Law & Language: try to answer the following questions

Prof. Best asked you several questions based on his classes. Try to answer at least one of them (or all of them if you prefer). You can distinguish the answers using letters: a. b. c. d.

Let’s start!

a. Which external influences contributed to the development of Modern English?

b. Give four reasons to explain why Modern English is so complicated.

c. What were the key dates (and associated events) in the evolution of Legal English?

d. Explain three examples of “difficult words and phrases” used in Legal English.

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16 thoughts on “Law & Language: try to answer the following questions

  1. Giorgia Castelli says:

    a. The oldest external influence that contribueted to the development of Modern English was the celtic dialect. Afterwards Roman’s invasion left some little linguistic traces.Then Germanic tribes influenced the Old English too.
    After Saint Agostine, Latin came back to spread christianity and it left more words and expressions. Moreover the invasion of Vikings influenced the language. In 1066 the Normans brought their language, french ,that replaced english. Finally another influence came from the period of colonies.

    b. Modern English is so complicated because it is full of words and synonymous. Another reason is its origin, in fact english language is a result of different languages. Moreover there are some branches, as commercial law, that use more sophisicated terms and expression.
    At the end phrasal verbs make the english language difficult because they are a cobination of a verb and preposition which give a different meaning rather than the original one.

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  2. Alessandra D'Urso says:

    A.
    Modern English is the result of a huge number of external influences that changed and integrated the Celtic dialects spoken in Britain between 55 and 43 b.C..
    First there was the Roman invasion, than the influence left by the Germanic tribes, coming from Northern Europe. In 597, St. Augustine was sent to spread Christianity in Britain, so a new latin influence prevailed. With the Vikings new words were born from the interaction with the anglo-saxon terms and, finally, in 1066 there was the Norman conquest and French became the official language during the three following centuries.

    B.
    The first reason can be found in the huge number of external influences that contibuted to the development of Modern English.
    The second reason is due to the presence of different words with the same meaning.
    We can find the third reason in phrasal verbs because according to how prepositions (in, on, off…) are used, these verbs acquire a different meaning and there isn’t always a precise grammatical rule behind.
    The fourth reason is represented by the particular grammatical constructions that characterize the English language and by the presence of technical words that can’t be translated or substituted.

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  3. Ginevra Guacci says:

    1. There were many external influences that contribute to the development of Modern English. Surely Romans both in 43 B.C. and during the VI century took part in the creations of many words, especially related to the religious functions. The arrivals of Vikins increased the lexicon regarding both amministration and law. Above all the main contribution was made by Norman from France during the three centuries starting from 1066 up to 1300.
    2. Modern English is complicated first of all because it has been created by a mixture of different languages, either languages spoken by population who conquerred theUK or spoken by people who has been conquerred by the UK. Moreover because there are much more execptions in English grammar than in any other language; furthermore, due to the variety of languages stratified in theUK, there are many synonims for the same concept and eventually there are a lot of polysemous words.
    3.the key dates were 1066, that is the Norman Conquest when French repleased a still unsteady Old English at least in the upper classes, and the Statues of Pleading in 1362 which statued that only English had to be admitted as the language of administration.

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  4. Yasmina Saadan says:

    a. Which external influences contributed to the development of Modern English?

    This lecture showed us Modern English diversity and how English language was affected by the events that occured in Great Brittany.
    It developped slowly, there are 2 aspects: in some cases it borrowed some words but in other cases it was totally imposed by the facts.
    About celt, the first dialect recorded in GB, Modern English kept only 30 words related to specific topic such as landscape features. The Roman invasion imposed with force its language over Celt. This invasion left some gaps in the language that were filled by various german tribes, they formed the base of Old English which is still really used nowadays. Many latin phrases are also to be found in Modern English due to the development of christiany by missionaries around 597AD. We can also note Viking invasion and Norse language’s legacy , such as words regarding administration and law. Norman invasion in 1066 almost exstinguished english language and from this period nearly 10000 french words are part of modern english vocabulary.The language was also influenced by culture that it wasn’t directly confronted to, for example arab words, we can still find some of them nowadays because it was part of french vocabulary.
    To conclude modern English wasn’t only influenced the various invaders’ languages. For example British Empire borrowed a lot of new words from the different trading nations it was dealing with such as Hindi.

