate in Old English and, may have originally been introduced as ambiguity
resolving elements or means of abbreviation (Hiltunen 1990:84). Furthermore, they
add to the degree of formality of legal documents.
Doublets they are also referred to as word pairs. Many of them root in the Norman
Period. They are fixed in the mind as frozen expressions, typically irreversible (Danet
1985:281). Common ones are last will and testament, give and bequest, will and
bequest, aid and abet, cease and desist, rules and regulations, etc.
Formality many expressions of legal English have a high degree of formality, e.g. the
preference of shall to will; positions of people and institutions involved have capitalised
initial letters, for instance Grantor, Devisee, Contractor, Attorney, even the names of
the documents are capitalised Warranty Deed, Last Will and Testament, etc.
Unusual Prepositional Phrases according to Charrow and Charrow (1979) the
preposition as to frequently appears in legal English; another example is in the event of
Frequency of Any this word is considered redundant, but in legal documents is more
than common: any child or children, any encumbrances, any other assets, etc.

Hiltunen (1990:84) concludes his comment on the issue of vocabulary by stating that
adjectives in legal English are fairly scarce (because they are often imprecise and
vague), nouns tend to be abstract rather than concrete (because they frequently do not
refer to physical objects), and verbs are selected from a fairly small number of lexical

As Danet (1985:281) claims, syntactic features are probably more distinctive of legal
English than are lexical ones, and certainly account for more of the difficulties of lay
persons in comprehending it. She identifies eleven of such features.
Nominalization this feature is considered by many linguists, Urbanov (1986:19)
among others, as prominent. Some examples: make such provision for the payment of
instead of provide for the payment, or give time for the payment of any debts instead of
give time for persons owing debts to pay, etc.
Passives they are characteristic of formal documents; sometimes an active verb may
be more suitable in a sentence but the use of the passive makes it more formal; on the
other hand, sometimes it is not possible to use the active voice because there is no
specific agent in a sentence, thus the passive is the only choice.
Whiz Deletion it means the omission of the wh-forms plus some forms of the verb to
be, e.g. .herein [which is] contained or implied.
Conditionals exemplary are complex conditionals, they may be used, for example, to
specify who is included in a certain term (e. g. the Grantee) if there are more people
Prepositional Phrases legal discourse is high in incidence of this feature. A
prepositional phrase can string out one after another, and as Danet (1985:282) claims,
prepositional phrases are often misplaced.
Sentence Length and Complexity the complexity of legal register sentences can be
spotted very easily. Gustafsson (1975) says that an average sentence contains 55 words
(twice as many as in scientific English, for example), and there are 2.86 clauses per
sentence in the legal style. Legal English consists of only complete sentences containing
both coordinate and subordinate clauses, and instances of clausal embedding (inserted
clauses) are not unique. Sentences can stretch over several lines, constitute one whole
paragraph, and it is not an exception that a whole document can consist of one sentence
Unique Determiners the distinct representatives are those of such and said. They are
used in a way specific only for the legal discourse. They mean this, the, the particular,
the one that is being concerned and no other. An example: the said property.
Impersonality though legal documents are made to serve as a communication
between two (or more) parties, they are typically written in the third person as it adds to
the degree of formality. The parties concerned are referred to as the Contractor, the
Grantee, the Borrower, the Lender, etc.
Negatives especially multiple negatives are characteristic items of the legal language.
They are not expressed only by not, never, but most frequently by adding the terms like
unless, except or by prefixes un-, in-, etc.
Binomial Expressions, Parallel Structures Danet (1985:283) points out that the
legal register is striking for its use of elaborate parallel structures and that binomial
expressions are a special case of parallelism. Gustafsson (1975) describes these items
as sequence of two words belonging to the same form class, which are syntactically
coordinate and semantically related. Moreover, she (ibid: 75) claims that binomial
expressions are typically a pair of nouns that functions as an adverbial and occurs in the
rhematic part of the sentence. Some instances of binomials: goods and materials; liable
and responsible; engage or participate, generally and specifically, etc. Apart from
binomials, there exist trinomial and even multinomial expressions in (legal) English.
Some examples: control, direct or supervise; employee, partner, agent, or principal;
files, records, documents, drawings, specifications, equipment, and similar items, etc.
Some linguists have focused their analyses on the specification of the relationships in
binomials, i.e. synonymy, near-synonymy, antonymy and enumeration. (Binomials are
discussed in detail in Chap. 4) PROSODIC FEATURES
Little attention is paid to the distinctive prosodic features in legal documents. Most
frequently, they appear in binomial expressions.
Assonance, Alliteration and Phonemic Contrast expressions like rules and
regulations, contain or constitute have alliteration of /r/ and then /k/.
Rhyme, Rhythm and Meter again, most frequently some instances of rhyme and
rhythm may be found in binomial expressions, e.g. whatsoever and wheresoever,
employ and rely, in whole or in part, benefits from or interests under, etc.
End Weight Gustafsson (1975) and Danet (1984b) have studied the issue of the
extent to which the materials they analysed conform with the principle of end-weight
(Leech 2002:210). They concluded that there are more beats, or phonetic material, in
the second half of a two-part expression (Danet 1985:284). Some examples can be
found in binomials: belongs to/or can be appointed by; for me and in my name. On the
contrary, it is possible to find a shorter item appearing second, e.g. determine or secure;
direction and control. DISCOURSE-LEVEL FEATURES
Cohesion - many scholars speculate that the legal register is low in cohesive devices
because of the lack of clear sentence boundaries, which is a phenomenon rather
problematic in legal English. However, cohesive devices, if they appear in a legal
document, are distinctive.
1. Anaphora the scarce use of reference (mainly of pronouns) and repetition, though
making a legal text heavy and monotonous (Hiltunen 1990:84), are significant of
legal documents they avoid ambiguity. On the other hand, the use of said and such is
2. Conjunctions it is possible to find some terms that contribute to cohesion, e.g.
hereinafter, aforesaid, etc.
3. Substitution it is generally considered rare in legal English, though some instances
can be found.
4. Ellipsis the concern for precision and explicitness results in the lack of
intersentential ellipsis, however an example of intrasentential ellipsis can be seen in the
use of whiz-deletion.
5. Lexical Cohesion there is apparently much reiteration (Danet 1985:285), i.e.
much repetition due to the avoidance of pronouns; furthermore, synonyms, near-
synonyms and superordinate or general terms to replace expressions appearing in
previous sentences are scarcely used, which is sharply contrasted to the employment of
synonyms and near-synonyms in binomial and, especially, multinomial expressions.

Thematic Organization
1. Thematic progression it is the term that implies several patterns of theme
rheme/focus arrangement in discourse. Dane (1974) distinguishes three such patterns
of thematic progression - linear thematic progression (in two successive clauses, the
rheme/focus of the first clause becomes the theme of the second); thematic progression
with a continuous theme (several clauses have the same theme); and a hierarchical
pattern with a hypertheme which can be composed of several semantically related
elements. The last one is said to be common in legal texts.
2. Foregrounding and backgrounding Danet (1985: 286) points out that there are two
distinctive types of legal discourse. The first contain both foregrounding and
backgrounding, so it resembles everyday discourse. The second contains little
foregrounding. She (ibid.) gives some more explanations, transitivity is considered
to signal foregrounding. Both supposedly go with a concern for specific episodes
between individuals, while low transitivity and backgrounding are signs of a more
abstract approach a concern with the social structure in which categories of
participants are related.
3. Extreme propositional density; lack of redundancy the extreme propositional
density of legal discourse springs from the unusual length and complexity of the
sentences. Evidence can be found in the maze of embedded clauses and prepositional
phrases (ibid.). Propositional density results in the lack of redundancy in information
that is being communicated the reason is obvious every word counts.

It is necessary to mention that legal register is a complex subject and its features need to
be viewed as separate variables in the continuum of legal discourse ranging from high
to low. This is to say that many features covary, or entail one another, in differing
patterns in different genres (ibid: 288). Though work of many scholars focusing on
linguistic description is rather fragmentary, the origins of such a convoluted and opaque
language are known. Indisputably, many lawyers justify the complexity of legal genre
by claiming that it came to existence and has developed as an efficient means to specify
precise, technical meanings. In contrast, there are non-professional individuals who hold
the view that lawyers use opaque language in order to mystify the public and preserve
their own power. In Danets view (ibid.),

syntactic complexity and the play with prosodic features are evidence of a preoccupation
with language qua language. In the structuralists sense of the terms, we have a
foregrounding of language, and a backgrounding of referential meanings. This type of
foregrounding apparently characterizes many genres in the keys of play and ritual, but
especially the latter. It is as if lawyers or perhaps persons in earlier times, before the
modern legal profession emerged added cornstarch to language, to thicken it, to give it
body, so as to crate the illusion of certainty in an uncertain world. Convoluted legal
language may in part derive form preliterate times, when elaborate verbal formulas were
considered a kind of word magic.

2.5 Summary
The foregoing chapters have discussed some theoretical elements of the stylistic field.
At the beginning, the need for stylistics and the definition of the term style were pointed
out along with several concepts of style as they are viewed by some linguists. Then,
some notes on stylistic analysis were provided. In particular, the terms text, context and
situation were touched upon, together with the dimensions of situational constraints. I
addition, the levels of stylistic analysis were outlined. Finally, the legal register and its
domain were described in terms of lexical, syntactic, prosodic and discourse-level

It may appear that the early laws are native predecessors of modern laws, though in a
very general sense. Hundreds of years, together with historical and social factors, have
contributed to the great differences. On the other hand, there is one fundamental
similarity, i.e. the functions of legal documents have remained the same even after so
many centuries. The innumerous historical events caused irreversible shifts in the
society on the British Isles, resulting in cultural changes and even afflicting the style of
the English language in each period. The spoken and written language of the Britons
gradually altered its form, both structurally and lexically. As a consequence, a great
amount of English word stock is of Latin and French origin.
3.1 The Anglo-Saxon Period
It is the Anglo-Saxon period to which the oldest English legal texts are dated, though
much of the material has been preserved in post-Conquest manuscripts. These are
eleventh or twelfth-century copies of lost originals. The Anglo-Saxon laws were
demanded even after the Norman victory in 1066, which may seem odd. There was a
practical reason new laws were modelled on the copies of old laws.

The earliest of Anglo-Saxon laws were written in the vernacular, and not in Latin. Latin
would have been an obvious choice because the first English legal code coincided with
the date of conversion to Christianity. The Germanic tradition (involving oral tradition)
is the most important reason for the use of the vernacular. So the codification written in
English reflects a natural prolongation of the tradition. Moreover, laws drafted in Latin
would have seemed artificial.

In addition, Hiltunen (1990:24) points out that the legal terminology is Anglo-Saxon
with all the characteristic features of native vocabulary (e.g. compounding, transparent
word formation and synonymy). There are surprisingly few loan-words, even if Latin
and loan-translations are included. The Scandinavian words are also few. However,
some of them are important because they are technical terms, such as gri truce,
sehtian to settle .
From the modern perspective, there may be three categories distinguishing the Anglo-
Saxon vocabulary (ibid: 27):
1. Words that have disappeared from law language most of the items belong to this group.
The reason for the changes is either social (change or loss of referent) or sociolinguistic
(native words were replaced through borrowings).

2. Words that are still occasionally used with legal meaning (either unchanged or modified)

bot compensation for wrongdoing (cf. bootless)
deman to pronounce judgement (cf. deem)
wed security for performance (cf. wedding, wedlock)
witan to know (cf. witness)

3. Words that are as much part of general language as legal language

a oath
stelan to steal

Hiltunen exemplifies the proportion of native vocabulary in present-day English legal
texts on a sample of a legal document. As he indicates (ibid: 28), his little experiment
reveals both permanence, on the one hand, and change, on the other, in the vocabulary,
which is generalizable to the whole language: the core is native but some of the layers
accumulated over time are made up of borrowed elements. He concludes that the latter
aspect becomes more prominent during the post-Conquest history of English legislation.
3.2 The Norman Period
The legal profession began to develop greatly after the Conquest. The Anglo-Saxons did
not have any trained lawyers they appeared as late as the second half of the
thirteenth century. French was the language of oral pleading and the language of law
books also changed from Latin to French. The legal English of today has its roots in that
time. The terms that have remained are now pronounced pursuant to the rules of English
phonology, their medieval meanings having been retained.

It is obvious that changes in the vocabulary were happening as a relevant aftermath of
the profound and far-reaching social turnovers. English as the language of law was first
replaced by Latin, later on by Norman French. Documents of the early times after the
Conquest were written in so-called Law Latin. Citing Hiltunen (ibid: 51), Law Latin is
defined as the kind of Low Latin, containing Latinized English and Old French words,
used in English law. The Latin element, as well as the French, plays an essential part of
the English word stock. As a result, legal English is affluent in loan words, some of
which appear even in their Latin forms, e.g. mandamus or certiorari (ibid: 52).
Naturally, the major part of English legal borrowings come from Latin, either directly
or, more frequently, through French. In addition, Hiltunen (ibid) comes with an idea that

modern legal English is essentially a kind of creole, where the formative elements go
back to an amalgamation of native resources and extensive borrowing. The borrowing was
initially a wholesale process, since English as the language of the law ceased to exist for a
period of some four centuries. Naturally, the idea of creolization would not be a realistic
one, had English ceased to exist altogether during that time.

Finally, he sums up that at that time the population in majority used the vernacular, and
that the administration branch employed many people who knew all three languages
English, Latin and French.

Whenever an educated person reads an English text, it becomes apparent to them that
French had its influence not only in terms of borrowed words, but also in terms of
loaned prefixes and suffixes, many of which remained productive and contributed to the
formation of legal English. The following are some examples:

1. prefixes: en-/em-; mal-; sur-;
2. suffixes: -able, -ability, -age, -al, -ance;
-ant,-ee, -fy, -fication, -ment, -ous, -(e)ry

It is noteworthy to point out that technical terms and their formation developed only
gradually due to the constant use of the French words within the closed ranks of the
profession. Moreover, it is clear that the core of English legal vocabulary is of French
origin, and usually, the more legal a word is the more likely it is to be French
(Hiltunen 1990:53).

