Deontic meaning making in legislative discourse

Jian Li, Le Cheng, Wai Lin Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Modality and negation, as two important linguistic features used to realise subjectivity, have been investigated within various disciplines, such as logic, linguistics and philosophy, and law. The interaction between modality and negation, as a relatively new and undeveloped domain, has however not been paid due attention in scholarship. This corpus-based study investigates three aspects of their interaction: the differentiation of the deontic value by negation, the categorization of deontic modality in Hong Kong legislation via negation, and distribution patterns of deontic modality, especially distribution patterns of the negation of modality, in Hong Kong legislation. This study shows that negation is a powerful linguistic mechanism not only for determining the nature and functions of modality, but also for determining the value of modality. This study also reveals that negation helps us to investigate the distribution of deontic modality in Hong Kong legislation and hence revisit the legal framework in Hong Kong. A study taking into account the discursive and professional aspects of the interaction between deontic modality and negation will provide a theoretical basis for the natural language processing of modality and negation in legislation and also offer important implications for the study of negation and modality in general contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-340
Number of pages18
Issue number209
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • deontic modality
  • Hong Kong
  • legislative discourse
  • meaning making
  • negation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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