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Lingua inglese - Appunti

Appunti per l'esame di Lingua inglese del professor Williams, i quali vertono su language of officialdom, Gathering momentum, Sentence length, subjunctives, passives, Losing momentum, Top down, Legal language, Changing perspective.

Esame di Inglese docente Prof. C. Williams



in Italian legal texts. But in my opinion their use

does not generate any particular ambiguity (they

always refer to hypothetical situations); they simply

make the text sound more formal (people tend to

‘drop’ their subjunctives in informal conversation).

And, in common with many other countries, the

directive calls for a reduction in the use of the passive,

even if it is less frequently adopted in Italian

(about 20% of verbal constructions in prescriptive

texts are in the passive) than it is in English (about


Losing momentum

Unfortunately, the momentum favouring language

reform came to an abrupt halt not long after the

directive was passed, as can be witnessed by visiting

the website where the information and documentation

have not been updated for three years. When

I emailed the address provided on the website for

those seeking further information or advice, my

email bounced back and I was informed that the

user was unknown. The implicit message was, alas,

molto chiaro! It was only after further investigation

that I was informed that the project had been given a

limited time span, after which it was shut down

altogether and has not since been revived.

Top down

The hiatus in the activities of the Progetto Chiaro!

reveals one of the inherent weaknesses in a movement

that springs from within the state itself rather

than from the grassroots, namely that much depends

on the interests and priorities of individual ministers.

This is not to say that the average citizen in Italy

does not moan about the incomprehensibility of official

documents, but there is simply not much of a

tradition in Italy as there is in, say, the UK, in forming

pressure groups to do something about it. It is often

the case in Italy that reforms take place as a result of

adopting models from abroad rather than as a result

of pressure from within.

Legal language

There are several possible reasons why legal language

tends not to be the main focus of criticism in

Italy as it is in most English-speaking countries.

First of all, the type of language in which laws are

drafted in Italy is not perceived as being as archaic

or idiosyncratic as it is in English-speaking countries.

There are few equivalents to the hereinafters

and aforetosaids that sound like something from the

Elizabethan age. Laws drafted in Italian may not

always be easy to follow, but they do not sound

particularly antiquated. Secondly, like most other

countries in continental Europe, by far the most

commonly-used tense used in prescriptive texts in

Italian is the present indicative, constituting twothirds

of all finite verbal constructions. So there is

no ambiguity as there is often claimed to be in English

between shall and the present tense: in the vast

majority of cases shall would be rendered as the

present simple in Italian. Può and possono (respectively,

third person singular and plural of the modal

verb potere = to be able to) are the equivalent of may,




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Esame: Inglese
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in comunicazione linguistica e interculturale
Università: Bari - Uniba
A.A.: 2009-2010

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher Chiakka87 di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Inglese e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Bari - Uniba o del prof Williams Christopher.

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