In the course of the Norman rule over the British Isles the great majority of the
population spoke English, so it did not cease to be used. Eventually, the position that
English had lost was regained after the Conquest. It was in 1362 that the famous Statute
of Pleading was issued. Written in French, though, it deplored the use of French.
However, it lasted another hundred years until the aim of the Statute became reality.
Hiltunen (ibid: 56) expresses the reason.

The legal profession was accustomed to the use of French to such an extent that little could
be achieved through the statute in a short time. French was preferred in the pleading on the
grounds of its established terminology and the degree of precision that could be achieved
by using it. There would always be a risk involved in adopting English and in giving up
established conventions. In view of such linguistic and social problems a hundred years
seems a relatively short time for such a profound change to be completed.

The fact that there was bilingualism, or even multilingualism, contributed to the
expansion of English, and legal English, too. The linguistic complexity of these times
is more than obvious because legal documents were compiled in all three languages in
varying degrees and the languages were spoken by a large number of lawyers and the
clerks of the Chancery. It was the Chancery that had an immense influence on raising
the profile of English in the fifteenth century. Situated in Westminster, it was the centre
of bureaucracy of the Middle Ages. It issued and operated with all the official
documents, e.g. writs. They were first written in Latin, but later on in English, with
occasional French translations. In this sense, the Chancery English became a standard
(though it was different from the London regional dialect) and thus English was allowed
to survive as an official language and restore its position.
Another highlight point in the history was the introduction of the printing press in
England in 1476 when Caxton set up his press in Westminster. He adopted the norms
and through the distribution of his printed material all over the country he immensely
contributed to the prestige of English and spread of the standard language.
The first Act of Parliament in English is dated to the year of 1483. Nevertheless, as
Hiltunen (1990:57) alleges, it took another two hundred years until the whole
jurisdiction and the juridical institutions became completely English speaking. The
fluctuation between the three languages was ended by the year 1650 when An Act for
Turning the Books of the Law and all Process and Proceedings in Courts of Justice into
English was passed.
3.3 Towards Modern Legal English
Reading legal records of earlier centuries and comparing them with present documents,
one will certainly find some features and trends of form and content notably different.
In spite of that, legal language has always been complex and very complicated, thus
perplexing every reader in every time. The basis and principles of drafting various
statutes, codes and acts in the fifteenth century were dissimilar from those employed in
the nineteenth century and today. The subject matters were expressed in a manner
where the narrative element, besides the directive one, was still more marked than three
or four centuries later (ibid: 58). Lawyers and clerks were employing a very elaborate
verbal style, the motive being the fact that they were sometimes paid according to the
number of pages they had written. In this way legal documents were issued until the
beginning of the nineteenth century. A new idea of the layout brought about some
changes in the form of the statutes several decades later. The changes for a modern
format were very helpful for the reader. In a very general sense, the one-page long
sentences became less frequent and texts were visually separated into sections and
subsections. However, Hiltunen (ibid: 59) highlights one aspect although legal texts
were made clearer for the reader, a new obstacle came to existence.

Because the text is formally structured in a given way through layout, its component parts
(e.g. conditions, insertions etc.) can be made more complex, on the assumption that the
relationship with the other parts of the sentence remains clear. Because of this they can
easily grow even more complex in terms of both quantity and quality.

In the course of the nineteenth century special guidelines began to emerge on how to
draft laws. These are, in many cases, followed nowadays.

3.4 The Language of Simplified Legal Documents
Legal documents are constantly labelled as very complicated, perplexing the layman,
thus difficult to understand. Hiltunen (1990:103) explains that the idea of making legal
language is not new, but it has gained its momentum in the last few years, especially in
the United States. It was the consumer movement that triggered the voicing of
demands to draft legal and other official documents in plain and understandable
English. By introducing a promissory note in Plain English in 1975, Citibank in New
York made the first move. Many financial institutions copied the step. Soon, it was
made compulsory that consumer agreements must be written in simplified language.
This measure was followed by another one in 1978 a bill imposing that official
agreements should be written in clear and coherent manner using words with common
and everyday meanings was passed. Since then, similar laws have come into effect in
several other American states. Not surprisingly, the legal profession has not welcomed
this reform. Hiltunen (ibid: 104) gives the reason.

Some have contended that it is not really possible to write simplified legal documents that
would be as precise, comprehensive and unambiguous as those written in the traditional
legal language, and that a considerable number of new lawsuits are likely to arise due to the
unpredictable consequences of using plain language.

The following are some standard criteria on writing simplified and easy-to-understand
legal documents.
Avoid long, archaic and learned words and use common, everyday expressions;
however, it may be difficult to distinguish between an easy or difficult word in a
particular context. Also, some technical terms cannot be avoided even if a text is written
in plain language.
Make sentences short where possible and get void of all superfluous terms, though
Hiltunen (ibid.) warns that the role of sentences should not be overemphasisedlong
sentences cannot be shortened mechanically.
The active voice is preferred to be used instead of the passive. However, much
depends on the context.
Documents should be made more personal, i.e. the use of personal pronouns is desired
on the account of nouns when they refer to the parties of an agreement.
Verbs are recommended to be in the present tense, in the indicative mood and, if
possible, they should be finite rather than participles. Also, if it is possible to express
the meaning in both positive and negative ways, the former should be used.

The above listed criteria aim at making legal records comprehensible to ordinary
people. However, the task remains uneasy because successful application of the criteria
presupposes considering the form of the language in close interaction with the context at

3.5 Summary
This chapter explored the factors that have largely contributed to the present-day
character of English legal documents, in particular the structural complexity. Due to the
influences mentioned above, English legal vocabulary is multi-layered in its origin, the
sentences are complex and even the layout of the documents carries the traditional traits.
This chapter shows that these typical features of English legal language are deep-rooted
in the past. The way in which legal documents were drafted centuries ago are still
applied today for the sake of habit and tradition and for the need of precision.
Sometimes, though, there may be a tendency to overcome such reverence to tradition
and make legal English more comprehensible to the layman. All these features and
tendencies are further analysed, discussed and commented on in the analysis in the
practical part of this thesis.

4.1 Terminology and Definitions
All speakers of English use sequences of words such as all in all, again and again,
before or after, control and discipline, fair and true in their everyday speech.
Nonetheless, ordinary speakers are not aware that they, fairly commonly, use
expressions in linguistic sphere known as binomials, binomial expressions or doublets.
Citing Gustafsson (1975:9), the term coined by Yakov Malkiel is defined as a
sequence of two words pertaining to the same form-class, placed on an identical level of
syntactic hierarchy, and ordinarily connected by some kind of lexical link. Gustafsson
further explains that a binomial consists of two members which are in parallel relation
to one another. She distinguishes between irreversible binomials, if the order is fixed,
and reversible ones, if it is not. Another distinction is made between formulaic and
unformulaic binomials, the difference defined as the former are permanent and fixed
combinations in the language, while the latter are temporary but fill the semantic and
syntactic requirements (ibid.).

There are other expressions referring to or used in connection with the term of
binomials. In linguistic studies words like hendiadys (a classical figure of speech),
repetition, and intensification may be found. In a general sense, some do not cover all
cases of binomials (e.g. that of hendiadys); on the other hand binomials are considered
only one of the several phenomena of intensification (ibid.). Even various
modifications of word pair also appear - paired words, repetitive word pairs or twin
formula (the German term in translation). Another term that appears is that of
alliterative phrase found in a study of the alliterative poetry in early English. Lastly,
Gustafsson (ibid: 10) relates another linguistic aspect to the term.

Studies in reduplicative words often touch upon binomials, too, in making a distinction
between the two types. The tick-tack type should not be confused with binomials. Biese
defines reduplicatives as rhyme or ablaut compounds where one of the members is a varied
repetition (variierte Wiederholung) of the other. In a reduplicative only one of the elements
is meaningful, while in a binomial both members normally have a meaning and are capable
of occurring alone

The psychological basis of binomials is necessary to be noted. The phenomenon of
binomials can be ascribed to the tendency of successive thinking. By using paired
expressions the speaker may split up his thinking into smaller units and thus avoid
giving too much weight and complexity to some part of the sentence (Gustafsson
1975:11). There are also theories presented by other linguists. Leisi (1947:14-15)
emphasises that A and B must refer to the same thing. Consequently, the word pair has
only one referent, but two symbols. The speaker uses a binomial because he views the
referent from two different angles and therefore needs to convey his thoughts by
applying two symbols. Koskenniemi (1968:108-112) also argues that there are
referents which are inherently dual in character. They may be things composed of two
parts or containing two poles. The duality of the referent easily calls for the use of two
symbols. Natural and logical may seem two more purposes. The first being the
tendency to emphasis and intensity (the speaker wants to make an impression on the
hearer), and the tendency to aesthetic expression and clarity representing the second
(Leisi 1947:4-7). The existence of French-English word pairs may be explained as a
habit in early medieval English to use a French word side by side with its native
synonym because the latter served more or less openly as an interpretation of the
former for the benefit of those who were not yet familiar with the more refined
expression (Gustafsson 1975:11). The above stated theories, though, may be only a
minor aspect to explain the use of binomials.

4.2 The Origin and Use of Binomials
In samples of Anglo-Saxon codes one may find the so-called poetic adornments
(Hiltunen 1990:25), i.e. expressions that involve alliteration, assonance and parallelism,
such as
on life ge on legere in life and death
manslagan and manswaran murder and perjury
sib and socn peace and agreement

These word pairs have been regarded as evidence of the role of oral transmission of law
in the earlier history. The poetic adornments would have served as mnemonic devices
to remember a legal text easily. On the other hand, other purposes may appear relevant,
for instance to arouse emotional appeal in solemn recitation of the law in situations
where the speaker was not only to state the law but also to extract obedience to it.
Another reason may be the fact that earlier laws were very simple, almost laconic
statements, where each referent is represented by one word. In the later laws, the picture
is more complicated, because the scope of the statement is usually wider. Therefore,
they also tend to be longer and more inclusive. (Hiltunen 1990:26)

In the Norman period, binomials re-emerge. So numbers of collocations of two,
sometimes even three, more or less synonymous words that can be found in modern
legal documents stem from this time for some of the French words became equivalents
of the original expressions and were used simultaneously in pairs. Some linguists agree
that a certain amount of the binomials developed into technical terms, so it may not be
easy or possible to convey their meanings by a single word. Moreover, they acquired a
new character through borrowings and settled in legal English as one of its typical

4.3 Linguistic Characteristics of Binomials
4.3.1. Syntactic Aspects
Gustafsson (1975:13) categorizes the description of binomials and their relationships in
terms of three categories, each of which is further divided into relevant subcategories.
The following outline is based on her study and the materials of other linguists,
Deutschbein (1931) and Spitzbardt (1956) among others, to whom she refers to in her
work. The syntactic character of binomials is largely discussed in two terms: 1.
coordination and paratactic constructions, and 2. intensification.

English has a tendency to nominalization, particularly that of verbs. As a result, the
structure of the sentence is often attributive and it may be understood as a fairly loose
connection between the parts of the sentence, which are often coordinate and of equal
syntactic status (Deutschbein 1931). The shortness and compactness of English
sentences is then the advantage against the lengthy subordinate clauses. Paratactic
tendencies have another outcome as well. That is the frequent use of hendiadys as a
figure of speech expressed by two coordinate elements, e.g. sanity and reason = sound
reason. Deutschbein (1932) provides another subdivision of hendiadys into qualitative
and quantitative. The former is described as a combination of two items of different
meaning, e.g. sanity and reason, the latter is defined as two items having the same
concepts, e.g. rule and regulation, far and wide, part and parcel. Sometimes two
opposites are put together, e.g. heads and tails, ups and downs. If the cohesion is very
tight, compound-like expressions come into existence, e.g. bread-and-butter, law-and-

Spitzbardt (1956) makes another distinction. It is that of hendiadys and the copulative
repetition of one word or the pairing of synonymous words. In this case, hendiadys is
required to have a modifier-modifier relation, where two different, non-synonymous
words are combined, one of the words modifying the other (ibid.). As an instance there
are adjectival phrases like fair and well, nice and early, good and ready. They are
paratactic in construction, but hypotactic in relation. The explanation of such
constructions is as follows. Rhythmically and metrically and has the same value as the
adverbial suffix ly, and its use may chiefly be due to the common omission of this
suffix in colloquial English and to a desire to avoid the consequent clash of two
stresses,(ibid.). The explanation is more relevant to the use of binomials in everyday
English or in poetry, rather than to legal English. Though, some may object that
binomials are of alliteration, rhyme and meter basis origin (see Chap. 4.2).

Gustafsson (1975:15) puts the previously mentioned adjectival phrases into the category
of intensification. Nevertheless, he gives an account of other pairs that fall under this
heading. They are day after day, step by step, rained and rained, and they are defined as
repetitions with a coordinate or prepositional link on a lexical basis. Other examples,
stereotyped and thus irreversible, may be those based on semantic repetition like twist
and turn, hate and despise, pull and tug. Some of these are typical of legal English (last
will and testament).
4.3.2. Semantic Aspects
The semantic parallelism is prominent as well as the syntactic. In other words, the two
parts of a binomial must be semantically related, it cannot be a coordinate combination
of any two words (ibid.). The relation of A and B may be either A and B are the same,
or B is the variation of A. However, the semantic relationships are more numerous than
only the two previously suggested. Gustafsson (ibid: 16-18) comments on several
classifications according to the linguists she refers to in her study. Malkiel (1959)
distinguishes five categories. The overwhelming majority of binomials fall under the
first three categories, the last two are rather limited.

