Understanding Legal Languages - Linguistic Concerns of the Comparative Lawyer
The original version of this paper is published in The Role of Legal Translation in Legal Harmonization (ed.) Jaap Baaij (Kluwer Law International 2012) pp.161-181.
23 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2013
Date Written: January 1, 2012
This paper argues that there are different layers in legal language, and that the epistemic level of legal language is more relevant than the surface level of legal texts (statutes, judgments, decisions of public authorities, private documents) as linguistic end-products. The underlying assumption is that legal language is a complicated phenomenon and understanding different legal languages contains specific problems which are caused by the multiplicity of legal language itself which is duplicated when there is more than one language. Legal language contains not only different functions but also different levels of comprehension. Two examples are analysed in the paper: 1) language of ius commune and 2) language of English common law. Conclusions concern legal translation in a multi-lingual environment.
Keywords: comparative law, legal linguistics, legal translation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation