Origins and use of English legal terms through history.


  • Anne Wagner Université du Littoral - Côte d'Opale


A revised paper presented at the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAS) Congress at Florence, Italy, July 5th – 12th, 2003 : The language of the Common Law, like any other specialized topic, needs a particular language for its understanding. The legal discourse of the Common Law gathers a set of theoretical and customary mechanisms subject to internal or external intrusions into its directions for use. Two ideas are highlighted: the rigidity of the overall regulating structure of the law, and the use of ‘fuzzy sets’ to provide flexibility to legal discourse. This unsteady or fuzzy discourse production proves this language to be the result of a long and complex historical process of socialisation.