1. A and B are near-synonyms
2. A and B are mutually complementary
3. B is the opposite of A
4. B is a subdivision of A and vice versa
5. B functions as the consequence, inevitable or possible, of A

Pairs in 1 (null and void, death and destruction) are said to add colour and emphasis to
a bare statement (ibid.). Mutual complementation (2) can be illustrated on elbows and
knees, food and drink, soul and spirit. These are non-synonymous pairs and denote a
notion which is dualistic. The third category covers terms, the opposition of which can
be expressed both syntactically (to be or not to be) and lexically (dead or alive, up and
down). The two remaining categories have such representatives as genus and species,
dollars and cents (4), to shoot and kill, the rise and fall (5).

Bendz (1967) categorizes the semantic relationship of word pairs into three groups:
1. antonymous, 2. enumerative, and 3. synonymous. An antonymous sequence can
usually have no more than two members (life and death, heaven and hell). An
enumerative may contain several members, according to the topic that people are
discussing (men, women and children). Synonymous binomials seem to emphasize the
mutual semantic ground of the paired words. If intensity is given to the discourse the
term emphatic binomial is used as opposed to interpretative binomial. The second
member of such a binomial gives more precision to the first member. Typically,
interpretative binomials combine a native word together with a foreign one.

The last categorization is offered by Koskenniemi (1968). She classifies binomials into
1. nearly-synonymous, 2. associated by contiguity of meaning, 3. complementary or
antonymous, and 4. enumerative. However, it is not necessary to comment on this
division any further as it is similar to those discussed above.
4.3.3 Phonetic and Rhythmic Aspects
The linguistic device of binomials is quite productive and it is some phonetic factors
that probably brought about its popularity and prolonged existence. It has already been
mentioned that alliteration, rhyme and assonance increase the power of binomials and
thus serve(d) as an effective mnemonic aid. The repetition of initial consonants or
vowels is frequent, and even the extension of the repetition from the first consonant to
the following vowel is not unique (cash and carry). The second phonetic device widely
used is rhyme (blood and mud, highways and byways). Assonance is a less common
device in binomials, though some instances can be found (hard and fast).

When a binomial becomes popular in language and reaches a formulaic stage, the
sequence of members tends to become fixed and the binomial is virtually irreversible
(Gustafsson 1975:19). The order, though, is influenced by various factors. To exemplify
one, there is the fact that some binomials are combinations of native and foreign words
so the sequence has been retained for centuries (last will and testament, rules and
regulations). Another reason is that the parts are accumulated in order of their length,
i.e. according to the syllabic grounds of their parts and following the principle of end-
weight (see Chap. As a result, in many set phrases the order is short plus long
(give and bequest, unable and unwilling, full and absolute), but it is not always the case.
Very frequently, it is the other way round (devises and bequests, beneficiary or
recipient, continued and assumed, recognized and agreed).

Finally, it may be concluded that there are different sources of binomials, though a
notable proportion of pair words are borrowings of French varieties. Further, over half
of the legal binomials are nouns, the second largest group is made by verb+verb pairs
(roughly one third) and all binomials in legal English are irreversible, i.e. the order of
the components is fixed. Phonetically, they are, as in Old English, often based on
alliteration, assonance or rhyme.

4.4 Summary
The foregoing chapter has, firstly, focused on the definitions and origin of binomials.
Secondly, the syntactic and semantic relations of binomials, together with the phonetic
and rhythmic aspects, have been categorized and described as well. The aim of this
chapter was to provide a basis for the practical part of this thesis, the objective of which
is to explore the sample documents and find instances of the classifications of the
relations that exist in the word pairs.


The practical part of this thesis consists of two major parts. The first major part is a
stylistic analysis of some samples of legal documents. The second major part includes
two analyses with a specific focus on binomials. The first analysis focuses on the
distribution of binomials in theme, transition and rheme according to the principles of
communicative dynamism and functional sentence perspective. The other analysis deals
with the semantic relations of binomial expressions. In all the researches I apply and
follow the theories discussed in the theoretical part of this work.

1.1. The Aim
The aim of a stylistic analysis is fivefold. The intention is to identify stylistic markers,
to study how the stylistic devices used help to achieve the communicative aim of the
text, and to identify the functional style the text is representative of. Two more points
should not be omitted to study how close the text is to the norm of the functional style,
and to analyse, if present, the language features of the text which are not typical of the
style and identify the reasons for using them. In the analysis I follow the structure
outlined in Chapters 2.2.3 and 2.4.2 in the theoretical section.
1.2 General Characterization
In this thesis there are five sample texts under examination, three of which constitute a
testament, an agreement and a warranty deed. They are complete texts. The two
remaining, represented only in part, are amendments to the UK acts. All the documents
have been adopted from the Internet. The relevant websites are referred to in the

All the sample documents are written (printed) texts. Supposing they are representatives
of the administrative style (sometimes called officialese), their main language function
is referential, followed by those of metalinguistic and conative. Several stylistic markers
are expected to be present. They are a high level of explicitness, clear logical
organization avoiding ambiguity, terminology, formal language together with formulaic,
syntactic complexity, and, among others, graphological means foregrounding the logical
sequence of the text.
It is necessary to begin with some comments on the situation in which the texts
function. Due to the character of the texts I am going to describe the texts in terms of
the situational constraints according to the USE province, status, modality and
discourse (see Chap. 2.3.2) - because very little information can be perceived from the
second constraint, that of the USER.

Province (domain) covers those features of a text that are relevant to the kind of
occupational or professional activity that the text is concerned with. In other words, the
text reflects the area or field under which the text is used. On these grounds, all the texts
are awaited to belong to the domain of law. Status refers to the social relationship of the
participants who are involved in the text. In all the texts it is assumed to be formal, non-
personal, and polite. Modality comprises specific features that produce either spoken or
written texts of different sub-varieties. This constraint includes numerous variations, so
all the texts supposedly belong to the genre of codes of laws, and contracts. As far as the
last constraint regards, discourse subsumes two types of variability of language labelled
as medium (writing X speech) and participation (monologue X dialogue). In this sense,
it is apparent that the texts are written monologues; the contracts may be considered a
sub-variety of dialogue, because there are two parties involved in them.

For the sake of simplifying the references to the sample documents, I use the following
abbreviations: Warranty Deed (WD); Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA); Last
Will and Testament (T); Uniform Players Contract (UPC); Police and Justice Act
(PJA); and Terrorism Act (TA).

1.3 Analysis
1.3.1 Graphological and Phonological Level
From the graphological point, the texts have their own layouts, which show some
features characteristic of the genres. The texts are regularly divided from the start to the
end. The most apparent is paragraphing, i.e. the dissection of the texts into sections,
subsections, paragraphs, and other units and subunits according to the character of
information that is being mediated. To mark and underline the division, various means
are applied, such as capitalization of the initial letters or whole words, phrases and
headings; lettering; spacing; bracketing of additional or explanatory information; and
highlighting the names of the documents and new sections by the use of bold (or other)
font. Furthermore, the names of the participants are in bold because they are essential.
In the case of the WD, the only item in bold is its name. Other highly important items
like names (MARTY LUTHOR, ABC PARTNERS), the appendix (EXHIBIT A), the
character of relationship (AS JOINT TENANTS) between the participants in legal terms,
the subject matter of the instrument (WARRANT AND FOREVER DEFEND) are in
capitals. The final important piece of information, that of the witness act, is capitalized,
too (WITNESS my hand and official seal.).

Capitalization of initial letters is in the texts used widely, so I intend to add some more
comments and concrete instances. Capital letters can be seen in the names of the
participators (Client, Contractor; the Player, the Club; Grantor, Grantee), occupations
(Chief Police Officer; Chancellor of the Exchequer, the League President),
organizations and institutions (Players Association, Serious Organized Crime Agency,
the Registrar General for England and Wales), instruments/documents (Agreement,
Basic Agreement, Will, Asylum and Nationality Act), main sections (Schedule 4, Article
VI, General Provisions), and also in the sums of money (Fifty Dollars, Two Hundred
Thousand Dollars) when they are set in words because these institute an important
matter. The capitalized items are directly related to the documents - they carry the
notion of this and no one else; further, capitalization may seem to supply the definite
article (though it is not always the case as in the UPC the Player, the Club, the League
President). On the other hand, some of the above categories are low-cased, such as in
the Acts (section 7, subsection 1, paragraph a), the purpose being probably the fact that
they are considered lower in the rank of section classification; and we can see will (T),
agreement (ICA, UPC), or player (UPC). The explanation is obvious the low-case
items refer to other, general bodies and entities outside the instruments. Whatever the
reason is for choosing capitalization or low-case lettering, the pattern is definitely
followed throughout all the documents. In conclusion, it is noteworthy that in the
testament there is only one word capitalized (EXCEPT 4, 3). The ground is that it,
firstly, marks the beginning of a new clause which is preceded by a three-line
postmodification of the object, and secondly (probably this is the main argument), it
states the essential and contrastive condition to the whole previous information.

Two last features common to all the documents to be mentioned are the presence of
lines on which the missing but relating data need to be filled in; and all the sums of
money are first put in words, than in the corresponding figures.

1) On this the ____ day of ____, 2000, before me, the undersigned (WD)
2) for the consideration of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($240.000),
hereby. (T)
3) Any player violating this Rule shall be fined not less than Fifty Dollars ($50)
nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500) (UPC, 309)

Punctuation is one of the foregrounding elements of legal English as well. Ordinary
people complain that it is difficult to follow the ideas communicated by those who draft
legal writs. In earlier times it was not unusual to have a whole document drafted in one
long and extremely complex sentence without the use of a single comma. This was a
means to avoid forgery of such a record because punctuation could have been easily
added or deleted. Sometimes only one paragraph represented a whole sentence without
a comma or similar punctuation mark, which is not unusual even today. It is perhaps the
movements towards simplification of legal English that makes current instruments more
abundant in punctuation (see Chap. 3.4 above). In all the attached material punctuation
is applied regularly, abundantly and more or less evenly throughout every text. In the
ICA commas are employed in every line, the longest unpunctuated part extends over
two lines. Commas are thus even more frequent than in the T. Here, commas appear in
each or every other line; the longest sentences without a comma stretch (nearly) over
three lines (see Article 4, p. 3; General Provisions, p. 3). The same characteristic applies
for the UPC. A very special case is the WD. It consists of two main paragraphs and six
other lines with the total of 39 commas, the great majority of which is in the first
paragraph (24). The second paragraph includes ten. Evidently, the WD is heavily
punctuated. The ground is the fact that the paragraphs consist of only three sentences
which are composed of numerous phrases. These phrases represent the sentence
elements and need to be strictly separated for good, clear and straightforward
comprehensibility of the text.

Generally, commas, semi-colons and full stops appear where there is the necessity to
emphasize the beginning or end of a phrase, clause or sentence, or new and highly
important or contrastive information that has an essential effect. Commas and semi-
colons are also used for the separation of individual items where needful, usually when
an enumeration is done; commas and dashes are employed in cases where additional
information is inserted.

On the level of phonological category, much cannot be said because it is more relevant
to be discussed in spoken texts. Nonetheless, there are some features common in margin
both to spoken and written media. They are assonance, alliteration and partially rhyme.
This is grounded by the presence of binomials in legal English. I do not intend to
comment further as more explanations are outlined in Chapters on binomials in this

1.3.2 Lexical Level
Lexical aspects, along with those of grammar, contribute to the distinct character of
legal texts and documents. Generally speaking, the vocabulary is formal and standard
(utilized, acquainted with, constitute in ICA; unsupervised administration, deem in T;
commencement, cease, substantial in UPC) complying with the norms of the style to the
highest degree. It is supported by the presence of literary language; no colloquial
expressions appear. Moreover, there are other essential lexical aspects pinpointing the
typical picture of legal English. Firstly, it is the traditional use of archaic expressions in
which law language is abundant. In all the samples there are a few occurrences of items
such as hereafter and heretofore (UPC); herein, hereto and hereby (WD); thereof (T);
hereinafter, thereto and whatsoever (ICA). The occurrences, though, are not high as
they may be in some other writs. It depends on the drafter of the document. Overtly,
these archaisms are used for the kind of precise reference to the document or its parts,
and to the contracting parties. Sometimes, these expressions are the grounds for critic
because some people see these items as a ritually repeating habit, not reverence to
tradition. The least occurrences (zero) in my material are in the Acts. The reason is that
they are intended for the public and ordinary people, so these archaisms are replaced by
relevant phrases or simply let out so that the text is fully comprehensible.

The second distinct aspect is the use of technical words, or the terms of art. Every
domain has its characteristic vocabulary connected to the area in which it plays part.
The origin of the lexis is multilayered due to many historical events. There are, besides
binomials, other borrowed words from French and Latin as well as other Romance and
Germanic languages that have established as technical terms. In the sample material it is
possible to find devise, bequest and bequeath for give, pecuniary devises meaning
money; pre-decease for to die, encumbrances for obligations (T); assignor and
assignee, investigation or hearing held or conducted, liability, to breach, duly
authorised (UPC); executed the instrument meaning signed, notary public, deed,
consideration for sum (WD); disbursements for expenses (ICA); and performance of
powers, continuance in force, statutory instrument, criminal conduct, prohibited articles
(Acts). Furthermore, legal English is also specific in the use of collocations, bi-, tri- or
multinomial pairs, and phrases constituted by more then two items. They are also
considered very formal and are labelled technical terms. The instances in the material
are as follows: continued or saved by virtue of; in the course of and in connection with;
released without charge and on bail; to confer and impose additional powers and
duties; power to remove truants to designated premises (Acts); be at the applicable rate
set forth; upon any termination of; under contract and prior to expiration (UPC);
revoke and repeal all prior wills and codicils; residence and domicile; grant the
authority to; bequeathed, transferred and gifted; beneficiary or recipient (T); continue
in full force; waiver and relinquishment; impaired or invalidated (ICA). The last one to
enumerate is found in the WD attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference.
The number of such terms in the material is endless and it is not necessary to list them

Thirdly, it is not unusual to find vocabulary that originates in other domains, such
economy, finance, science, trade, medicine and others. One of the conditioning aspects
of such presence is what a certain document is supposed to mediate and what genre it
belongs to, sometimes a term has been assimilated and is used as a legal item. In the
material I have found e.g. pecuniary (finance), maintain and liquidate investments,
preferred or common stocks (economy).

