Verbal and Complex Modals in legal Cognitive Moves: A Cross-Linguistic Study of English and Persian

Mahin Koochaki, Abbas Eslami Rasekh


This paper is a study of use and distribution of verbal and complex modals in two cognitive moves in legal deeds, namely provisionary clauses and qualification clauses (Bhatia, 1993). The focus is on modals in clauses in which legal entity/entities and legal actions are communicated as well as in clauses in which conditions surrounding legal actions are determined. The meanings, along with the frequency of occurrence, of modal words were detected and compared in provisionary and qualification clauses on the basis of Palmer’s classification (2000). The findings of our comparisons revealed that indispensible components of provisionary clauses in the English data were deontic modalities shall and may. Persian counterparts i.e. باید (bAyad: must) and توانستن (tavanestan: may do/be allowed to do) were identified as equivalents; however, باید (bAyad: must) displayed a lower frequency of use. The substitutes of such a low frequency of use were (a) simple present and (2) simple future.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n4p111

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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