Comparative Legal Linguistics by Heikki E.S. Mattila

By Heikki E.S. Mattila

The language of legislation displays the overlapping, competing and co-existing nature of criminal discourse; its shape either the made of its linguistic historical past and a reaction to the fluidity of felony tradition. This ebook examines felony language as a language for certain reasons, comparing the features and features of criminal language and the terminology of legislation. utilizing examples drawn from significant and lesser felony languages, it examines the most important criminal languages themselves, starting with Latin via German, French and English. each one bankruptcy comprises an ancient evaluate of the expansion of the language, its overseas use, its coherence within the a number of nations utilizing it and its dating to cognate criminal languages. the place appropriate, the features of criminal cultures are defined to provide an explanation for the good points of the criminal language. The paintings may be a invaluable source for college students, researchers and practitioners within the parts of comparative legislations, criminal idea, semiotics, and linguistics.

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1 The Viewpoint of Related Sciences We have established that legal linguistics promotes legal research. Equally, it can be useful in general linguistic theory. 52 One of these questions concerns the limits of variation of natural languages and languages for special purposes. As for legal language, it is legal linguists that can answer this question. Legal linguistics can also be useful in other matters. A good example is the following question, presented by Karlsson: What are the principles of language change?

Standard contracts (such as contracts of assurance) include, as is well 48 49 50 51 Dunbar 2001. See p. 211. See pp. 96–97. Jayme 2001: 28–30. Legal Language and Legal Linguistics 19 known, a large number of standardised conditions that are often highly complex. These conditions are hard to understand from the standpoint of the ordinary citizen. This led to adoption of the rule in the field of contract law according to which standard clauses vaguely formulated are interpreted to the disadvantage of their author (in dubio contra stipulatorem).

These can be considered from the standpoint of semiotic theory: how effective is legal communication by non-verbal means? Indeed, it is not uncommon that a legal rule or clause be partially expressed by a non-verbal message. For example, drawings or charts may be annexed to a contract or a law. These drawings or charts then assume legal meaning: the text of the document refers to them. Such contexts are referred to, in Russia,30 as legal symbolism (pravovaia simvolika, правовая символика). This goes for both legal messages as such, expressed by means of non-language symbols, as well as symbols expressing the authority of who or what is sending the message.

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