Enumeration (listing more than two elements of the same meaning or similar character)
is richly displayed in legal documents. Again, this is applied for the sake of precision
and avoidance of loopholes, sometimes for the sake of reverence to tradition. Again,
some instances in the texts: claims, costs, losses, fees, interests, or damages; all files,
records, documents, drawings, specifications, equipment, and similar items; invalid,
void and unenforceable (ICA); debts, expenses, taxes, administration costs and
individual devises and bequests (T).
Remarkable is also the incidence of abstract nouns, such as authority, power, rights,
duties, provision, benefits, conditions, regulations, procedure, resolution,
compensation, expiration, termination, etc. The all appear in my documents. In this
sense, it is also possible to classify the category of verbs. They are usually chosen
from a rather restricted range, e.g. accept, administer, require, designate, grant, agree,
recognise, present, constitute, perform, prevent, comply with, observe, exercise, enter,
remain, direct, control, impair, request, conduct, receive, obtain, limit, accrue,
invalidate, etc. Due to this restriction, sometimes paraphrases of the same notion appear
in the same document. For instance, the phrase confer power on sb appears in the texts
as authorise sb, accredit sb, or grant sb the authority to, grant accreditation, or even to
nominate (though depending on the context); have effect, be in/at effect and be in force
mean completely the same; come into effect and come into force employ the same idea
as well.

Legal English is nearly void of any adjectives. If there are any adjectival items present,
then the grounds are evident. Such adjectives essentially relate to the topic of the
document which it deals with or they constitute an element of a fixed phrase or
collocation, some of which make technical terms. In the sample material there are
adjectives such statutory, discretionary, general and elective (they collocate with
powers and rights); informal and unsupervised (administration); real and personal
(property), specific (devises, bequests, articles) all in the T; (un)enforceable, (in)valid,
void (provisions, articles, agreement), necessary (disbursement, costs, fees), liable and
responsible (person, party, body entity) in the ICA; additional (powers, duties), and
minor, consequential, incidental, supplementary (provisions, amendments) in the Acts.
The most frequent adjective in all the texts (except for the WD) is that of reasonable. It
is in collocation with nouns such as grounds (Acts), fees, costs (ICA), compensation
(T), promotional activities, requirements (UPC). They are fixed items and all seem to
be used technically in these instruments. Other adjectives are not present, particularly
those that have some evaluative character, because their meaning is very often
ambiguous and imprecise, and it would seem improper to use them. Legal texts must be
punctual and allow for no loopholes, variability of meaning, or misinterpretation.
Nevertheless, in my material there is one document which is not strictly void of
evaluative adjectives. It is the UPC. There are several instances of good as follows.
4) The Player agrees to .and to keep himself in first-class physical condition
and to conform to high standards of personal conduct, fair play and good
sportsmanship. (UPC 292, 3a)
5) if the Player shall fail..to conform his personal conduct to the standards
of good citizenship and good sportsmanship (UPC 298, 7, 1)

In these occurrences good has an evaluative character; however in the collocations in
which they appear and in this particular context it cannot be else. Logically, it would be
weird to leave good out, or to change good for some other adjectives, because it would
otherwise make no sense. The items good citizenship and good sportsmanship are more
or less fixed collocations, a kind of technical terms I dare say. Illogical would seem bad
sportsmanship - the structure and contents of the clause would have to be set differently.
The subject matter of the UPC document, which is the area of sports, further conditions
the use of other evaluative adjectives as in the following instance. It is an extreme
occurrence of such a large number of adjectives in one sentence.

6) The player represents and agrees that he has exceptional and unique skill and
ability as a baseball player; that his services to be rendered hereunder are of
special, unusual and extraordinary character which gives them peculiar value
which cannot be. And that the Players breach of this contract will cause
the Club great and irreparable injury and damage. (UPC 293 4a)

It is evident that they are used to convey the quality of the services the player wants to
sell and the club intends to buy. The quality, in terms of the subject matter of this
contract, cannot be else. Noticeable is also the meaning of all the adjectives - except for
great and irreparable, but including the first-class in (4) they denote the highest
possible notion of good.

In conclusion to the lexical level analysis, I would like to mention that in some studies
on legal language it is possible to learn that legal texts are empty of comparatives and
superlatives. In my material, though there is one example as in

7) I direct my Executor to seek reimbursement for such taxes subject to any
such tax to the fullest extent permitted by law.

The ground is obvious it is intended to mean the maximum of what is allowed by law
and no other possibility.

(More comments on the use of adjectives in legal English are available below in
Chapter 2.2, Subchapter 2.2.5 on Binomials.)

1.3.3 Grammatical Level
The grammatical features of English legal sentences are as distinctive as those of lexis.
Most striking is the complexity of sentences which is evident at first sight. Such an
enormous complexity is the result of heavy modification, embedded clauses, unusual
word order and inserting words or phrases in places where they, in common speech, do
not appear. As a result, the great majority of sentences are long compound or complex
sentences with a minimum of simple sentences (clauses). These simple sentences, along
with short complex ones, are usually at the beginning (in the opening paragraphs) or at
the end of the text. To support this, here are some examples.

8) I revoke all my prior wills and codicils. (T Article 1)
9) On this ___ ay of _______, 2000, in the County of Texarcana, State of Texas,
I/we herewith sign this warranty Deed. (WD)
10) WITNESS my hand and official seal. (WD)
11) Nothing in this section authorises a constable to enter a dwelling. (PJA Part
2, 24B, 9)
12) This Act extends only to Northern Ireland. (TA Part 7, provision 5,4)

Referring to modification, it is post-modification that supersedes the other category, that
of pre-modification. The former is carried out by numerous phrases, namely
prepositional and adverbial, finite and non-finite clauses, and of-constructions. Their
order (of the phrases) is done with respect to what is being modified and what the
importance of the modified and modifying element is. Therefore, sometimes there are
phrases inserted into phrases where they do not belong, and very clumsy and non-
elegant sequences come into existence (18, 19). Even the predicate may become
separated (20). As far as word order concerns, it is not unusual that a sentence begins
with an adverbial (15, 20).
13) I give my entire interest in the real property which was my residence at the
time of my death, together with any insurance on such real property, but
subject to any encumbrances on said real property, to my spouse, John T.
Webster. (T Article 2)
14) I direct my Executor to seek reimbursement for such taxes paid by my
Executor from the recipients of property subject to any such tax to the fullest
extent permitted by law. (T gp 3)
15) At his or her request and in his or her presence and in the presence of each
other, we herewith subscribe our names as witnesses hereto. (T last par.)
16) Any similarity of the provisions of my Will to the provisions of the will of
my spouse or any other person, if any, executed on the same or on different
dates than my Will, shall not be construed of as evidence of such a contract.
(T gp 6)
17) until such time as the project for which Contractor was hired per this
Agreement has been completed. (ICA 1.01)
18) For violation by the Player of any regulation or other provision of this
contract... (UPC306, 5)
19) Contractor is responsible for paying when due all income taxes, incurred as
result of the compensation paid by Client to Contractor for services under
this Agreement. (ICA 2.04)
20) During the term of this agreement, Contractor shall not, directly or indirectly,
either as a Contractor, Client, consultant, agent, principal, partner,
stockholder, corporate officer, director, or in any other individual or
representative capacity, engage or participate in any business . (ICA 5.04)

To illustrate a distinct word order in legal English, here is a part of the closing
paragraph of the WD.

21) On this the ____ day of _______, 2000, before me, the undersigned, a notary
public in and for said County and State, personally appeared Mark Lipton,
and Joseph Waner, , and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed
the same in ., and that by his/her/signature(s) on the instrument the
person(s), or entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the

In the Testament (Article 4, 3) there is such a long post-modification of an object by to-
clauses, that the whole sentence stretches over eight lines. In the UPC (300 9a) there is
also another long post-modification worth noticing. For the reason that they are too long
I do not intend to put them down here. Therefore, see the Appendices.

Another typical grammatical feature of legal English is the use of modal auxiliaries will
and shall as those appearing most frequently. In everyday speech, will is used in
majority, shall only on special occasions, and they both refer to future. In legal
documents, there is a difference in the use. Both auxiliaries are applied to refer to future,
but shall denotes obligation, so it is invariably used to express an obligatory
consequence of a legal decision. There are numerous instances in my material. The
following are some examples.

22) No Trustee shall be liable to any person interested in the Trust for any act or
default (T 6, 4)
23) However, estate taxes attributable to any gift.shall be paid from the
residuary of the Estate. (T gp 3)
24) The Secretary of State shall not make an order containing (with or without
any provision) any provision authorised by subsection (1) unless . (PJA
Part 1, section 7,2,4)

However, some of the material contains both will and shall with reference to future and
obligation. The difference seems to be so slight that it is hard to explain. Perhaps shall,
in these occurrences, expresses more weight and emphasis as in the following.

25) Contractor agrees that Contractor is not and will not become an employee,
partner, agent, or principal of Client while this Agreement is in effect. (ICA
26) All files, records, documents, drawings, specifications, equipment, and
similar items relating to the business of Client, whether .., are and shall
remain the exclusive property of Client and shall not be removed from the
premises of client under any circumstances whatsoever without the prior
consent of client. (ICA 5.03,2)

Another contrastive example is in the UPC (290, 2):

27) the Club will pay the Player the sum of $____, in semi-monthly
instalments after the commencement of the championship season(s) covered
by this contract except as the schedule of payments may be modified by a
special covenant.

The subsequent sentence says:

28) Payment shall be made on the day the amount becomes due, regardless of
whether the Club is home or abroad.

In sentence 25) the reason for using will seems to be the last part beginning with except
as, because it leaves some space for the modification of the schedule. In 26) it is stated
precisely, that the payment must be done on the date that the player and the club agreed
on either in the contract, or in a special covenant.

Sometimes it is possible to find other auxiliaries, such as may, must and even would.
May is employed to express permission (25) and possibility (26) both at present and in
the future.
29) The Secretary of State may by order provide for provisions of Part 1 of
Schedule 4 to apply to every person who under section 38 is designated as a
community support officer. (PJA Part 1, 7,1)
30) I direct that all my debts and obligations, including ..be paid as soon after
my death as practical; except that any mortgage indebtedness or other long
term contractual indebtedness ., which may exist as a part of my Estate,
may be continued and assumed by

Would and must are used, though, only under special circumstances and context, or even
for grammatical purposes, such as the conditional in the samples below. The
information being mediated conditions the use. Thus must and would seem to be rather
31) An accreditation under this section, unless it is previously withdrawn or
ceases to have effect in accordance with subsection (8) , shall remain in force
for such period as may be specified in the accreditation, but it may be
renewed at any time with effect from the time when it would otherwise
expire. (PJA Part 2, 15, 8)
32) The Player represents that he has no physical or mental defects known to him
and unknown to the appropriate representatives of the Club which would
prevent or impair performance of his services. (UPC 294,4b)S
A fairly frequent grammatical feature that is characteristic of legal documents is that of
the so-called whiz-deletion. It means the omission of the wh-forms plus some forms of
the verb to be where this is not apparently needed. It is exemplified as follows.

33) The Club and ..... may make public .... record of any inquiry, investigation or
hearing held or conducted, including in such record all evidence or
information given, received, or obtained in connection therewith. (UPC 301,
34) An article is prohibited for the purposes of this section if it is an article
(a) made or adapted for use in the course of or in connection with criminal
conduct, or (b) intended by the person having it with him for such use by him or
by some other person (PJA Part 2, 8,5)

The last grammatical feature to be mentioned is the use of any, which sometimes
appears excessive, but it has its justification. It is applied to make the whole sentences
as inclusive as possible, so that, again, there is no loophole. The sentence with the
largest number of any is in the ICA.

35) ...nor shall any waiver or relinquishment of any right or power at any one
time or times be deemed a waiver or relinquishment of that right or power for
all or any other times. (6.03)

All the material also contains grammatical markers which underlay its level of
formality. Firstly, the documents are written in 3
person, e.g. Player, Organization,
Club, President, Assignee (UPC); Grantor, Grantee (WD); Client, Agreement (ICA);
Executor, Will, Estate (T), etc. In some parts appear relevant pronouns such as its, her,
his, they. There is also an instance of the emphatic (existential) there. These items
denote impersonality. Secondly, there are no 1
and 2
person pronouns. The only
exception is the testament. Due to its character, it is natural that 1
person pronouns
appear, such as I and my, but the level of formality is balanced by the use the passive
voice, formal vocabulary and technical terms in these aspect, it is the richest, together
with the WD. Thirdly, it is the frequent application of the passive voice, which is more
or less noticeable in every document. The largest number of occurrences, as said before,
is in the T, the smallest number accounts for the UPC, probably due to the fact that the
UPC is written in the present tense, it is abundant in the use of conditional and it is full
of procedure, so the use of the active voice seems to be preferred by the drafter. The
ratio of use of the passive in the other documents is reasonable, depending on what
information is being conveyed. The following are some examples.

36) If there exists no such surviving beneficiary or contingent beneficiaries as
named above at the time of my death, (T 3,3)
37) It is recognized and agreed that in connection with. (ICA 4.01)
38) (a) written notice of such injury, including the time, place, cause and
nature of the injury, is served upon and received by the Club (UPC 305,2)
39) For the purposes of subsection (4) an offence charged as having been
committed between to different dates is to be treated as charged as (TA
Part 6, 5)

In conclusion to the grammatical features, word classes are not used evenly. The
prevailing majority is those of nouns, verbs, prepositions and conjunctions. Then come
adjectives and adverbs, and the least occurrences are of pronouns and numerals.
Naturally, no other classes are present.

