A Contrastive Study of Deontic Modality in Parallel Texts
Keywords:deontic modality, legal text, modal marker, legal translation
This article is a contrastive study of deontic modal markers in three parallel texts. It analyses the modality system in the English, Russian and French texts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights accounting for the ambiguity of some English modal verbs in legal texts and the difficulty in rendering them into a different language. The research reveals modal markers used to express deontic permission, deontic obligation and deontic prohibition in the three parallel texts; semantic similarities and discrepancies between these modal markers; and translation strategies employed to render the English modal markers into Russian and French. The article responds to the need for a systematic analysis of deontic modal markers in English, Russian and French due to the semantic and syntactic differences among the German, Romance and Slavic languages. The article concludes that French and Russian have more in common than French and English or Russian and English in terms of the deontic modality.
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