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  5. Alicia Newman says:

    Alicia Newman
    a. Which external influences contributed to the development of Modern English?
    There have been seven main occurrences in history that contributed to the development of Modern English. As the starting point, I will commence with an overview of the most significant events that influenced the development of Modern English. It started with the Roman invasion in Britannia between 55 and 43 BC, before and after the Roman invasion Celtic dialects were spoken in Britain. Romans left Britannia in AD 410 leaving very little linguistic trace. Around AD 450 Germanic tribes – Angles, Saxons and Jutes came from Northern Europe setting the base for the development of Old English. The Latin took hold after St Augustine came to spread Christianity in AD 597, of which the consequence is the multitude of Latin phrases in legal text. Subsequently, the Vikings came and added Norse. In 1066 linguistically-wise, the most important battle in the development of Modern English took place – the Battle of Hastings. It became a turning point, as the Normans came from France and brought their language – Norman French, which prevailed for the following three centuries. Finally, in 1362 the Statute of Pleading was drafted in English, which was a rather significant moment in the history of Modern English and the use of English in legal texts. Then, after 300 years of French dominance, English kept borrowing words from French and then words from countries encountered, which was de facto colonies.

    b. Give four reasons to explain why Modern English is so complicated.
    Being bilingual myself, where English is my other mother tongue, I never found Modern English complicated, especially having comparison to other languages, which have a much more complicated syntax and grammar. However, the class with Professor Best made me realize why Modern English can be considered complicated, especially by non-native speakers.
    English reflects a mixture of languages that produced modern English of which French and Latin had the most significant influence on the English that we know now. Modern English and especially legal English is difficult and complicated due to the fact that sentences follow structures deriving from other languages, punctuation is used insufficiently, there are foreign phrases, unusual pronouns such as aforesaid, which are not only used to avoid personal pronouns but are also used to avoid ambiguity.

    c. What were the key dates (and associated events) in the evolution of Legal English?
    The most significant date associated with the evolution of Legal English is 1066 – the Battle of Hastings, when Norman French was introduced and English was marginalized to speech by ordinary people and risked extinction. French replaced English for 3 centuries and 85% of old English vocabulary was lost. Around 10,000 had been adopted from the time of conquest up to around 1500. Therefore, 1066 marked a ‘tipping point’ towards French and Latin influence on Legal English. Around 1300 French became the main language of legal expression, which replaced Latin as the language of statutes. This demonstrates how Latin and French have become ingrained in Legal English, as much of current legal terminology derives from 1066.

    Another key date in the evolution of Legal English is the parliamentary act of 1362 which was enacted in French and required that all court pleading be in English. This act can be considered a predecessor to the EU’s multilingualism. French persisted nevertheless, but new branches of law such as commercial law began to develop alongside international trade and so in 1800s English became lingua franca for trade in South East Asia and by the 19th century Britain dominated shipping, which also contributed to the development of Legal English.

    d. Explain three examples of “difficult words and phrases” used in Legal English.
    For instance, doublets or triplets, which go back to the time when it was obligatory to memorize legal formulae – ‘able and willing’ or triplets like ‘cancel, annul and set aside’. Polysemy is another example which gives rise to difficulties – within a single legal culture the same term may express several concepts depending on the context. There is also legal jargon, which may be unknown and difficult to non-lawyers to understand; to give an example of a few legal words ‘charlatan’, a ‘boilerplate clause’ or the archaic word – ‘bequest’.

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  6. Rachele says:

    d.Explain three examples of ”difficult words and phrases” used in Legal English

    Legal english created a lot of difficulties to the modern english for its differences from ordinary language. These differences become obvious when we analyze particular kinds of difficult words and phrases only used in legal environment. First we could take into consideration ”legal terms of art” which are terms with precise legal meaning and cannot be substituted by other words.
    Second we can also talk about words which belong to ”legal jargon”. These words are used by lawyers and not easily understood by common people.
    Lastly we can focus on the custom of deontic ”shall”, a verb stronger than its common form.