1.3.4 Discourse and Textual Level
There are several features contributing to the cohesion and coherence of the documents.
Firstly, it is the scarce use of reference. Due to the strict requirements for precision and
unambiguity, it is typical of legal document to apply a minimum of personal, objective
and possessive pronouns for reference. Instead, repetition is employed, so that no space
is left for misinterpretation. However, where it is utterly clear to what person or entity
the pronoun refers to, then it is possible to find a relevant pronoun. This particularly
holds true for the testament, as well as the WD, which is conditioned by the character of
the instruments. The aim is to indicate clearly who makes/made those legal decisions,
who executed them and what the relationships are between the people concerned in
them. To support this, there are some instances adopted from the testament and the WD;
the very first is in the opening clause of the T.

40) I, Janet J. Webster, of ., New York, declare that this is my Last Will and
41) I give, devise and bequeath all the residue and remainder of my Estate,
after..., one half to my spouse, ..., and one half to my children, equally.
42) On this the ____ day of _______, 2000, before me, the undersigned, a notary
public in and for said County and State, personally appeared Mark Lipton,
and Joseph Waner, , and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed
the same in ., and that by his/her/ their signature(s) on the instrument the
person(s), or entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the

In the UPC, the its pronoun appears when it is used to refer to the club, team, league or
organization. A few instances of he and his appear related to the player, obviously
where there is no possibility to misinterpret the reference.

43) The Player represents and agrees that he has exceptional and unique skill and
ability as a baseball player; that his services to be rendered hereunder are of
special, unusual and (UPC 293, 4a)
44) to observe and comply with all reasonable requirements of the Club
respecting conduct and service of its team and its players, (UPC 292, 3b)

In the ICA and the Acts there are no instances of either personal or possessive

Besides repetition, other means employed for reference are determiners. In other
varieties of English, the definite article the is used. In legal English, it is rather rare
because legal English employs other devices, such as said and such. These unique
determiners stand for the, the particular, the one that is being concerned and no other.
My sample documents provide some examples of these determiners, e.g. such named
beneficiary, said pre-deceased beneficiarys share; such child or children (T); such
expenses (ICA); for said County and State (WD); by such player for participating in
such game; such injury (UPC); by such person and in such manner; to such other
provisions and restrictions (PJA).

However, it is necessary to comment on a few differences in the scale of use of such and
said among all the documents. The richest in these special determiners is the T and,
taking into account its length, the WD. The least occurrences fall on the ICA, whereas
the UPC and the Acts fall in between on the scale. In the case of the ICA (only one
occurrence), the reason may be explained on the grounds of the construction of the
sentences, and perhaps in the use of the demonstrative pronoun that instead. So it seems
that the sentences were drafted in a way that does not allow for or need any use of such
or said.
45) 6.01.Entire agreement: This Agreement supersedes any and all other
agreements, either oral or in writing, between the parties hereto with respect
to the hiring of Contractor by Client, and contains all of the covenants and
agreements between the parties with respect to that hiring in any manner

In some ICA sentences we may also find the as the determiner, but in these instances it
would be illogical and senseless to use such/said due to the direction of reference, as in:

46) 6.01.Entire agreement: This Agreement supersedes any and all other
agreements, either oral or in writing, between the parties hereto with respect
to the hiring of Contractor by Client, and contains all of the covenants and
agreements between the parties with respect to that hiring in any manner

With regards to what I have just said, it may appear that there is a tendency in legal
documents, such and said are used in anaphoric reference, whereas the may be both
anaphoric and cataphoric.

In the WD, it is worth noticing that said appears together with the, as if the purpose was
to intensify the said determiner: ...the said property unto the said Grantee.

The Acts and the UPC are in the middle of the scale of the use of such, said and the
definite article. The reason in the UPC seems to be the preference and style of the
drafter to make the document a less legal and loose instrument. Moreover it may be the
fact that it reflects the movement towards simplification, or perhaps the fact that it is an
agreement between a player and a club and they are considered laymen, so it needs to
be fully comprehensible. As for the Acts, the common use of the definite article can be
explained on similar grounds. They are codes of law and as such, they need to be fully
comprehensible and clear for both the police force, and the public who are not
considered professionals in terms of law. So again, it is the structure of the sentences
that prefers the use of the definite article.

As for the use of the definite article as such, there is an apparent lack of this determiner
to be used with the main participants, parties or entities in legal documents. To show
that they are the ones concerned, the initial letters in their names are capitalised (see
Chap. 1.3.1). Nevertheless, the UPC is an exception all the relevant people,
documents, organizations, bodies and institutions and other items connected to the field
of baseball are capitalised, so the participants and necessary covenants and attachments
to the agreement concerned are not only capitalized, but also the definite article is
employed to show that they all relate to that particular agreement.

Finally, the demonstrative this is fairly largely applied in legal documents. It is to
supply the definite article with the same meaning and to state clearly and specifically
which document, or its part, is being referred to. In the documents, there are some
occurrences, such as this Agreement, this Warranty Deed, this Will, this provision, etc.

The next cohesive device that is necessary to look at is that of conjunctives, (i.e.
conjunctions and conjuncts) and other linking devices. In the area of conjunctions, there
are two levels of relation between sentences, those of coordination and subordination. In
legal documents, at the level of coordination, the typical conjunctions are and and or,
and at the level of subordination they are if, when, unless, that, and which. In phrases,
the coordinating conjunctions and and or are used. Sometimes appear the conjunction

In the sample documents I have found numerous instances of conjunctions and other
linking means. Together with repetition and such/said determiners, they contribute to
the cohesion of the texts to a large extent. The following are the specific instances
employed. In all the documents, the conjunctions and, or and if appear in majority, so
the following are all examples of conjuncts and other links. In the brackets, I quote the
number of the page (UPC) and number of the paragraph (all the other texts except for
the WD).

In the UPC they are in addition to (292); upon (299); then (301); unless and until (304);
in the event of (307); in the case of (307); except that (309). The ICA document
provides that, while, including (2.03); whether or nor (5.01); either ... or (5.04). The T
shows that (1); which (2); in the event of (2; 4); then (5); including but not limited (5);
as long as (6, 6); however (6, 7); upon (gp 8). For its length the WD offers only three
conjunctions (and, or, but) and no other linking devices.

Worth mentioning is the sentence (UPC 295, 6b) in which the link if was omitted, so a
change of word order was necessary to employ and should stands in the place of the

47) The Player agrees that, should the Club contemplate an assignment of this
contract to another Club or Clubs, the Clubs physician may furnish ...

1.4 Conclusion
In the foregoing analysis I have outlined, at various levels, the features that are
considered typical and distinctive of legal English. I have looked carefully at the
material and tried to find the relevant features. If present, I have exemplified them, if
not, I have commented on their absence. Also, I have commented on some exceptions to
the features, if they were present in the texts.

On these grounds (mainly due to the presence of technical terminology, complexity of
sentences, the level of explicitness and the layout) I may conclude that all the texts
belong to the domain of law, though with some slight differences on the norm scale.
With respect to the differences, the closest to the norm may appear the WD and the T,
which is apparent mainly in the complexity of sentences, their layout, word order and
the use of the passive. The Acts slightly diverge from the rest of the sample documents
mainly in the complexity of the sentences - it seems to be less complex (no embedded
clauses, no heavy modification), and the frequent use of the definite article. The Acts
belong to the genre of codes of law, which may be described as simplified legal
documents because they are intended to be understood as clearly as possible by the
general public for they serve as a means of keeping and establishing social order among
people. In this sense, the laymen must be able to understand what is against the law and
what is not in a straightforward way. Nonetheless, generally speaking, all the texts show
a flavour of conservatism, which is more than just. Whoever composes a legal
document must ensure that it says exactly what the drafter intends it to say and that at
the same time he gives no opportunity for misinterpretation at all. Thus, the drafter tries
to avoid ambiguity, employs the greatest degree of inclusiveness and exactness of
reference as possible. The fact is that legal documents are drafted not to enlighten the
user, but to record information which is then scrutinized by someone else.

The following represent two analyses. The first analysis deals with the distribution of
binomials from the point of view of thematic progression, i.e. the ratio of binomials in
theme, transition and rheme. The second analysis focuses on the semantic relations of
binomials that appear in the samples of the legal documents examined in this thesis.

2.1. Thematic Structure
An English sentence has four main layers which are very frequently subjected to
linguistic analyses and studies. They are thematic structure, clausal structure, sentence
elements and parts of speech. Gustafsson (1975:33) claims that binomials may occur in
any part of a sentence (the final position is the most appropriate), in any function, and
belong to any part of speech. Only the thematic structure is discussed in this thesis.

The thematic structure displays the function of two (or three) main parts of the sentence
in a wider textual context. In the theoretical part, the terms of Satzthema and
Satzaussage used by Mathesius, are mentioned together with those of theme (topic) and
rheme (comment), because they are used as present-day terminology. Theme is defined
as the known or at least obvious part in the given situation from which the speaker
proceeds (Firbas 1992), whereas rheme conveys the unknown or not given elements
of an utterance (ibid.). Simply said, the beginning of a sentence carries the known or
old information; the new comes at the end. Every utterance has its degree of
communicative dynamism (CD), and such dynamism is described on the grounds of
functional sentence perspective (FSP). Generally speaking, the basic distribution of CD
is that the beginning of an utterance has the lowest degree which gradually proceeds
towards the highest. In this sense, theme can be described as not always carrying the
new piece of information, but as being constituted by the sentences element or
elements carrying the lowest degree(s) of CD within the sentence (ibid.).The varying
degree of CD reflects the character of human thought and linear organization. In other
words, thematic structure is concerned with the relation of what is being said to what
has gone before in the discourse (ibid.). This affects the ordering of elements in
clauses, and as a result theme always precedes the rheme. It would be very oblivious not
to mention the last term concerned, that of transition, because it stands in between the
theme and rheme and contributes to the development of CD and communication as

One of the aims of this thesis is to do a statistical survey based on the sample material I
have chosen and to compare and comment on the proportions of binomials appearing in
the three parts of an English legal sentence. Gustafsson (1975) made a very competent
survey on the same topic but in a larger scale. Another difference is that she used
material of a wider range including various prose texts and newspaper and magazine
articles. I have surveyed only material connected with law.

The following table presents the results of my survey. There are six columns
corresponding to the individual texts and aspects I have looked at. In each column, the
number of binomials and the percentage of their total occurrences in each text are
shown. The last column gives the total number of binomials in each text. The last line
states the total occurrences of binomials in theme, transition, rheme, and the ?
sections. The ? section refers to binomials that were rather difficult to match or the
positions of which was not straightforwardly clear due to various factors, such as the
lack of adequate context, the nature of the sentence (ellipsis, embedding, very
complicated structures) and the fact that some of the binomials are phrases and appear
in the headings of some sections.

Table 1. Distribution of binomials in the thematic structure.

N / % N / % N / % N / % N / %

UPC 6 / 6.38 2 / 2.13 85 / 90.43 1 / 1.06 94 / 100
T 11 / 16.93 3 / 4.62 50 / 76.93 1 / 1.54 65 / 100
WD 2 / 25 1 / 12.5 5 / 62.5 0 / 0 8 / 100
ICA 6/ 13.04 4 / 8.70 35 / 76.09 1 / 2.18 46 / 100
ACTS 5 / 71.43 2 / 2.53 65 / 82.28 7 / 8.86 79 / 100

TOTAL 30 / 10.27 12 / 4.11 240 / 82.20 10 / 3.43 292 / 100

2.1.1 Rheme
As it is apparent from the table above, the distribution of binomials in the thematic
structure is not even. This is due to the principles of communicative dynamism. Then it
is only natural that the greatest share of binomial words (roughly calculated at four
fifths) falls on the rhematic part. In her statistical study, Gustafsson (1975) came to a
very similar conclusion. She explains that the high frequency of binomials in the rheme
indicates that they contribute to the development of communication (ibid: 37).Thus
binomial expressions are linguistically used to bear new and additional information and
to enlarge and elaborate the end of an utterance which is informationally heavier.
Compared with transition (see below), the rheme may be extremely diversified in its
grammatical structure. It may be constituted by miscellaneous sentence elements, i.e.
various objects, complements, complicated infinitival and prepositional phrases which
are used adverbially (ibid: 40). The diversity is exemplified by the following instances.
Noteworthy is also the fact that there are more binomials in one rhematic part. The
reason is that they sometimes modify one another.

1) A weights and measures inspector authorised or required to do anything by virtue
of an accreditation under this section (b) shall be so authorised or required
subject to such other restrictions and conditions (if any) as may be specified in his
accreditation. (PJA 15, 6)
2) , that the chief officer must ensure that the person receives adequate raining in
the exercise and performance of the additional powers and duties. (PJA 7,6)
3) . there is substituted shall be (i) released without charge and on bail, or
(PJA 11, i)
4) I revoke all my prior wills and codicils. (T 1,1)
5) In making these distributions, The Trustee may consider other income and
resources available to such Beneficiary. (T 6,6)
6) , any gift I have made or will make during my life shall not be treated as
satisfaction, in whole or in part, of any devise or bequest in my Will. (T gp, 7)
7) The services Contractor agrees to perform is to create and implement a material
tracking system allowing for real time identification and location for all of Clients
goods and materials in while in transit, and any matters incidental and/or relating
thereto. (ICA 1.01)
8) fail, in the opinion of the Clubs management, to exhibit sufficient skill or
competitive ability to qualify or continue as a member of the Clubs team; or
(UPC 298, 7.2)
In the Warranty Deed (WD) example document there is a sentence that I have
intentionally left to be mentioned last because it contains 5 out of the total 8 binomials
in the text.

