In this paper vagueness related to verbal modality is discussed with reference to the evolution of shall in legal discourse. The aim of the analysis is to work out a ‘core’ meaning which distinguishes this modal from other competing verbal constructions as well as to highlight areas of fuzziness and functional indeterminacy. Looking at the semantic values of shall, the author begins by providing a historical perspective; he then goes on to define the boundaries of shall making comparisons with must, may, will and the present simple. Finally, he suggests possible explanations as to why this modal auxiliary has been constantly used up to present-day legislative writing.

Vagueness in Legal Texts: Is There a Future for Shall?

WILLIAMS, CHRISTOPHER
2005

Abstract

In this paper vagueness related to verbal modality is discussed with reference to the evolution of shall in legal discourse. The aim of the analysis is to work out a ‘core’ meaning which distinguishes this modal from other competing verbal constructions as well as to highlight areas of fuzziness and functional indeterminacy. Looking at the semantic values of shall, the author begins by providing a historical perspective; he then goes on to define the boundaries of shall making comparisons with must, may, will and the present simple. Finally, he suggests possible explanations as to why this modal auxiliary has been constantly used up to present-day legislative writing.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11369/10554
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