Doctoral Thesis: Die Syntax des Journal officiel

Thomas Tinnefeld: Die Syntax des ‚Journal officiel’. Eine Analyse der Fachsprache des Rechts und der Verwaltung im Gegenwartsfranzösischen. Bochum 1993 (ISBN 3-925453-4)
English Title: The Syntax of the ´Journal officiel´ - an Analysis of Contemporary Legal and Administrative French (Doctoral Thesis, published in German)

In this study, syntax in the field of French legal and administrative texts is researched upon, the Journal officiel, the French official gazette, serving as corpus. The necessity of this research lying in the fact that beforehand, mostly lexical aspects of languages for special/specific purposes had been examined, a profile of relevant syntactic constructions is delimited and closely examined. This examination refers to quantitative as well as qualitative data.

In Chapter One (p. 5-63), the phenomenon language of special/specific purposes is defined and various historically important approaches are described and analysed in their outcome for linguistic study.

In Chapter Two (p. 64-86), the Journal officiel is introduced, its constituent parts being described, and the corpus being defined as featuring the field of legal and administrative French, thus oriented towards a text linguistic approach.

In Chapter Three (p. 87-142), nine linguistic devices, such as stating competency, authorizing, contracting, prolonging, modifying, or defining, which refer to legal and administrative communication and are therefore of relevancy for this analysis are defined. In a supplementary approach, functionally relevant linguistic constructions like complex sentences, present and past participles, gerund, passive, extraposition, inversion, and cleft-sentence are described as they represent some potential of being of importance in this field.

In Chapter Four (p. 143-172), the quantitative analysis of the data with a corpus consisting of 3000 pages taken out of the Journal officiel is discussed. The target of this analysis is to elaborate a profile of FSP-relevant constructions by finding constructions ranging from the most frequent ones to those whose frequency is so low that their functional analysis can be neglected. This quantitative part of the study thus works as a filter to determine those constructions which are promising as far as their potential syntactic functions are concerned.

In Chapter Five (173-320), the quantitatively relevant constructions are examined in a functional perspective. For each of them, specific communicative functions have been found which they partly exclusively have in French legal and administrative language and partly in potentially any language of special/specific purposes. The quantitative profile, which had been found beforehand, could thus be confirmed on the qualitative basis.

In Chapter Six (p. 321-342) which serves as a conclusion, the findings are referred to the communicative devices defined in chapter three – an approach which permits to round off the study well. At the end of this chapter, some consequences and implications for further research are indicated.

This thesis bridges a gap in research because until its publication, lexis had been considered as the only parameter relevant for languages for special/specific purposes. This study has proved that syntax is as important a field as lexis, being characterised by typical frequencies and typical usages of the structures in question.
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