The present study focused on the communicative relevance of lexical choices in the documents of the European Union Committee of the Regions (CoR) and of other related bodies within a pragmalinguistic perspective. The Committee of the Regions is a EU advisory assembly whose function is to issue opinions on proposals for Community legislation which are closest to the citizen interests. It is thus a voice at the heart of the EU which aims at increasing the participation of European regions in community life. Our corpus consists in 50 documents pertaining in areas affecting local and regional interests, such as education, youth, culture, health, social and economic cohesion. They are classified as proposals, opinions and recommendations according to their identities, which are situated along a graded cline of increasing intensity – or, in Sbisà’s terms (2001) along a scale of varying ‘illocutionary force and degrees of strength in language use’. Our analysis investigated the value of some lexico-grammatical aspects and communicative/ rhetorical strategies of these legal texts within the reference Group Knowledge (van Dijk 2001). In particular we examined the functions of weasel words, of lexico-grammar options and of solidarity or hedging along a cost-benefit scale. Our hypothesis is that such proposals, opinions and recommendations aim at creating a holistic we to construe a common ground of interests, within the predictable constraints of legal intercourses, shared by both the sender and the receiver of the messages. Frequently occurring lexical items are, among others: welcome, ensure, strengthen, aid. To stress urgency, generate empathy, emphasize needs and endorse value-positions are the recognizable perlocutionary acts of such semantic/pragmatic choices, which not infrequently rely on nominalization (Gotti 1991) and bring into play different communicative purposes and functions. Tools for analysis were mainly taken from the domain of pragmalinguistics, which revisited fundamental contributions to the theory of meaning and communication by Wittgenstein 1953, Austin , 1962, Searle 1969, Leech 1983, Grice 1989, providing a comprehensive perspective (Mey 1993; Verschueren 1999, 2006). When necessary, such tools were partially ‘blended’ with additional instruments from other Evaluative/Appraisal frameworks (Hunston & Thompson 2000; Martin & White 2005). Our paper will provide both qualitative and quantitative data to support our hypothesis, and will offer suggestions for further research.

Pragmatic relevance of lexico-grammar choices in EU legal documents

ABBAMONTE, Lucia;
2009

Abstract

The present study focused on the communicative relevance of lexical choices in the documents of the European Union Committee of the Regions (CoR) and of other related bodies within a pragmalinguistic perspective. The Committee of the Regions is a EU advisory assembly whose function is to issue opinions on proposals for Community legislation which are closest to the citizen interests. It is thus a voice at the heart of the EU which aims at increasing the participation of European regions in community life. Our corpus consists in 50 documents pertaining in areas affecting local and regional interests, such as education, youth, culture, health, social and economic cohesion. They are classified as proposals, opinions and recommendations according to their identities, which are situated along a graded cline of increasing intensity – or, in Sbisà’s terms (2001) along a scale of varying ‘illocutionary force and degrees of strength in language use’. Our analysis investigated the value of some lexico-grammatical aspects and communicative/ rhetorical strategies of these legal texts within the reference Group Knowledge (van Dijk 2001). In particular we examined the functions of weasel words, of lexico-grammar options and of solidarity or hedging along a cost-benefit scale. Our hypothesis is that such proposals, opinions and recommendations aim at creating a holistic we to construe a common ground of interests, within the predictable constraints of legal intercourses, shared by both the sender and the receiver of the messages. Frequently occurring lexical items are, among others: welcome, ensure, strengthen, aid. To stress urgency, generate empathy, emphasize needs and endorse value-positions are the recognizable perlocutionary acts of such semantic/pragmatic choices, which not infrequently rely on nominalization (Gotti 1991) and bring into play different communicative purposes and functions. Tools for analysis were mainly taken from the domain of pragmalinguistics, which revisited fundamental contributions to the theory of meaning and communication by Wittgenstein 1953, Austin , 1962, Searle 1969, Leech 1983, Grice 1989, providing a comprehensive perspective (Mey 1993; Verschueren 1999, 2006). When necessary, such tools were partially ‘blended’ with additional instruments from other Evaluative/Appraisal frameworks (Hunston & Thompson 2000; Martin & White 2005). Our paper will provide both qualitative and quantitative data to support our hypothesis, and will offer suggestions for further research.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11591/208113
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