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By Schoeffer.; J H West Sheane; A C Madan

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Extra resources for A grammar of the Bemba language as spoken in northeast Rhodesia

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He mot swerian for syxtig hida, gif he bið huslgengea. ) (18) Eac we beidað: se ð his gefan hamsittendne wite, þæt he ne feohte, ær ðam he him ryhtes bidde (Alfred 42). ) These types of constructions also confirm the speech-based origin of Legal English, particularly evident in the early stage of the Anglo-Saxon language, when written language had not reached a mature structure yet. However, more complex features, such as topicalisation, comment-like clauses, and disconnected sequences are found in embryo already in the Anglo-Saxon codices.

The following are some examples from Æthelberht’s laws, retrieved from Whitelock (1995:354). They are characterised by the ellipsis of the verb ‘gebete’ (let him pay). 16 Chapter One (4) Ceorles mundbyrd: VI scillingas (Æthelberht 15) (The protection of a ceorl: six shillings) (5) Gif man þone man ofslæhð, XX. scillingum gebete (Æthelberht 20) (If somebody cuts off a thumb (let him pay) 20 shillings) As concerns the reciprocal position between the main clause and subordinate clauses, the latter could be left branched, nested, or right branched.

Conservationism has made them become a stylistic standard that is part of legal ritualistic language. Another example of conservationism is the term ‘witnesseth’, which preserves the [-eth] suffix of the third person singular in the present tense. However, the usage is quite isolated: ‘witnesseth’ simply as a matter of tradition, and the [-eth] ending has been retained only for this verb and few others, in contrast with its wide range of usage in religious language. Legal language is also characterised by uncommon pro-forms, such as ‘the same’, ‘the said’, ‘the aforementioned’ etc.

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