A Study of the Thematic Progression in Legal English Discourse



Being a special kind of language application, legal English enjoys its unique stylistic features, which are concise, logic, coherent and rigorous. It is quite meaningful and fruitful to study these features in discourse, which is the study of discourse analysis. System-functional linguistics provides distinguished perspective for discourse analysis, and once Halliday, the founder of System-functional linguistics, pointed out the system-functional grammar and its theories can be applied to legal English studies. This essay mainly discusses, analyzes and focuses on the discourse analysis of legal English and takes The Constitution of the United States of America as corpora to study from the perspective of Thematic Progression. It tries to explain how the Thematic Progression worked in developing the legal English discourse and how it helped legal English discourse to reach its features. Meanwhile it also hoped to inspire the application of linguistic theory into legal English studies.


Thematic progression; Legal English discourse; System-functional linguistics; The Constitution of the United States of America

Full Text:



Danes, F. (1974). Functional sentence perspective and the organization of the text. In F. Danes (Ed.), Papers in Functional Sentence Perspective. Prague: Academia.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2000). An introduction to functional grammar. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Hu, Z. L. (1998). Textual cohesion and coherence. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.

Huang, Y. (1995). On theme and rheme. Foreign Language, (5), 34-38.

Liao, C. F. (2004). From the perspective of the three meta-functions of the characteristics of legal English. Journal of Guangzhou University (Social Science Edition), (3), 45-48.

Nekula, M. (1999). Vilém mathesiu. In V. Östman & B. Bulcaen (Eds.), Handbook of pragmatics. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Xu, S. H. (1982). Theme and rheme. Foreign Language Teaching and Research, (1), 1-9.

Yang, F. F. (2004) On thematic progression and discourse coherence. Journal of Xi’an Foreign Language Studies University, (4), 7-10.

Zhu, Y. S. (1995). Thematic progression and discourse analysis. Foreign Language Teaching and Research, (3), 6-12.

Zhu, Y. S., & Y, S. Q. (2001). Systematic functional linguistics: Multidimensional thinking. Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/9946


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Meng Miao

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Share us to:   


How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; sll@cscanada.net; sll@cscanada.org

 Articles published in Studies in Literature and Language are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1020 Bouvier Street, Suite 400, Quebec City, Quebec, G2K 0K9, Canada. 
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://www.cscanada.net; Http://www.cscanada.org 
E-mailoffice@cscanada.net; office@cscanada.org; caooc@hotmail.com

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture