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  • Author or Editor: Karolina Kaczmarek x
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Legal texts are formulated in a specific language called the language of the law. It is a language for special purposes which may be further divided into several sub-languages. In Poland lawyers, as a rule, differentiate (i) statutory language which is the language of statutory instruments and (ii) legal language used by lawyers. The language of legal texts is often more complex than a colloquial one and thus often difficult to follow for common people. The fact that the language of the law is often misunderstood by citizens leads to many discussions concerning the reform of the language. The question is how such texts should be formulated to meet the following criteria: (i) the language of the law should be understood by text recipients and (ii) at the same time the language of the law should be precise. Some ambiguity, however, may be intentional and may serve certain purposes. Consequently, legal texts are subject to standardization process as a result of which one may observe the increased number of forms introduced to facilitate legal communication in a broad sense.

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This article explores the possibilities of using parallel texts in Polish, Hungarian and English legal translation and legal translation teaching. The authors focus on petitions, a special genre of the legal register, and show that the macrostructure of Polish, Hungarian and English are different: they are composed of the same elements, but these are ordered differently. Polish petitions may be written by lawyers as well as lay persons, thus the language used in them may be both legal and colloquial depending on the author. English petitions are usually executed by lawyers, or they are simply forms which are filled in by claimants. In Hungary a claimant also fills in a form. What may pose serious translation problems is the part called the grounds of the petition, as it may be written in a specialpurpose register or in colloquial language. Despite the differences, parallel texts of petitions in Polish, Hungarian and English provide the translator and trainee translator with more reliable equivalents than dictionaries, and not only for technical terms, but also for phraseological units and formulaic sequences.

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The methods of expressing obligation in English, Hungarian, and Polish statutory instruments

A comparative analysis of selected aspects of deontic modality

Authors: Karolina Kaczmarek, Aleksandra Matulewska and Przemysław Wiatrowski

The authors analyze the structure of imperative clauses in English, Hungarian, and Polish statutory instruments, including the EU ones. The emphasis is put on the exponents of modal meanings used in the above-mentioned three languages. The clauses are analysed from a semantic and syntactic perspective. Grammatical and lexical exponents of deontic modality in English, Hungarian, and Polish are compared. The semantic components constituting modally marked utterances are described.

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