Are modal verbs a lexical characteristic of legal terminology?
Vjosa Hamiti – Valentina Sopjani
This article aims to examine the role of modal verbs in the language of the laws. The goal is to see whether we can say that modal verbs, like in English, are part of the terminology of the language of laws in Albanian, considering that so far, there is no research conducted in the Albanian language on this field. For this study, we established a corpus of legislative texts in both Albanian and English in a bid to analyze the ways modal verbs are translated, using applicable laws published in the official Gazette of the Republic of Kosovo. Besides, the Albanian language has a verb system that differs from that of English. In comparison, the Albanian language has only three modal verbs officially recognized and accepted by Albanian linguists and scholars: Alb. mund (Eng. can), Alb. duhet or lypset (Eng. must) and Alb. do (Eng. must), English has a wide pattern of expressing modal verbs. Consequently, as our research demonstrates, translators will find it difficult to translate them properly.
Correct usage of modal verbs is one of the greatest challenges of the legislator as they play a vital role in the wording. Yet, the main purpose of this research paper is to determine if there are equivalents between English and Albanian modal verbs and investigate their occurrences in legislative texts giving an account of the differences in complexity in lexical and grammatical modality.
Key words: modal verbs, modality, lexis, terminology, legal language, Albanian, English