9) Grantor does hereby bind itself, its heirs and assigns to WARRANT AND FOREVER
DEFEND all and singular the said property unto the said Grantee, its successors and
assigns, against every person whosoever lawfully claiming or to claim the same or
any part thereof, by through or under Grantor, but not otherwise.

From the instances above and the material I have used for my study, it is clear, that
there are a few simple sentences or even clauses present in legal documents containing
binomials in the thematic part. This more or less applies for the thematic part as well.
Generally speaking, if any clauses or very simple and short sentences are to be found
with binomials in the thematic or rhematic parts, they are usually at the beginning or at
the end of such documents.
2.1.2 Transition
The remaining one fifth of the distribution of binomials is constituted by the theme,
transition and ? parts. The distribution of binomials in these places appears more or
less even, although a more competent survey could come up with a slightly different
result for various reasons. Firstly, sentences in legal English are typically and
commonly complex in their structure, mainly due to the less frequent use of
punctuation, or other visible structuring devices, numerous inserted clauses and non-
standard word order. In consequence, attempts to break some of the sentences for an
analysis may be more than a fastidious task.

The second cause may be the fact that the term transition is hard to be described and
allocated. As many linguists agree, Gustafsson (1975) and Dane (1966) among others,
its nature, concept and extent are not outlined clearly enough. Citing Gustafsson,
transition is notionally a vaguely defined intermediary part of the sentence after the
theme (1975:39). In her treatise, she applied more or less a straightforward approach.
She interprets this category as the first main verb after the theme, or the auxiliary and
the verb including, but excluding all other elements of the verb phrase. The same
approach has been applied in this thesis. The following are some examples.
10) I give and bequest all of my interest in the following property, subject to any
encumbrances, to the persons or entities as follows (T 2, 3)
11) If my spouse, John T. Webster fails or is unable for any reason to serve as
Executor of my Estate, I nominate (T 4,1)
12) In addition to such powers, the Trustee may, in the Trustees discretion, invest and
reinvest Trust funds in very kind of property (T 6,3)
13) The Player represents and agrees that he has exceptional and unique skill and
ability as a baseball player (UPC 293, 4)
14) The Player and the club recognize and agree that the Players participation in
certain other sports (UPC 294, 5)
15) It is recognized and agreed that in connection with the services to be preformed for
Client, Contractor (ICA 4.01)
16) Contractor agrees and promises not to engage in any unfair competition with the
client. (ICA 5.02)
17) If an order under subsection (1) confers or imposes additional powers and duties
on a person who is under the direction and control of a chief officer of police of a
police force, that chief officer must (PJA 7,6)

The following samples constitute the binomial expressions in transition that seem
debatable. Nonetheless, they have (reasoned by the below comments) been included in
the transition column in Table 1.

18) Unless specifically set forth in writing and acknowledged by the donee thereof, any gift I
have made or will make during my lifetime shall not be treated as a satisfaction, in whole
or in part, of any devise or bequest in my Will.

Sample 18 is debatable for the fact that it is in a subordinate clause which modifies the
subject (any gift). The whole clause is inserted between the subject (any gift) and the
verb (shall not be treated). Further, it seems difficult (at least to the author) to limit the
theme, transition and rheme in the whole sentence - in particular, whether the rheme
starts by any gift or after shall not be.

19) Contractor shall be solely liable and responsible for payment same, and shall
indemnify and hold Client harmless from claims made by any entity for payment
fro such expenses incurred. (ICA 4)

The questionable character of Sample 19 is twofold. The first pair liable and
responsible may at first seem to fall in the category of transition, but in the authors
opinion it is not, because the structure of the binomial is not auxiliary + main verb (or
its past participle) as in Sample 15, but auxiliary + main verb + adjective. The second
pair may appear not appear to be in transition because it is preceded by a clause and
consequently found in the thematic part. However, in the authors opinion it is a
transition element because the two clauses are connected by the link and, and thus
making the relation of the two predicates coordinate. Secondly, it follows the pattern
auxiliary + main verb. A very similar problem may be applied to the sample below.

20) All files, records, documents, drawings, specifications, equipment, and similar
items relating to the business of Client, whether they are prepared by Contractor or
come into Contractors possession in any other way and whether or not they
contain or constitute trade secrets owned by Client, are and shall remain the
exclusive property of Client and shall not be removed from the premises of client
under any circumstances whatsoever without the prior consent of client. (ICA
5.03, 2)

The are and shall remain pair is the main predicate (together with shall not be
removed), though it may not seem so at first because it is preceded by a very complex
subject which is heavily post-modified. However, I believe that the complex subject is
the theme and the transition part falls on the are and shall remain binomial.

21) For a period of twenty-four (24) months immediately following the termination of
this Agreement, Contractor shall not directly or indirectly make known to any
person, firm or corporation the names or addresses of nay of the customers of
Client or any other information (ICA 5.02)

The binomial in Sample 21 was excluded of the transition part because it does follow
the auxiliary + main verb or the main verb + main verb pattern, though (in the authors
opinion) it is in the transition place.
In conclusion to the transition issue, I consider fairly important to note that the large
number of the binomial expressions in the transition part in the Acts (see Tab. 1) is due
to the presence of binomials in the section headings of the Acts (they are only phrases,
not clauses); and that I believe that my opinions in the previous comments on the whole
transition section may be seriously disputed and overcome by a more competent
linguistic expert.
2.1.3 Theme
Following the principle of functional sentence perspective, the thematic part of an
utterance is usually supposed to carry the more familiar piece of information and is
marked by the lowest degree of dynamism. That appears to be the main reason for such
a small number of occurrences of binomials in this place. Nonetheless, in the theme
position binomial expressions of various structures may be found; and even within the
whole extent of the theme itself the binomial may take various positions.

The very common and easily recognizable binomials in the theme are typically
constructed by nouns - both concrete and abstract, though many treatises on legal
language, e.g. Urbanov (1986:19), claim that npadn je hojn vskyt abstrakt. Also,
the binomials are the subjects of the sentences and they are related to some previous
context as it is apparent from the use of determiners. On the other hand, determination
need not necessarily be in the form of a definite article, because the relation is obvious
from the situation. The samples below exemplify them.

22) The powers and duties conferred and imposed by the provisions for the time being
applied under subsection (1) are to be known as (PJA 7,2)
23) The enactments and instruments in the first column of the Schedule are repealed or
revoked to the extent set out in the second column. (TA 5,2)
24) All books and records utilized by Contractors duties under this agreement shall be
immediately returned to Client by Contractor on any termination of this
agreement, (ICA 5.01, b)
25) The Player and the Club may, without obtaining special approval, agree by special
covenant to limit or eliminate the right of the Club to assign this contract. (UPC
295, 6)
26) If any beneficiary or recipient of any bequest named in my Will disclaims all or
part of a gift, the portion of the gift disclaimed shall be distributed as if (T gp 8)

Other types of binomials in the theme can be found in the below sample sentences. The
binomial expressions are at the centre of the phrases, or they serve as pre- or post-
modifiers of other items.
27) A weights and measures inspector authorised or required to do anything by virtue
of an accreditation under this section (a) shall not be authorised or required by
virtue of that accreditation to (PJA 15,6)
28) I generally and specifically disinherit each, any and all persons who ever claimed
to, or who may lawfully be determined to (T gp 1)
29) Unless the assignor and assignee Clubs agree otherwise, if the assignee club is a
National Association Club, the assignee Club shall be liable only to pay (UPC
30) On this the ____ day of ____, 2000, before me, the undersigned, a notary public in
and for said County and State, personally appeared Mark Lipton, and Joseph
Waner, personally known to me (WD last paragraph)

The last examples are those in which binomials are used in prepositional phrases, as
adverbials and even conjunctions in the thematic part.

31) In section 36 (duty to share travel and freight information for security purposes),
after subsection (5) there is inserted -
32) In addition to any powers and elective rights conferred by statute or federal law or
by other provisions of this Will, I grant my Executor the authority to administer
my Estate under nay procedure for (T 4, 3)
33) For violation by the Player of any regulation or other provision of this contract, the
Club may impose a reasonable fine and . (UPC 306, 5)
34) Upon and after such assignment, all rights and obligations of the assignor Club
hereunder shall become the rights and obligations of the assignee Club; (UPC
296, 6)
35) The Clubs playing season for each year covered by this contract and all renewals
hereof shall be as fixed by The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs,
or (UPC 304, 1)
36) All files, records, documents, drawings, specifications, equipment, and similar
items relating to the business of Client, whether they are prepared by Contractor or
come into Contractors possession in any other way and whether or not they
contain or constitute trade secrets owned by Client, are and shall remain the
exclusive property of Client(ICA 5.03, 2)

From the instances above and the material I have used for my study, it is clear, that
there are a few simple sentences or even clauses present in legal documents containing
binomials in the thematic part. This more or less applies for the rhematic part as well.
Generally speaking, if any clauses or very simple and short sentences are to be found,
they are usually at the beginning or at the end of such documents. Lastly, it is not rare to
find more than one binomial in a phrase, clause or sentence.

2.1.4 Conclusion
An intention to put forward one more aspect related to binomials and their distribution
in English comes in addition. The aspect is related to the distribution of binomials in
various genres of English written texts. I decided to include some comments on this
aspect in this chapter as some interesting results came out of Gustafssons study on the
distribution of binomials in the theme, transition and rheme. It has been previously
remarked that Gustafsson for her statistical study examined material of various
characters legal, literary, media, scientific and popular. It may not be surprising to
learn that the presence of binomials in her material is not equal. Simply, there is no
regular pattern even among the same groups of the material. It is interesting to compare
the American legal text with the British sample. One may find quite a distinct
difference. The legal domain seems quite rich in binomials; moreover, the British law
sample seems even more abundant. Consequently, one may be tempted to think of
binomials as more typical of legal language, particularly British, and typical of British
English as such. This may be supported by the number of binomials in the English
newspaper and magazine that Gustafsson explored (the Observer and Time Magazine).
However, this is in contrast to the number of binomials in the scientific work by
Margaret Mead (in Gustafssons study referred to as MM), because she was American.
Furthermore, the material that is the object of the study in this thesis is American, only
the Acts are British, so to claim that British lawyers, together with British people,
make a greater use of binomials would be far more than daring. Finally, one aspect
should be also mentioned. The large numbers of binomials in legal texts are caused by
the fact that into the results and sample occurrences of her analysis Gustafsson also
included trinomial and multinomial expressions, though the expressions are always
looked at, analysed and labelled binomials. Then perhaps one may assume the
conclusion that legal English is the only jargon in which binomials appear so
abundantly. The assumption, though, may be wrong, but it is clear that the law domain
is undoubtedly very rich in them.
Whatever inclination to any of the assumptions above one chooses, it may be concluded
that the frequency of binomials in written and spoken English is always conditioned by
the domain in which it is used.

2.2 Semantic Structure of Binomials
A word is a language element constituting a unity of several layers that are under
constant linguistic investigation. One of the layers is its meaning which is inquired into
in the field of semantics. The topics related to a semantic study may be those of
synonymy, hyponymy, antonymy, ambiguity, change of meaning, the emotive use of
words and others. Gustafsson (1975:76) notes that meaning is definitely a sine qua non
in language, but the difficulty in bringing structure to meaning was the main reason why
structuralists avoided it. However, developments in linguistics gave rise to some
methods allowing the study of meaning. Various studies have been carried out and
numerous treatises have been written on the problem of what is denoted by meaning,
what its concept is, what layers or perhaps spheres of meaning there are, and how they
are related. Therefore, the issue of a structure of meaning came to existence and the
term of semantic field was introduced so that studies of conceptual spheres could begin.
Structure is present in particular conceptual spheres and there is a system into which
ideas denoted by vocabulary can be classified and organized. Other views, though, were
brought into semantics, for example that of division of meaning into a series of
component functions (ibid: 76). Component functions are further defined as some
language forms or elements used with respect to the context. Phonetics, grammar,
lexicology and semantics are areas in which the complexity of contextual relations of
meaning is explored. It is the study of collocations of lexical items that the focus is put
on by some linguists. On these grounds, binomials are related to this issue because, as
Gustafsson (ibid.) suggests, some binomials are extreme cases of collocation. By
collocation it is understood how words group together in a habitual manner. Many
linguists, Trier among them, studied collocations and tried to reveal the semantic
structures linking actual lexical items, and thus establish structure on an inter-lexical
level. It did not take long until it was realised that lexical items could be dissected into
semantic elements or components. The method that could break lexical items into
semantic pieces was accordingly named componential analysis. In this way, the
structure of lexical units can be explained because the meaning of one sense of a lexical
item can be decomposed into its atomic concepts (ibid: 78). The terms of semantic
component and semantic feature were coined. Gustafsson further comments that the use
of componential analysis is useful in bringing structure to vocabulary and in explaining
the internal relationships between lexical items.

The determining principle in componential analysis lies in the notion of semantic contrast,
but instead of explicit contrast between complete lexical items one looks for contrast
simultaneously in different dimensions of meaning. The contrastive elements are semantic
features which occur in various combinations denoting meaning of lexical items. The above
principle makes it possible to determine the semantic distance between two lexical items,
and it offers the information that is needed for establishing semantic ambiguity, antonymy,
hyponymy, synonymy, and paraphrase.

From the point of view of binomials, synonymy appears the most interesting, though
linguists hold different views on the degree of similarity that synonymous items need.
In this sense, the same semantic representation is required in two expressions that are
supposed to be semantically synonymous. In contrast, a difference of one of the items is
allowed among some other linguists. Gustafsson goes on listing other concepts of the
degree of similarity concluding that componential identity, in part or in whole, is
required of synonyms, but the degree of identity seems to vary from one feature to
complete identity (ibid: 79).

