International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

Controlling Predicates of Complement Clauses in Treaty Preambles: A Syntactic-Semantic Approach
Najla Fki

Although they represent optional elements in most legal documents, preambles constitute an essential part in the structure of treaties. Aware of the impact the preamble may have on the interpretation of the treaty, law drafters peculiarly structure this opening part around one single sentence within which a number of subordinate clauses are embedded. Among these, complement clauses are strikingly redundant. Taking into account the evaluative potential of the latter clauses, this paper aspires to uncover the persuasive function of treaty preambles by analyzing the controlling predicates of complement clauses. The quantitative and qualitative analyses of 70 preambles of international agreements have shown that legal draftsmen carefully choose controlling predicates that go hand in hand with the communicative functions of the preamble. The head nouns, adjectives or verbs picked in the analyzed preambles, thus, differ in their syntactic and semantic properties in accordance with the stance treaty drafters intend to convey.

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