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Δευτέρα, 20 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Comparative Legal Linguistics - Prof.Dr. Heikki Mattila

Σας έχω ξαναμιλήσει για το σπουδαίο αυτό βιβλίο του Prof.Dr. Heikki Mattila. Η βιβλιοκρισία που έγραψα για αυτό, θα δημοσιευθεί στη Revue Hellénique de Droit International.

Την προηγούμενη εβδομάδα ήσαν με τη σύζυγό του στην Αθήνα - ολοκληρώνοντας ένα ταξίδι στην Ελλάδα - και είχα την τιμή και τη μεγάλη χαρά να φάμε μαζί ένα βράδυ. Όταν μου στείλουν και 1-2 φωτογραφίες που βγάλαμε, θα τις αναρτήσω εδώ.

Οι φωτογραφίες στην ανάρτηση αυτή είναι από τα μαγευτικά ..ταβάνια του Palazzo della Banca Commerciale Italiana, στο Μιλάνο (μην ανησυχείτε, δεν έχω άλλες φωτογραφίες ταβανιών, αυτές κλείνουν τον συγκεκριμένο κύκλο!)







Heikki E.S. Mattila, Comparative Legal Linguistics. Language of Law, Latin and Modern Lingua Francas, 2nd ed., Ashgate 2013, 485 p. and Jurilinguistique comparée. Langage du droit, latin et langues moderns, Editions Yvon Blais 2012, 646 p.

            Heikki E.S. Mattila’s Comparative Legal Linguistics/Jurilinguistique comparée is a treasure for all jurists and not only for those who care about comparative legal studies.
            The English book is the second edition – the first appeared in 2006. The French (printed in Quebec) appears for the first time. Both books have their origin in the Finnish book Vertaileva oikeuslingvistiikka (2002).
            The book[1] has a General Introduction, a Part referring to the Legal language as a Language for Special Purposes, a Part referring to the Major Languages in the World (legal Latin, legal German, legal French, legal Spanish) and a Conclusion. One can only admire the richness of the bibliography used.
            The author writes in a very detailed way about the functions of legal language (p. 41-85), the characteristics of legal language (p. 87-136), the legal terminology (p. 137-160). The Part about the Major Legal Languages (p. 161-351) is a real Pandora’s box. Mattila describes the history of those legal languages and insists on the influences exercised by and upon each of them.
            Law is expressed by language[2], written or oral[3]. Therefore, the comparatist has to try and make intelligible every law articulated in a language different from his/her own[4].
            “No matter how you look at it”, says J.E. Chamberlin, “the Tower of Babel overshadows the ground below, spreading confusion and conflict all around. … confusion of languages, roughly seven thousand of them still spoken around the world, with many more dialects fiercely defended as makers of dignity and dominion…”[5].
            As it is pointed out, the general linguistic theory admits that all the languages are equal: they are built on the same model, without of course them being identical on all levels. The equality between laws is also undoubted. The fact that certain laws are classified as and called “Grands systèmes de droit” is due to historical, political and economic reasons; is due to the influence that, for all the above reasons, these laws exercised to the laws of many parts of the world[6].
            The way each law, each legal system uses the language is crucial for it[7]. Law is not immune from language’s limitations[8]. Obviously therefore, by paying attention to the different aspects of the language, we can study law in depth, we can perceive its nature, we can interpret it.
           The relation between law and language attracted many researchers, in different fields of research: jurists, sociologists, social anthropologists, ethnologists, linguists – of various directions, such as social linguists or discourse analysts. Consequently, there are different approaches to this subject, each of which has different aims[9].
            Legal discourse in each culture has its own structure[10]. Law, “a symbolic construction”[11], is the result of many influences - historical, philosophical, cultural. Contrary to what some prejudiced jurists believe, all peoples have developed a legal terminology[12], “all legal systems develop certain linguistic features that differ from those of ordinary language”[13]. The words of the law constitute the legal language/terminology, which is a technical language, a sub-category of the general language[14].
            Mattila focuses in his book, on the legal terminology. He points out that the “conservative nature of legal language allows a clearer view of linguistic evolution than ordinary language” (p. 73).
            Comparative legal studies need the translation[15], need the recreation of an already existing identity[16]. Mattila, in his Conclusion (p. 353-361), speaks about the Problems of Lexical Comprehension (p. 359-362) and points out the danger of misleading translations.
As Sergio Ramírez says: “… la lengua no es solamente una forma de expresión que uno pueda cambiar en la boca a mejor conveniencia, sino que es la vida misma, la historia, el pasado, y aun más que eso, el existir en función de los demás, porque la lengua sola de un individuo hablando en el desierto no tendría sentido, menos por un escritor, que si existe es porque alguien más comparte sus palabras, y las vuelve suyas”[17].