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  7. Michela Zala says:

    A.
    The Modern English contains elements of many different languages and was formed as a result of external influences. Before and after the Roman invasion (55-43 BC) in Britain was spoken Celtic dialect. From this dialect were imported words that describe landscapes. By the Romans were taken words like wine, cat, candle. An important influence was given by German tribes (Angles, Saxons, Juntes) from which result from the main words of Modern English. Then came the Latins, sent by Pope Gregory who introduced literary in the form of classical latin and brought words refer to the unworthy and education, tools and food, trees and plants. Latin was considered “borrowing” and was joined to the Anglo-Saxon language defining the prefix or suffix. Then came from Denmark and Norway the Vikings from which were imported words related to legal sphere (gift, salt, trust, law …), pronouns, words used to trade relations and the ordinary words (birth, cake, happy…). The most important influence there came with the Norman conquest in 1066, which arrived from France and brought their language. All acts and important documents were in French. English language was used marginally and only by ordinary people. Normans taking words related to war (army…), to social order (crown, throne …) and to law. Norman also changed the pronunciation of some words back to the Roman origin. During the British Empire continued to borrow words: from french, from other trading nations and then from colonies. Since Norman conquest, english has borrowed from many languages: French, Dutch and German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian (art, architecture, music). Modern English is made up of a complex grammar and many synonyms as it includes many languages.

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  8. Roberta Venturi says:

    a) There were many external influences that contributed to the development of Modern English:
    -before and after the roman invasion, that started in 43 b.C, celtic dialect where spoken in Britain; In fact initially the Romans influenced not much English language.
    -After Roman, Germanic trace set the base of old english (450 A.D).
    -Latin began to be known in England thanks to St. Augustine, and this had an impact primarily on legislative texts.
    -Following the Battle of Hastings ,the French became the language that most influenced English. It is estimated that 85 % of old english vocabulary was lost as a long term result of 1066 conquest, in fact in England there will be 300+ years of French.
    -in 1362, for the first time, the Statute of Pleading introduced the use of English in the legal texts and for the administration.
    -British empire continued to borrow words from French and also from colonies.

    b) modern English can be considered complicated for four reasons:
    first reason: lack of clear rules
    second reason: Extensive vocabulary (there are many different ways of saying the same
    thing in English).
    third reason: frequent phrasal verbs and preposition
    fourth reason: for idioms

    c) legal English owes a particular debt to French and Latin. Following the Norman invasion of
    England in 1066, French became the official language of Enghland (it was the language of legal proceedings).During this period, Latin remained the language of formal records and
    statutes but it never became the language of legal pleading or debate. In 1356, the Statute of Pleading was enacted and it stated that all legal proceedings should be in English, but recorded in Latin. Anyway the use of French in legal pleadings continued into the seventeenth
    century in some areas of the law, instead commercial law began to develop entirely in English. Documents began to be written in English in about 1400.

    d) A large number of difficult words and phrases are used in legal English:
    1) term of art: legal meaning may differ from ordinary meaning. Some of these will be familiar to the layperson (e.g. patent, share,royalty). Others are generally only known to lawyers (e.g. bailment).
    2) Legal jargon: comprises words used by lawyers, which are difficult for non-lawyers to
    understand. Examples include emoluments (a person’s earnings, including
    salaries, wages, profits and benefits in kind) and provenance (the
    origin or early history of something).
    3)There is also a small group of words that have one meaning as a legal term
    of art and another meaning in ordinary English. One example is the word
    distress, which as a legal term of art refers to the seizure of goods as
    security for the performance of an obligation. In ordinary English it means
    anxiety, pain or exhaustion.

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  9. Clemens Daniel Pucher says:

    a.) Which external influences contributed to the development of Modern English?
    There are many external influences in modern legal English; historically based this refers
    to the different invasions, to different law traditions brought by the different rulers of this
    empire. However there was a long tradition to use Latin for records and documentation,
    which might had influenced the law tradition in GB.

    b.) Give four reasons to explain why Modern English is so complicated.
    1.) Use of pronominal adverbs: hereof, thereof, whereof. They are primarily used to avoid
    repeating names or phrases. For example: The parties hereto instead of the parties to
    this contract.
    2.) Use of doublets and triplets: Null and void, fit and proper; dispute controversy or
    claim. The use of a mix of languages in earlier times led to the tendency in legal-
    English to string together 2 or 3 words to convey what is usually a single legal
    concept. The original intent may be that a lawyer should forget a word or use a
    wrong one. Nowadays these words refer to the same meaning, but they got a stylistic
    standard in legal language.
    3.) Unusual word order: “the provisions for termination hereinafter appearing” there is no
    clear reason for the use of this stylistic element. It may also refer to Law-French.
    4.) Lack of punctuation: an aspect of archaic legal drafting. Also lawyers thought that
    punctuation was ambiguous and unimportant, and that the meaning of legal documents
    was contained only in the words.

