In this paper the author discusses the present status of shall in legal English. Although it has been by far the most common modal in legal English for at least 600 years, its use is currently in decline, especially in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The author identifies the structures that take up the place left by shall in shall-free texts, such as the present simple, may and be to. He focuses in particular on the South Africa Constitution where the definitive version currently in force is completely devoid of shall, unlike the Interim version which was drafted only two or three years earlier. The data relating to such shall-free texts as the South Africa Constitution are compared to ‘World data’ relating to the situation in English-speaking countries in general. He also speculates as to what will happen with shall in legal language in the US and the UK.

Legal English and the 'modal revolution'

WILLIAMS, CHRISTOPHER
2009

Abstract

In this paper the author discusses the present status of shall in legal English. Although it has been by far the most common modal in legal English for at least 600 years, its use is currently in decline, especially in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The author identifies the structures that take up the place left by shall in shall-free texts, such as the present simple, may and be to. He focuses in particular on the South Africa Constitution where the definitive version currently in force is completely devoid of shall, unlike the Interim version which was drafted only two or three years earlier. The data relating to such shall-free texts as the South Africa Constitution are compared to ‘World data’ relating to the situation in English-speaking countries in general. He also speculates as to what will happen with shall in legal language in the US and the UK.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11369/10856
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