COMPARATIVE LEGAL LINGUISTICS
Institute of International Economic Law
Duration: 1 January 1999 - 31 December 2001 (partly till 2003)
Funding: The Academy of Finland
Project Director: Dr. Heikki E. S. Mattila, Senior Research Fellow, Docent of Comparative Law and Legal Linguistics
Mr. Richard Foley (BA, MEd)
Ms. Minna Heikkilä (LL.M)
Ms. Iris Tukiainen (LL.M)
Summary of the Project Plan
Legal linguistics is an academic discipline which adopts a broad perspective on the study of legal language. Such an approach is essential if the researcher is to understand the salient features of legal language and discern the course of its development. Significantly, the same breadth of perspective ensures a solid foundation for practical applications, such as the compilation of law dictionaries. Where research in legal linguistics sets out explicitly to compare several legal languages, the features of the languages studied and the direction of their development will emerge in telling relief.
The present project comprises four studies which seek to analyze and compare legal Finnish and certain legal languages of international importance (legal Latin, legal English, legal French, etc.) from a variety of perspectives in order to establish the salient characteristics of the respective languages. The research team firmly believes that these studies will yield valuable structural information on both legal Finnish and the other languages examined.
The first of the studies (H. Mattila) will undertake to ascertain the position and use of legal Latin in the major legal cultures and Finland. The second (I. Tukiainen) will compare the language used by French notaries with that found in Finnish legal documents. The third study (R. Foley), the most linguistically oriented of the four, will compare and contrast the strategies which English and Finnish have employed in establishing terms for the new legal concepts engendered by the EU. The focus of the fourth project study will be the legal glossaries and terminology banks used in the EU.
Extract from H. Mattila, L'enseignement de la linguistique juridique comparée en Finlande, LSP '99. Selected Papers. European Academy Bolzano/Bozen (in print):