The semantic features are generally believed to be binary, i.e. the + or signs are used
to mark the presence or absence of a feature as well as other labels are frequent, such
(Male) and (Female), (Human) and (Non-human), (Abstract) and (Concrete), (Human)
and (Animal) and finally (Animate) and (Inanimate). For some further detailed
comments it is advised to look at Gustafsson (1975:76-85) or any other relevant
linguistic studies.

The following is the aim to see what types of binomials (and for certain purposes of tri-
or multinomials) appear in legal English in terms of semantic structure and relationship.
Gustafssons classification is followed accompanied by some comments and, if an
instance was found in the material used for the purpose of this study, by several
occurrences of incidental binomials. Quite a large number of sentences in my material
consists of long and complex sentences, so I have deliberately put down only the part or
clause in which the relevant binomial appears. The typical relationships of binomials are
presented, some of which were touched upon in the theoretical part (in terms of
synonymy, antonymy and enumerations). The below classification is based on
componential analysis:

1. semantic opposition
2. semantic homoeosemy
3. semantic complementation
4. semantic hyponymy

2.2.1 Semantic Opposition
In some binomials a common core of semantic features may be found, though
sometimes their relation is polarized as in the binomial man and beast. Such binomial
can be marked (+Concrete) and (+Animate), but A differs from B in terms of the feature
(Human) man is (Human) and beast is (-Human). In this sense, various subcategories
of semantic opposition are achieved.

1. Morphological opposition
In such a binomial there is no inherent negative feature, but a negative morpheme is
applied to show the opposition. The most frequent are dis-, in-, un-; common are also
counter-, non-, and less. There are only two instances in the material, both the same.

1) ,Contractor shall not directly or indirectly make known to any person, firm or
corporation(ICA 5.02)

Besides, it is possible to find binomial in which opposition is achieved by syntactic
means (e.g. the active as opposed to passive voice, the affirmative or negative).
According to Gustafsson, such binomials are rare.

2) In section 32 there is substituted (a) arriving, or expected to arrive
3) - (b) leaving or expected to leave (PJA 14,2)
4) or to come into Contractors possession in any other way and whether or not
they contain or constitute trade secrets (ICA 5.03, 2)

2. Animate opposition
In this sense, the concrete world is divided into animate and inanimate sections. Due to
its high order in hierarchy of features, the (Animate) opposition is difficult to be
realized. Gustafsson gives more detailed comments, but I do not consider them
important or relevant enough to be further discussed. Below are the examples that in my
view fall into this category. Nonetheless, it is necessary to point out one thing. There are
several instances of such opposition in my material, but they all seem to share one
problem. It may be objected that even a firm, body, entity or organization are animate
because they are constituted by people. Taking into account this fact, I decided to
analyse such binomials not only on the (Animate) component, but also on the
(Human). Below are the examples that in my view fall into this category.

5) , and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or
entities upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument. (WD)
6) ,Contractor shall not directly or indirectly make known to any person, firm or
corporation the names and addresses of any(ICA 5.02)
7) The Registrar General for England and Wales ormay supply information
contained in any register of deaths kept by him (d) to a person or body
specified, or of a description specified, (PJA 13, 1)
8) The Player agrees that, .the right to enjoin the Player from playing baseball for
any other person or organization during (UPC 293,4)
9) The Player and the Club recognize and agree that (UPC 294, 5)

3. Sex
In Gustafsson s view this feature is applicable to most representatives the (Animate)
class, tough most often the features (Male) and (Female) are used only to denote
biologically high animals, man in particular. It is only natural that the area of kinship
and family covers the majority; however it is not unusual to find this opposition outside
kinship terminology. I did not find any more examples than those below.

10) , and if any such child(ren) has pre-deceased me, his or her share shall pass to
his or her surviving child(ren). (T 3,2)
4. Generation
Semantic opposition in terms of lineal relationship is the determining feature in this
category, i.e. the difference in age is the basis. Unfortunately I did not manage to find
any examples that Gustafsson suggests (in genealogical terms) than those below.
However, if we focus only on the lineal relationship, then it is apparent that first there is
a grantee, and then comes the successor(s) and assign(s).

11) all and singular the said property unto the said Grantee, its successors and
assigns, against (WD)

5. Time
Based on rhythm and fractions of time, most of the time units are polarized, thus
forming opposition in a convenient manner.

6. Phase
Binomials in Time opposition carry a notion of chronology, but Gustafsson explains
that there are other types of rhythms and cycles.

No instances are available in my sample documents for both Time and Phase

7. Direction
Gustafsson points out that this feature is very clear in deictic expressions in which the
speaker and his immediate environment are opposed to the rest in his conceptual sphere.
Such binomials are typically featured by location, movement or change. Further, it can
be applied to prepositional binomials.

12) In section 32 (police powers to gather information relating to flights and voyages
to or from the United Kingdom), in subsection (PJA 14,2)
13) (police powers and to gather information about freight entering or leaving the
United Kingdom(PJA 14,3)
14) of the Club respecting conduct and services of its team and its players, at all
times whether on or off the field. (UPC 292,3)
15) and agree that no other understandings or agreements, whether heretofore or
hereafter made, shall be valid (UPC 303 sa)
8. Reciprocity
There is variety of activities that are opposite. Such require one thing to be done at one
time, the other takes place sooner or later. Gustafsson (1975:92) contrasts that some
complementary binomials are very close these cases.

16) ; to purchase, maintain and liquidate investments; to open, change or close
bank and deposit accounts, to sell or purchase a business (T 4, 4)
17) No player shall participate in any exhibition game with or against any team
which, during (UPC 308 b)

In 14) the opposition is visible, though the second member does not necessarily apply
that the action will take place sooner or later.

9. Active
As the label suggests, such a binomial expression differentiates between an active and
passive member.
In my materials there are no occurrences of such binomials, so I will show the one
found in Gustafsson (1975:92)

18) and shall be treated as including any equipment for the protection of drivers
and passengers in or on a motor vehicle

10. Result
In doing things, we want to achieve some results, not minding whether positive or
negative. In Gustafssons view, the best and worst possibilities are simultaneously
expressed. I found none of such binomials in my material.

11. Emotion and Quality
Gustafsson (1975:93) describes this category as showing semantic opposition only at a
general level without any attempts to state the depth of the feeling or the scope of the
qualifying binomial. My material offers one instance of such binomial expressions.
Spiritual in the sense of ecclesiastical is opposed to temporal.

19) Be it enacted by the Queens most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, (Acts c.4, Lead-in)

Another instance that could partially fit the category of Quality is as follows.

20) the Trustee may, , invest and reinvest Trust funds in every kind or property,
real, personal or mixed, and (T 6, 3)

12. Universe
This opposition is explained as man-made, i.e. that man is willing to impose on the
physical and spiritual world. Real may be some of these oppositions, others are
conditioned by mans beliefs and faiths, but both man visualizes the Universe. No
example has been found in my material.

2.2.2 Semantic Homoeosemy
By this relation, the same set of features is applied in the semantic analysis of the two
members in a binomial. Furthermore, into this category Gustafsson also adds formal
similarities, i.e. repetitions of the same words.

1. Formal Similarity
Binomials falling under this notion are made by repetition of each other. The links as
after, by, for, in, over, and upon appear together with a very common subtype of
binomials that of comparative kind. The link by is the most frequent, being followed
by to and after. Gustafsson highlights that in written language there is a tendency to
hyphenate such expressions. Such binomials are very improbable to be present in legal
documents. I have not found any in my samples.

2. Foreign and Familiar Words
The origin of binomials in English and the need to translate the recent loanwords
explain and describe this category. To a common speaker of English, their origin may
not be known to him because such binomials have been completely absorbed into the
everyday vocabulary. In the below instances, A and B are homoeosemous, the first
being the native word, the latter the foreign. However, such order may not always be the
case. Expectedly, my material is abundant in these binomials, but I quote only a few
(besides the typically known Last Will and Testament).

21) I give, devise and bequeath all of the residue and remainder of my Estate (T 3,
22) including but not limited o changing the residence and domicile of the
children (T 5)
23) for real time identification and location for all of Clients goods and materials
in while in transit, (ICA 2.01)
24) Contractor shall be solely liable and responsible for payment (ICA 4.01)
25) which Contractor learned, saw, or became familiar or acquainted with, during
the term of this Agreement (ICA 5.02)
26) , nor shall any waiver or relinquishment of any right or power . (ICA 6.03)
27) .will cause the Club great and irreparable injury and damage (UPC 293,4)
28) The Player represents and agrees that he has exceptional and unique skill and
ability as a . (UPC 293, 4)
29) investigation or hearing held or conducted, including. (UPC 301, 9)
30) during the current season or within one (1) year, managed and controlled by an
eligible player (UPC 308, b)
31) to have effect in relation to things continued and saved by virtue of (PJA 4,

Some of the above exemplified samples may fall well under the next category because
to decide what are translations of loanwords, what are borrowed or native expressions,
what expressions have been accumulated into the language or what are nowadays words
of technical accuracy needs a more competent expert on English wordstock.

3. Technical Accuracy
A large number of homoeosemous binomials are sequences of two (or more) terms and
these seem to be perfectly synonymous. Gustafsson puts more precisely the character of
such pairs they belong to political, legal, or technical jargon in which both words have
a meaning of their own. The difference in meaning may be so slight as to require
expertise of the reader. These binomials are mainly common in the law. Gustafsson
reasons this by the fact that this domain calls for the greatest possible exactness and
precision. The second in number of occurrences of such binomials come the domains of
politics and administration.
32) to make divisions, allocations or distributions in cash or kind (T 4, 4)
33) ; to maintain or defend lawsuits; (T 4, 4)
34) or all aid assets bequeathed, transferred or gifted to such minor beneficiary
(T6, 2)
35) This contract or any supplement hereto shall not be valid or effective unless and
until approved by the League President. (UPC, 304)
36) the rules or regulations of the League of which the Club is a member
(UPC 300, 9a)
37) the Player to report for practice or to participate in the exhibition games, as
required and provided for, he shall (UPC 307)
38) Contractor agrees to indemnify Client from any claims, costs, losses, fees,
penalties, interest, or damages suffered by (ICA 2.04)
39) Client shall not control, direct or supervise Contractors employees and
subcontractors (ICA 2.05)
40) to this Warranty Deed, which is attached hereto and incorporated herein by
reference. (WD)

2.2.3 Semantic Complementation
Binomials belonging to this group of semantic relation are pairs which are neither
opposite nor identical. Gustafsson finds it difficult to determine this relation, but she
defines it as one member lacking a feature which is present in the other. Further, the
speaker feels the two pairs are semantically connected.

1. Sequence
In such a pair, two actions or events take place simultaneously or chronologically. The
occurrences in my material are as follows.

41) It is recognized and agreed that in connection with the services . (ICA 4.01)
42) Contractor agrees and promises not to engage in any unfair competition (ICA
43) The Player represents and agrees that he has exceptional and unique skill and
ability as a . (UPC 293, 4)
44) including the time, place, cause and nature of the injury, is served upon and
received by the Club (UPC 305, 2)
45) ; except that any mortgage indebtedness or long term contractual indebtedness
., which may exist as a part of my Estate, may be continued and assumed by the
recipient of such property. (T gp 2)
2. Logical Order
In Gustafssons view, this relation is also abundantly present in legal English. She
justifies her opinion by stating that in legal texts everything has to be put in explicit
terms so that all loopholes and evasions can be prevented. It is typical of paragraphs
dealing with legal proceedings to contain binomials in which the order of the procedure
is given step by step. Gustafsson also claims that some of these binomials have become
clichs (hear and determine; null and void). I have found an example of a Logical Order
binomial in my samples. The other two have been borrowed from Gustafsson.

46) The services Contractor agrees to perform is to create and implement a materials
tracking system.... (ICA 2.01)
47) The National Academy of sciences shall designate a member of the advisory
committee to appear and testify at such hearing
48) In the event that no judge in the district is available to hear and determine the
case, .

3. Complement
By Complement Gustafsson means a relation in which A and B together form an
integral unit, e.g. A and B may be two essential parts of a tool or some other
instrument (1975:101). Many of these binomials could be replaced by a single word.
Despite the lack of explicitness of their parts, some binomials are popular combinations
forming an entity. For this category no instances are available in my sample texts.

4. Result
In such binomials the opposition between A and B is not normally conceived. Instead,
the action A results in the action in B. The following are some instances quoted by
Gustafsson in her study (1975:101) as my sample texts provide no occurrences.

49) And nothing in this subsection shall prejudice any power of search or any power
to seize and detain property
50) unless it is of a type tested and approved by a person appointed by the
Secretary of State,

5. Part
There are occurrences of binomial expressions in which one member is a part of the
whole expressed by the other item. The relation may appear meronymous but the
speaker or writer attempts to single out a concept which would anyway be conveyed by
the other member. It seems that only one binomial pair is present in my sample

51) the Club respecting conduct and service of its team and its players, at all times
whether on or off the field. (UPC 292, 3b)

6. Representativeness
The origin of some binomials may arise from a kind of abbreviated enumerations when
the speaker did not intend to list the entire contents of a class and give only two
representatives. Perhaps the two items may not adequately imply the whole
characteristic of the binomial, but they cover the meaning in a sufficient way.

7. Synaesthesia
This is a type distinguished in studies on metaphors. These are expressions with a
transposition of the image from the area of one sense to that of another, such a loud
colours and a cold voice. Frequently, they are used in both poetry and prose. This
category is highly improbable to appear in legal texts.
For both these categories (Representativeness and Synaesthesia) no instances are
available in my sample texts.

8. Specificity
Compared to homoeosemous and complementary binomials, these pairs denote slightly
different things, showing more specificity on one of the members. Sometimes the reader
may have an impression that the latter member is added as an afterthought in order to
make the first term more explicit.

