A Stylistic Analysis with a Focus on Lexical (Binomial) Expressions

Communication is a means of transmitting information, there are several ways of how people can do so. Language as an instrument of communication. The language of law is the study object of this thesis. Style is the study object of stylistics, grammar.

123,2 K

. ,

, , , , .

And nothing in this subsection shall prejudice any power of search or any power to seize and detain property

unless it is of a type tested and approved by a person appointed by the Secretary of State,


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 documents.

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


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.


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.


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.

Contractor shall mot misuse, misappropriate, or disclose any of the trade secrets described herein, (ICA 5. 03, 2)

, 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)

If this person is unable or unwilling to serve as guardian, then I nominate (T 5)

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)

, 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.

Where any offence is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be .

If the Commission determines that evidence or testimony at any hearing may defame, degrade, or incriminate any person, it


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.

The Secretary of State may by order make - such consequential amendments and repeals of enactments referring to... (TA 4, 1c)

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)

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)

Contractor may, at Contractor's expense, use any employees or subcontractors as

(ICA 2. 05)

, Contractor shall not, directly or indirectly, .., engage or participate in any business that is (ICA 5. 04)

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,


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 speaker's 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

and applicable supplements thereto fully set forth all understandings and agreements between them, (UPC, 303 sa)

whether or not they contain or constitute trade secrets owned by Client (ICA 5. 03, 2)

The failure of either party to . with any of the terms, covenants, or conditions of this Agreement (ICA 6. 03)

, the prevailing party shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees, costs, and disbursements (ICA 6. 6)

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

which impair the rights of persons in such communities under Constitution or laws of the United States .

that can furnish residents with any one of 37 assorted licences and documents in

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.

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

Miscellaneous Relations

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.

I give said Executor full and absolute authority and discretion to direct (T 6, 1)

, and the Player's 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.

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.


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.

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)

to have effect at any time by virtue of provision made by or under section 1 of this Act (TA 4, 1c)

the undersigned, a notary in and for said County and State (WD)

Upon and after such Assignment, all rights and obligations (UPC 296, 6e)

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)

Disability directly resulting from injury sustained in the course and within the scope of his employment under this contract... (UPC 305, 2)

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.

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.

The player agrees that, while under contract, and prior to expiration of the Club's 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.

If this contract so claimed, the Club shall, promptly and before any assignment, notify the Player (UPC 299, 7d3)

whether he be ordered to go there directly or by way of the home city of the Club.

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


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.

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


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.


Bendz, G. Ordpar. Stockholm: Svenska Humanistiska Frbundets Skrifter, 1967. Crystal, D., Davy, D. Investigating English Style. Harlow: Longman, 1997.

Dane, F. Centre and Periphery as a Language Universal. In Travaux Linguistiques de Prague. 1966. pp. 9-21

Dane, F. Functional Sentence Perspective and the Organizing of the Text. In Dane,

F. (ed.) Pages on Functional Sentence Perspective. Academia, 1974. pp. 106-128. Danet, B. Legal Discourse. In: Van Dijk, T. A. Handbook of Discourse Analysis. London: Academia Press, 1985. Volume 1, pp. 273-291.

Deutschbein, M. System der neuenglischen Syntax. Leipzig, 1931. Deutschbein, M. Neuenglische Stylistik. Leipzig, 1932.

Firbas, J. Functional Sentence Perspective in Written and Spoken Communication. : Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Griew, E. J. The English Legal System in a Nutshell. London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1957.

Gustafsson, M. Binomial Expressions in Present-day English: a Syntactic and Semantic Study. Turku: Turun Yliopisto, 1975.

Hiltunen, R. Chapters on Legal English: Aspects Past and Present of the Language of the Law. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1990.

Hladk, J. A Functional Onomatology of English. Brno: Masarykova univerzita v Brn, 1995. Koskenniemi, I. Repetitive Word Pairs in Old and Early Middle English Prose. Turku: Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, 1968.

Leech, G. N., Short, M. H. Style in fiction: a linguistic introduction to English fictional prose. London: Longman, c1981.

Leech, G. N., Deuchar, M., Hoogenraad, R. English grammar for today: a new introduction. Basingstoke: Macmillan, c1982. Leech, G. N., Svartvik, J. A Communicative Grammar of English. Harlow: PEL, 2002.

Leisi, E. Die tautologischen Wortpaare in Caxtons Eneydos. Zrick, 1947.

Spitzbardt, H. Das Hendiadyoin als Mittel der Ausdrucksverstrkung. In Zietschrift fr Anglistik und Amerikanistik. 1956. pp. 102 - 110.

Spitzbardt, H. Lebendiges Englisch, Stilistisch-syntaktische Mittel der Ausdrucksverstrkung. Halle, 1962.

Urbanov, L. A Reader in English Stylistics. V Preove: Filozofick fakulta v Preove, 1986.

Verdonk, P. Stylistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

. Acts of the UK Parliament and Explanatory Notes. Office of Public Sector Information. Available from < [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts.htm]>.

Legal Documents Online: Available from < [http://www.legaldocs.com]>.



  • The study of the functional style of language as a means of coordination and stylistic tools, devices, forming the features of style. Mass Media Language: broadcasting, weather reporting, commentary, commercial advertising, analysis of brief news items.

    [44,8 K], 15.04.2012

  • Basic approaches to the study of the English language. Intercultural communication and computerization of education. The use of technical means for intensification of the educational process. The use of video and Internet resources in the classroom.

    [333,1 K], 02.07.2014

  • Communication process is not limited to what we say with words. There are 3 elements of communication: Words (7% of information is communicated though words), Body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%). Thus, 93% of communication is non-verbal.

    [4,5 K], 25.08.2006

  • Theory of the communicative language teaching. Principles and features of the communicative approach. Methodological aspects of teaching communication. Typology of communicative language activities. Approbation of technology teaching communication.

    [608,8 K], 20.10.2014

  • Prominent features of Shakespeares language. The innovations of the poet in choice and use of words. His influence on the development of grammar rules and stylistics of modern english language. Shakespeare introduction of new elements in the lexicon.

    [38,9 K], 13.06.2014

  • Language as main means of intercourse. Cpornye and important questions of theoretical phonetics of modern English. Study of sounds within the limits of language. Voice system of language, segmental'nye phonemes, syllable structure and intonation.

    [22,8 K], 15.12.2010

  • Culture in the Foreign language classroom. Cross-cultural communication. The importance of teaching culture in the foreign language classroom. The role of interactive methods in teaching foreign intercultural communication: passive, active, interactive.

    [83,2 K], 02.07.2014

  • Grammar is the art of writing and speaking correctly. Grammar bears to language. The composition of language. The term grammar. language is an attribute of reason, and differs essentially not only from all brute voices, but even from all the chattering.

    [30,1 K], 14.02.2010

  • The nature of speaking and oral interaction. Communicative approach and language teaching. Types of communicative exercises and approaches. Games as a way at breaking the routine of classroom drill. Some Practical Techniques for Language Teaching.

    [72,3 K], 21.07.2009

  • Study of lexical and morphological differences of the womens and mens language; grammatical forms of verbs according to the sex of the speaker. Peculiarities of womens and mens language and the linguistic behavior of men and women across languages.

    [73,0 K], 28.01.2014

, , ..