Some Aspects of the Syntax of the Arabic Legislative Sentence


The analysis of the internal structure of the Arabic legislative sentence is of immediate relevance to several interrelated disciplines including discourse analysis, contrastive linguistics and translation pedagogy. Nonetheless, little, if any, systematic corpus-based research has been conducted to verify the largely impressionistic and intuitive claims made about the syntax of this sentence type. This paper provides a statistical analysis of the syntax of this sentence type in three legislative texts: the Iraqi Companies Law, the Emirati Labor Law and the Jordanian Penal Code. The results show that passivization is a common feature, that the number of words in the Arabic sentence is less than half of its counterpart in English, that complex sentences are more frequent than other types of sentences and that case descriptions are less frequent than syntactic discontinuities. The research findings are significant to both translators and translator trainers as they identify the most salient features of Arabic legislative text and place such features at the disposal of these practitioners for the purposes of teaching and learning. However, despite the revealing conclusions, more research needs to be carried out on larger corpora not only in this sub-genre but also in other areas of legal Arabic.


Alaa Fathi Attia, Abdul-Fattah Abu-Ssaydeh



case descriptions, discourse analysis, legislative texts, syntactic discontinuities, syntactic features