52) Contractor shall mot misuse, misappropriate, or disclose any of the trade secrets
described herein, (ICA 5.03, 2)
53) , Contractor shall not directly or indirectly make known ., or call on, solicit,
take away or attempt to call on, solicit and take away any of the customers.
(ICA 5.02)
54) If this person is unable or unwilling to serve as guardian, then I nominate (T 5)
55) I give said Executor full and absolute authority and discretion to direct that
any, part of or all said assets bequeathed, transferred or gifted to such minor
beneficiary (T 6, 1)
56) , then each and all such persons shall not b entitled to any devises, legacies,
bequests or benefits under this Will. (T gp, 1)

In these cases, a different conclusion could be made as to whether they fulfil the
criterion to belong to this feature so I quote Gustafsson (1975:104) again.

57) Where any offence is proved to have been committed with the consent or
connivance of, or to be .
58) If the Commission determines that evidence or testimony at any hearing may
defame, degrade, or incriminate any person, it

9. Routine
Many routine activities tend to be viewed complementary due to highly patterned lives
of people by rhythms, cycles and regular events. The routine makes part of everyday
life. Further, this category may be also characterised as denoting an occupation or
business. The occurrences in my documents follow.

59) The Secretary of State may by order make such consequential amendments and
repeals of enactments referring to ... (TA 4, 1c)
60) The powers and duties conferred and imposed by the provisions for the time
being applied under subsection (1) are to be known as (PJA 7,2,2)
61) The provision that . Cease to have effect includes (d) .., and in relation to
things executed or used in connection with anything so continued or saved;
(TA 4, 2d)
62) Contractor may, at Contractors expense, use any employees or subcontractors as
(ICA 2.05)
63) , Contractor shall not, directly or indirectly, .., engage or participate in any
business that is (ICA 5.04)
64) ABC Partners, a Partnership, and Joseph WANER, an unmarried person, as
Grantor(s), for the consideration of Two Hundred Forty Thousand Dollars
($240,000), hereby convey, grant and deed to Judith LUTHOR, a married person,
and MARY LUTHOR, a married person, as Granteeto WARRANT AND
FOREVER DEFEND all and singular said property (WD)
65) Unless the assignor and assignee Clubs agree otherwise, (UPC 297, 3)

10. Attitude
By this feature, the speaker or writer intends to pinpoint a particular aspect of the wider
term. There also cases in which the second member of a complementary binomial
displays the speakers attitude towards the subject matter. The first part appears quite
general and unbiased, and as an afterthought the latter is added denoting either negative
or positive quality. The only instance of binomial conveying a notion of attitude that I
have come across is that of diligently and faithfully. However, it may not comply with
the description of this category of relation because diligently does not evoke an
unbiased notion in me.

66) The Player agrees to perform his services hereunder diligently and faithfully, to
keep himself in (UPC292, 3a)

2.2.4 Semantic Hyponymy
In Gustafsson (1975:107), hyponymous is the relation between two items if the
meaning of one of the items contains all the components occurring in the meaning of
the other item, but not vice versa. Naturally, there is a hierarchical system. Some fields
of vocabulary are constituted by a network of relations, names of colours and kinship
terms among others. They allow for an overlap and cross-classification. Then
hyponymy may imply the inherent and deep lexical structures.

1. Measurable Units
Such features as Time, Capacity, Length and Money are common to these binomials
along with the fact that one member is a unit of the other.
No items exemplified in Gustafsson (ibid.), such as dollars and cents, nickels and
dimes, are present in my samples.

2. Conceptual Categories
This feature may have its relation more implicit than the foregoing one. Nevertheless,
one member of the pair is logically included in the other for the sake of accuracy,
explicitness and specificity. Simply said, A or B is a logical subcategory of the other.
Here are some pairs appearing, in my opinion, to be conceptual categories.

67) and applicable supplements thereto fully set forth all understandings and
agreements between them, (UPC, 303 sa)
68) whether or not they contain or constitute trade secrets owned by Client (ICA
5.03, 2)
69) The failure of either party to .with any of the terms, covenants, or conditions of
this Agreement (ICA 6.03)
70) , the prevailing party shall be entitled to reasonable attorneys fees, costs, and
disbursements (ICA 6.6)

The following are some occurrences provided by Gustafsson (19756:108).

71) which impair the rights of persons in such communities under Constitution or
laws of the United States .
72) that can furnish residents with any one of 37 assorted licences and documents

3. Implied Relations
The last feature in this category is described as a binomial in which one member implies
the existence of the other, and as a result, is necessary for the conveyance of meaning.
Items like illegal or improper, improper and criminal, or knowledge and permission
appear in legal documents. The below example is provided by my material.

73) Be it enacted by the Queens most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, (Acts c.4, Lead-in)

2.2.5 Miscellaneous Relations
1. Semantic Vagueness
The existence of this special category is explained on that the Specificity and Attitude
binomials reflect a certain amount of vagueness in the first pair member, so the second
one is added to narrow the meaning. In this case, the first member is so vague or
ambiguous that it requires another item for the sake of clarity. Some of the most
common adjectives belong to this group: they are devoid of an exact meaning that the
speaker has to resort to a binomial if he wants to be clear (Gustafsson 1975:109).
Three of the semantically vague adjectives that Gustafsson lists, i.e. great, full and
good, appear in my sample documents.

74) I give said Executor full and absolute authority and discretion to direct (T
75) , and the Players breach of this contract will cause the Club great and
irreparable injuries and damages. (UPC 293, 4a)

The examples above illustrate the use of the second items to clarify and delimit
precisely the meaning of the former ones.

The third adjective good is used in the following sentence.

76) The Player agrees to ., to the Club to conform to high standards of personal
conduct, fair play and good sportsmanship. (UPC 292, 3a)

Its meaning is not, though, further qualify by any adjective. The reason seems to be the
fact that it appears as a part of postmodification and the item high standards that sets
the meaning more specifically, so good needs no other clarification.

2. Prepositions
Gustafsson considers these binomials fairly difficult for a semantic analysis, due to their
non-semantic character. They are applied in order to convey logical and syntactic
relations between parts of sentences and, if standing on their own, most of them express
no meaning. In some cases, prepositional binomials indicate opposition (before and/or
after; in and out of) and they are put into its proper category (see Chap. 2.2.1, 7.); others
are the majority of cases in which said binomials are employed to express relations
between objects, things or two logical alternatives. Lastly, common are also those in
which the second item is used to fulfil the aspects of accuracy or explicitness. It is also
important to pinpoint that prepositions are not instances of semantic homoeosemy for, if
isolated, they cannot denote exactly the same meaning. There are frequent occurrences
of prepositional binomials in my sample texts, so I illustrate only some. Needless to say,
after is ambiguous in the sense that it is not clear whether the relevant day is included or
not, so commonly it is used with on (on and after). The first example is a very nice
illustration of how explicitness and inclusiveness in legal documents work no space
for a loophole has left at all.

77) An offence is a scheduled offence by virtue of this section only if (a) the
offence is charges as having been committed on, after or on or after a particular
date; and (TA 3, 4a)
78) to have effect at any time by virtue of provision made by or under section 1 of
this Act (TA 4, 1c)
79) the undersigned, a notary in and for said County and State (WD)
80) Upon and after such Assignment, all rights and obligations (UPC 296, 6e)
81) Unless the Player has exercised his right to become a free agent as set forth in the
Basic Agreement the Club may, on or before December 20 (UPC 301, 10a)
82) Disability directly resulting from injury sustained in the course and within the
scope of his employment under this contract... (UPC 305, 2)
83) except that any other written agreement dated concurrent with or after this
Agreement shall be valid (ICA 6.01)

The following example may not fit this category well. Perhaps, it partly does, because if
standing alone, it is not clear what circumstances and in what amounts are intended.

84) The player shall be entitled to moving allowances under the circumstances and in
the amounts set forth in Articles VII (F) and VIII of the Basic Contract. (UPC
297, 6f)

There are other phrases in the texts that may be worth noticing but they, in my opinion,
do not fall into this category as such, the reasons being various. In 82) the under is
specified by contract, but prior to expiration relates to something else. If there were no
contract, then this phrase would rightly belong to the above category for it would not be
clear under and prior to expiration of what.

85) The player agrees that, while under contract, and prior to expiration of the Clubs
right to renew (UPC 294, 5)
Here are the last two expressions catching my eye because the whole pair consists of an
adverb and a preposition. Even here I am unsure of the classification of the phrases. One
may object that promptly in 83) and directly in 84) have unambiguous meaning, though,
context is needed to make them explicit.

86) If this contract so claimed, the Club shall, promptly and before any assignment,
notify the Player (UPC 299, 7d3)
87) whether he be ordered to go there directly or by way of the home city of the

Most probably examples 82) 85) could be analysed on different grounds by a more
competent expert; perhaps, with a slightly different result.

3. Conjunctions
As far as conjunctions concerns, it is possible apply what has been said on prepositions.
They work on a syntactic level showing relations between words and clauses. Citing
Gustafsson, these combinations are extremely rare apart from when and if, or the
reverse order if and when. However, conjunctional binomials like as and when, unless
and until, when and how sometimes appear. My material shows the middle one.

88) This contract or any supplement hereto shall not be valid or effective unless and
until approved by the League President. (UPC, 304)

2.2.6 Conclusion
In this chapter, a heterogeneous group of binomials was subjected to a componential
analysis with two objectives. Firstly, it was the objective to define some primary
semantic relations. As a result, four such semantic relations were set up: 1. semantic
opposition, 2. semantic homoeosemy, 3.semantic complementation, and 4. semantic
hyponymy. Secondly, the binomials found in the sample documents were examined to
find some semantic features that could describe and characterize the semantic relations
between the members of a binomial. On these grounds it is possible to define the four
relations as follows. In semantic opposition the features of both members are similar
except for one feature, which is present only in one member, thus absent in the other.
Homoeosemy covers binomials in which both members can be expressed by identical
semantic features. Synonymous and near-synonymous binomials are the representatives.
Semantic complementation includes binomials whose semantic structure can be
expressed with semantic features, but which fall outside the other three categories.
Hyponymous binomials form a very small class. They are based on the one-sided
inclusion of one of the members. The miscellaneous relations show that binomials have
their origin also in the syntactic or logical needs. Moreover, the analysis proves that
binomials are ordinarily closer semantic relatives than any random pairs of words.
Finally, the result of the semantic analysis based on the occurrences shows that the
largest groups are those of homoeosemy and complementation, followed by opposition.
However, fairly numerous appears also the category of miscellaneous relations. In
conclusion it is necessary to state that the analysis was carried out on a limited sample
of legal texts, thus it was not possible to find examples to all the feature categories of
the four semantic relations in binomials.


All the objectives set up for this thesis were followed in such manners so that the aims
of the practical part could be reached successfully. The theoretical part of this thesis
provided some important elements concerning the domain of law in terms of linguistic,
stylistic and historical backgrounds. Chapter One highlighted the changes in the
linguistic approaches to the study of languages along with the primary achievements of
the structuralists. Chapter Two brought the attention to the notion of style and its
concepts viewed by scholars, and to the description of the legal register. It also listed the
levels of stylistic analysis. The historical development of legal English and documents
was briefly outlined in Chapter Three which underlined some of the primary events and
factors influencing the character of present-day legal English. Chapter Four touched
upon one of the typical lexical items, that of binomials. The terminology, origin and
linguistic character were discussed in some detail. On these grounds, the theoretical part
made a starting point for the practical one. In the first analysis a sample of legal
documents was examined to identify the stylistic markers and the functional style the
texts were representatives of, and to study how close the texts were to the norm of the
functional style. It was concluded that the texts fall into the domain of law, though some
minor differences on the norm scale appeared. The WD and the T were marked as the
closest to the norm, while the Acts seemed to diverge slightly from the rest of the
sample documents. The reason was suggested. The second analysis occupied with the
distribution of binomials within a sentences according to the principle of functional
sentences perspective. It was concluded that the ratio between theme, transition and
rheme is not even. The last research was done in terms of the characteristic semantic
relations of binomials according to what features are present or absent in each member
of a binomial. For this investigation, the componential analysis was employed.
Consequently, four semantic relations (opposition, homoeosemy, complementation and
hyponymy) were explored, discussed and exemplified on the sample texts.
Componential analysis thus proved itself to be a useful device to establish some of the
semantic relations existing between two lexical items.


The language of law and the lexical items of binomials are the study objects of this
thesis. The theoretical part of this thesis is divided into four main chapters, each of
which deals with different issues relating to the domain of law language. The aim of the
chapters is to provide some basics in terms of some essential linguistic elements
(Chapter One), stylistic background and the description of the legal register (Chapter
Two), history of legal English (Chapter Three), and linguistic/stylistic description of
binomials (Chapter Four).

There are two main objectives set up in the practical part. The first one is aimed at a
stylistic analysis of the sample documents chosen for this thesis. The other main
objective includes two analyses, both of which are focused on binomials. The first
analysis deals with the distribution of binomials in terms of thematic progression and
the principles of functional sentence perspective. The second analysis is an examination
of semantic relations in binomials.


Pedmtem studia tto prce je anglick prvnick styl a prov slova (tzv. dublety),
jakoto typick prvek anglickch prvnickch text. Teoretick st se skld ze ty
kapitol. V prvn kapitole jsou zmnny obecn lingvistick informace; kapitola druh
pojednv o stylistice v zkladn rovin. Pot nsleduje charakteristika prvnickho
stylu a hlavn body stylistick analzy. Kapitola tet podv zkladn fakta historickho
vvoje prvnick anglitiny a prvnickch text. Kapitla tvrt se zamuje na
lingvisticko-stylistick popis provch slov.

Praktick st je soustedna na dva cle. Tm prvnm je stylistick rozbor nkolika
prvnickch text, kter byly vybrny pro tuto prci. Druh cl se skld ze dvou
analz, jen jsou ob zameny na prov slova. Prvn analza se zabv pomrem
rozloen provch slov dle princip funkn perspektivy vtn. Druh analza je studi
vznamovch vztah, kter existuj mezi jednotlivmi leny provch slov.


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