[1] Pages referred, are those of the English edition.
[2] H.E.S. Mattila, Comparative Jurilinguistics: A Discipline in Statu Nascendi, in: Multilingualism and the Harmonisation of European Law (B. Pozzo/V. Jacometti, eds.), Kluwer Law International BV, The Netherlands, 2006, 21: “Law is necessarily bound to human language. Hence, the language of law is as old as law itself and has drawn people’s attention from different viewpoints since ancient times”.
[3] H.E.S. Mattila, Legal Language: History, in: The Elsevier Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2006, 8.
[4] S. Glanert, De la traductibilité du droit, Dalloz, Paris 2011, 10.
[5] J.E. Chamberlin, Common Ground around the Tower of Babel, in: Storied Communities. Narratives of Contact and Arrival in Constituting Political Community (H. Lessard, R. Johnson, J. Weber, eds.) UBC Press 2011, p. 125.
[6] S. Monjean-Decaudin, Territorialité et extraterritorialité de la traduction du droit, Meta : journal des traducteurs 55 (2010) p. 693, 695-696.
[7] K. Galuskina, Jurilinguistique : du langage spécialisé vers la linguistique de spécialité, Romanica Cracoviensia 2011, p. 146.
[8] S. Glanert, Europe, aporetically: A Common Law without a Common Discourse, Erasmus Law Review 5 (2012) 135, 142.
[9] E. Panaretou, Legal Discourse. Language and structure of the laws [in Greek], Papazisis Editions, Athens 2009, p. 41.
[10] B. Pozzo, Comparative law and language, in: The Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law (M. Bussani/U. Mattei, eds), Cambridge University Press, 2012, p. 88, 102.
[11] A. Wagner/J.-C. Gémar, Materializing Notions, Concepts and Language into Another Linguistic Framework, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law 26 (2013) p. 731, 739.
[12] See M. Stephens, “Wrestling with the Taniwha”: An Analysis of Two Maori Language Texts and their Engagement with Western Legal Concepts (2008) 14 Revue Juridique Polynésienne p. 135, 136.
[13] P.M. Tiersma, A History of the Languages of Law, in: Oxford Handbook on Language and Law (L. Solan & P. Tiersma, eds.), Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 13.
[14] See J.-C. Gémar, De la traduction (juridique) à la jurilinguistique. Fonctions proactives du traductologue, Meta : journal des traducteurs 50 (2005), who points out that legal linguistics is a personal know-how, which evolved in professional praxis.
[15] « Toute étude juridique comparative se fonde sur un acte de traduction », S. Glanert, Comparaison et traduction des droits : à l’impossible tous sont tenus, in : Comparer les droits, résolument (P. Legrand dir.), Paris 2009, p. 279.
[16] J. Gaaker, Judex translator: the reign of finitude, in: Methods of Comparative Law (P.G. Monateri, ed.), Research Handbooks in Comparative Law, Edward Elgar, 2012, p. 252, 258.
[17] S. Ramírez, Una lengua cambiante y multiple, El País, 26.10.2013, p. 29.

                                                                               Book review by Prof.Dr. Elina N. Moustaira





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