Linguistic Pecularities Of Contracts in English

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A style of the language is a system of interrelated language means which serve a definite aim in communication [3, P.33]. As has already been written, the style can be formal (business written English) and informal (spoken English). The difference of formal and informal English is a matter of style and attitude of people to each other. However, it is not an easy matter to draw an exact line between formal and informal English [8, P.28], and that is the first, and the most important thing to be clarified in this paper.

English of business correspondence possesses some important qualities, common for formal style of English as well.

The language of business correspondence is very bookish and is remarkable for the usage of larger and more exact vocabulary, in comparison with informal style of communication. Sentences in documents are longer and their clauses are grammatically fitted together more carefully, which means a lot of practise for a person who draws up a contract. It is generally considered and expected that real business people, experts in their field of activity, should enjoy the preciseness and careful grammatical construction. It does not mean, of course, that business people must communicate orally in formal business style.

Formal business correspondence should be more impersonal. It should not emphasise the individuality of the writer, and takes little account of the personal qualities of people who are going to make use of it. Thus, the speaker should not refer directly to himself or his readers, but avoid the pronouns I, we, you, and it may also be of a difficulty for a person.

One more problem is that formal English lacks force and vividness. The fact that it is formal implies its great dependence on arbitrary conventions, rather than on natural speech habits [8, P.29]. That is why it is so hard for non-business people to keep concentrating their attention on contents of documents all the time, as their attention is diverted by intricate language use. Some of them will find their long and complicated sentences rather confusing. Words of formal English may sound nice, but their meaning is often hard to get through. Very often a person must read something all over again to make sure what it means.

e.g. This stipulation being of the essence of the contract, default by the buyers shall entitle the Sellers to load and ship the goods as convenient to themselves to any of the ports named in this contract and Buyers shall take delivery accordingly. (Extract from a standard form of contract for the sale of timber through broker in the U.K.) [6, P.229]

Another chief problem to remember about business correspondence is that it will be read by busy people who usually have no interest in either one’s personality or his / her problems [8, P.280]. Bearing in mind that one should not waste anybody’s time and try to gain anything by impressing your employers, a person uses formal English to avoid unnecessary details about matters handled, replacing them by strict routine. To be as clear and brief as possible without sacrificing clarity is a common trait of any business document.

e.g. The time of delivery of the Turbine Plant against the above contract expires on the 1st July.

Please inform us by return of post of the progress of manufacture of the Turbine [6, P.260].

Anyway, in some important business correspondence we may find deviations from what is called official English of the business world. For example, if a person wants to get a job or to sign a contract, to make a sale or to ask somebody for special advice, he / she is likely to want to make a definite impression on the interlocutor, like in the example:

Реферат опубликован: 28/01/2009