    c.) What were the key dates (and associated events) in the evolution of Legal English?
    Prehistoric Britain: traditional common law was discussed in vernacular (Celtic law)
    Roman-Britain: 43 AD the inhabitants of GB followed the Roman legal tradition, and it´s
    legal language was Latin. From 410 on (end of Roman rule in Britain) and caused by the Anglo-Saxon invasion the dominant tradition was Anglo-Saxon law, which was discussed in Germanic vernacular and written in Old English. In 1066 when the Norman arrived in GB (Norman invasion of England, battle of hastings) Anglo-Norman- French became the official language in legal proceedings in England for a period of nearly 300 years, and continued in minor-use for a period of just another 300 years. It is estimated that about 85% of old English vocabulary was lost beginninmg with that period. The language used for written records instead was Latin for a period of 650 years. Anglo-Norman- French developed into Law –French which has had an enormous influence in the legal language of modern Legal- English (also in the general linguistic register of English language. But also the structures of this Legal- French employed in legal writing. 1362 Statute of Pleading: French was much unknown in England; the people therefore had no knowledge of what is being said for them or against them in legal proceedings, because of the use of Law- French by the courts. However the used language for documentation was Latin. This marked the beginning of Legal- English. (Law-French was used in some forms till the end of the 17th century). Around 1400 Latin was also used to impress.
    1730 Justice Act: Latin was replaced as formal language for records and statues. But some
    terms survived like bona fides, ad hoc, de facto, ultra vires (to give a few examples).
    French persists, but new branches of law develop entirely in English, for example: Commercial law. Around 1800 the sea ways was british dominated, so also in maritime law.

    d.) Explain three examples of “difficult words and phrases” used in Legal English.
    Legal terms of art; not everyday used terms.
    1.) waiver: right or privilege in a contract
    2.) restraint of trade: is a doctrine relating to the enforceability of contractual restrictions
    on freedom to conduct business. (today part of modern competion law).
    3.) patent: special protection of a right referring to this person licensed by the
    government. Only this registrated person is allowed to use its own idea and is
    officially protected.

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  10. Francesca Mazzini says:

    A) Modern English is the result of a mixture of languages that have influenced each other since Romans’ invasion (55/43 BC). Latin infact predominated as language of records and statutes until 1300s.
    At the beginning Celts lived in the British Isles and they left the first step of a legal system; many terms of their language are still used in local expression.
    After Romans, Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons and Jutes) arrived in Britain from the North Europe around 450, and their language was the basic step for the development of Old English.
    Then St. Augustine had a very important role in the return of Latin and Roman/Christian culture in Britain. Missionaries reintroduced literary in the form of classical latin; Christian churches had a predominant function in learning and education.
    Later (from 793AD) Vikings sailing from Denmark and Norway coasts came in Britain and they brought new words in the legal sphere, especially for commercial relations.
    One of the key date of English history is 1066, the time of Norman’s conquer. This invasion infact had a new impact in language: French words colonised the English language in the three centuries following the conquest.
    So Latin and French had a great influence on English language, both in oral and in written form until Reinassance period.

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  11. PAOLA DE CINTIO says:

    1. The external influences that have contributed to the development of Modern English are severals. The external influences rappresent the historical events that have passed through Britain.
    The first one is caractersided by the the Roman invasion, infact between 55 and 43 BC and even before it, the first language spoken in Britain was the celtic dialect.
    Than as the Romans left Britain, in 410 AD another language settled down it.
    The new language was brought by the Germanic tribes, composed by the Anglo,Axons and Jutes, and it consists in a mix of their languages called as Anglo-Saxon language or Old English.
    In AD597 in Britain was the turn of Latin brought through Saint Agostine,who spread Cristianity over the country.
    Than another linguistic influence came up, it was the Viking linguistic influence.
    To this confusion of different languages, one over all imposed strongly on them, it was the French brought by the Norman Conquest done by their king,Willian in the 1066.
    From this moment on Britain kept borrowing terms from all over the countries that were conquisted,so an important role was played by militaries. Also the commercial expansion,globalisation of trade and comunications with the contries taken over have contributed to the borth of the Modern English.
    Finally, we could say that for all this reasons the Modern English is full of words, terms and grammar forms.

