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Development of modal verb "shall" in legal English
Kirakosyanová, Natali ; Tichý, Ondřej (advisor) ; Čermák, Jan (referee)
and key words This BA thesis focuses on examining the development of the use of the modal verb SHALL in legal documents in the English language. The modal verb SHALL still has its place in legal English and, as the manuals indicate, it can point to the precision of legal language. However, ambiguity is a rather undesirable phenomenon in legal language, and due to the growing number of legal documents and drafters, the meanings of modal verbs expanded over time, reducing the level of precision and opening the door to ambiguity. The BA thesis aims to analyse the development of the use of SHALL in court decisions in given time periods, further classify the samples based on semantics, as described by dictionaries of legal English, and point out the gradual growth in the use of certain meanings of the modal verb SHALL, possibly causing ambiguity in legal documents. To compare the development, and especially the frequency of use, the same method is used within the common language, which is analysed using non-legal corpora. Keywords: modal verbs, modality, shall, legal English, language change

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