FORENSIC LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF PREDICTIVE SYNTAX IN THE INDEPENDENT CORRUPT PRACTICES AND OTHER RELATED OFFENCES ACT, 2000

SIMON ITINE ABOCHOL

Abstract

This study examines the syntax of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000 with forensic linguistic orientation. The work discusses the development of forensic linguistics to the present state with a special highlight of the efforts of Jan Svartvik, a Sweddish Professor of Linguistics. The study also discusses syntax as a linguistic item and explains some of its major areas, notably the descriptive and theoretical aspects as well as its form and function. As a legal document, The Independent Corrupt Practices Act, 2000 is examined with a special focus on its status as a product of legislation which places it in the rank of ‘Ordinances’, ‘Decrees’, ‘Laws’ and ‘Edicts’. The study utilises the principles of systemic grammar as its theoretical basis since its interest is on social context. Thus, the offences and penalties on corrupt practices stated in the ICPC Act agree with the intention of the systemic model. The analysis of the four (4) sentences selected from the document from the syntactic point of view reveals that: (i) all the offences predicted to be committed are placed in the nominal group structure; (ii) the generic subject of each of the sentences in the Act, predicts that someone will commit the stated offences, and on conviction, will be penalised; and (iii) beta (β) clauses in the document are mostly rank-shifted adjectival clauses describing the generic subject as support to predicting the committing of the stated offences and the consequences following.

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