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  12. Vittoria Ciraolo says:

    A. There were many external influences that contributed to the development of Modern English. Before the roman invasion (55-43 BC), Celtic dialects were spoken in Britain. Then Angles, Saxon and Jutes put the base for the old English. After Saint Augustine, Latin spreaded Christianity and latin phrases are still found in legal context. After Viking came in Britain and imported new ways of saying especially in the commercial branch. The turning point was the arrival of Norman French in 1066. Thousands of French words colonized the English language in three centuries following the conquest. Modern English thus has a very rich vocabulary and a very complex grammar.

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  13. Franziska Hertzberg says:

    a. What external influences contributed to the development of Modern English

    There were many different influences from different parts of Europe and therefore one can find a huge variety of words, phrases and expression similar in other languages spoken in Europe. Originally there were the Celtics in England, which were invaded and pushed back to the West of England, while the East was under the rule of Romans, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Normans etc. Not all at the same time, but following one another. Hence, it it obvious that all those different groups left their footprints and marked the Modern English language untill today. What is remarkable to my mind, that some groups like the Normans probably had the most influential role and others apparently did not leave any change behind like the Romans. The battle of Hastings was a major episode which is still remembered today, because of the crucial time after that war and the change that took place among the English people. French became the new official language and english was only spoken among the poorer population, whereas the rest of the country was forced to speak french, since all laws were written in french and latin and considered as more sophisticated. Therefore until that day, there are a lot of closely related french words found even in Modern English, and Latin words especially in Legal English.

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  14. Alessandro C. says:

    A. Romans’ Latin did not influenced English until the came of St. Augustine. Of course, there was Celtic influencing English. We could say Latin began spreading and “implementing” English only with St. Augustine. After the battle of Hastings, French language influenced English. Then, in 1362, the Statute of Pleading introduced the use of legal English.

    B. Idioms, synonymous, phrasal verbs, vocabulary itself.

    C. The most important steps are the battle of Hastings and the Statute of Pleading ( 1362 ), which I mentioned in the first answer. Documents starts to be compiled in English around 1400.

    D. We can distinguish between legal jargon, which is a “language” made by words used by lawyers. The problem is it is difficult to understand for non lawyers. Then we have some terms of art, which are words having different meanings, if taken in two different purviews: legal use or common one. Examples are patent, trust, waiver.

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  15. fashionatexo says:

    A. We should start by Romans, but they did not influenced English that much. Latin influenced English only after St. Augustine. Then, French language began influencing English, after the battle of Hastings. Last, but surely important, in 1362, through the Statute of Pleading legal English was introduced. The first documents in English appeared around 1400.

     

    B. Vocabulary, being a language created by the mix of other languages; adverbs, many synonymous, phrasal verbs.

     

    C. Surely the battle of Hastings and the Statute of Pleading, in 1362, as written in the point A. . The first documents in English appeared around 1400.

     

    D. We have the so called “terms of art”: the sense of these words may differ from their ordinary and their legal meaning, for instance we can summon share, trial or bond. Then we have a legal jargon, which is a complex of words used only by lawyers, but it can be extremely hard to result comprehensible by people which are not lawyers or whose studies did not include law and its interpretation.

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  16. Sevina Metodieva says:

    A. We should start by Romans, but they did not influenced English that much. Latin influenced English only after St. Augustine. Then, French language began influencing English, after the battle of Hastings. Last, but surely important, in 1362, through the Statute of Pleading legal English was introduced. The first documents in English appeared around 1400.

    B. Vocabulary, being a language created by the mix of other languages; adverbs, many synonymous, phrasal verbs.

    C. Surely the battle of Hastings and the Statute of Pleading, in 1362, as written in the point A. . The first documents in English appeared around 1400.

    D. We have the so called “terms of art”: the sense of these words may differ from their ordinary and their legal meaning, for instance we can summon share, trial or bond. Then we have a legal jargon, which is a complex of words used only by lawyers, but it can be extremely hard to result comprehensible by people which are not lawyers or whose studies did not include law and its interpretation.

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