Università di Bergamo > Cerlis > English Version > Projects > Intercultural Discourse in Domain Specific English

MINISTERO DELL’ISTRUZIONE, DELL’UNIVERSITÀ E DELLA RICERCA

PROGRAMMI DI RICERCA SCIENTIFICA DI RILEVANTE INTERESSE NAZIONALE

 

RESEARCH PROJECT ON A NATIONAL LEVEL

Anno 2002 - prot . 2002104353

 

INTERCULTURAL DISCOURSE IN DOMAIN-SPECIFIC ENGLISH

 

Project of the University of Bergamo

 

Linguistic and cross-cultural features of legal texts in professional fields: the case of international arbitration

 

Although domain-specific languages may at first appear less prone to the pressures of intercultural variation, the sociocultural factors inherent in text deeply affect its realisation and interpretation within the host professional community. This project aims therefore to investigate the means whereby normative discourse (statutes and regulations) is employed in different cultural, linguistic and legal environments; to illustrate this phenomenon, it targets legislation on international arbitration from the “Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration” issued by the United Nations in 1985 and later integrated in the laws of several countries with different constitutional, sociocultural and economic conditions. In particular, a comparison will be made with Italian arbitration law from the Code of Civil Procedure (arts. 806-840) and with regulations drafted by Arbitration Chambers of Milan, Bergamo and Venice .

First of all, the drafting process and interpretation inherent in such texts will be reconstructed. Secondly a contrastive (English/Italian) and multidimensional (discourse functions, lexis, syntax, semantic and pragmatic values) analysis will be carried out. Targeted features include degree of qualification, binomial/multinomial expressions, specification, information spread, semantic inclusiveness and transparency. Also the textual macrostructure will be examined, according to the sub-genres and other diatypic elements realised by each section and paragraph. The aim is to show that the relevance of information in a text is instrumental to the legal environment and its practices.

Such matters will be later discussed in the light of sociocultural factors within common-law systems on the one hand and civil-law systems on the other. Insights will be supported by the views of legal and academic experts consulted throughout the project.

This research project seeks to further our understanding of legal language in an international setting and its results are bound assist in the training and professional activities of language specialists and legal practitioners. Indeed, this contrastive/comparative approach to typological and textual phenomena is likely to provide useful tools for translators, law-makers, lawyers and comparative law students whose first language is not English. In this respect, the co-operation with the Verona University research unit will prove particularly fruitful.