The Style and Timbre of Official Documents

  • Marklen E. Konurbaev


Each functional style is based on a set of formal features of the language used under certain circumstances for definite purposes. The so-called ‘style of official documents’ does not necessarily mean the style used in all types and varieties of official papers, but presupposes the absolute clarity of the language that may cause as little ambiguity as possible when made public or when used as a basis for immediate action. A lot of official papers can be made obscure and ambiguous and even express an attitude through the use of connotative or otherwise implicative words. The language of the official document is the one that acts or serves as a basis for action rather than describes and invites thinking. J.L.Austin (1975, p. 25) calls such utterances ‘performative’ and immediately adds that there is no clear grammatical criterion for them, but that they can be expressed lexically through an opening phrase that can introduce such utterances — I state that … (Austin, 1975, p. 91). Even relatively simple words that we habitually pronounce in our everyday communication may contain an implication of this or that sort: I repent instead of I apologize; I am disgusted instead of I criticise; I appreciate instead of I approve.


Official Document Official Information Make Investment Decision Semantic Complex English Speech 
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Copyright information

© Marklen E. Konurbaev 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marklen E. Konurbaev
    • 1
  1. 1.Moscow State UniversityRussia

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